The Cowboys and Chargers moved their joint practices from Valley Ranch to Cowboys Stadium yesterday. Over the two days, the two teams practiced against each other for about five hours.
Thursday's affair was a normal practice, but was purposely held outdoors with temperatures in the high nineties to get both teams ready to deal with high temperatures.
Friday's scrimmages were based mostly on situational drills, with the Chargers and Cowboys going head to head at Cowboys Stadium. There was no tackling to the ground allowed but physical football was played anyway.
"Today was more pure football,"said, comparing it to Thursday's practice at the Cowboys' facility. "You can’t beat this work, particularly getting to see different players, different defenses, different offenses. I think it really helped both teams. We came here with the mindset we were going to get better, and I think we got better. Any exposure you have going against different guys – and has some talented guys: you have some guys you have to work to compete against, whether you're pass blocking or trying to cover them - so it’s a great exposure for all our players."
George had some positive notes on two defensive linemen and finally something positive on Brandon Williams:
Early in team drills, NT Josh Brent and DE Sean Lissemore each penetrated the line of scrimmage and clogged up the middle on Chargers' running plays. Lissemore had two stops that would have gone for losses.
LB Brandon Williams, who has been hampered by a sore back, was good against the run in 9-on-7 drills, consistently getting into the backfield.
Archer agrees on Brandon Williams and offers an observation about Dwayne Harris:
"[Williams] was active against the run during 9-on-7 drills and was a constant force in the backfield against backup QBs Billy Volek and Scott Tolzien."
WR Dwayne Harris caught the wrath of TE Jason Witten during the first team’s two-minute drill by running the incorrect route. He ended the No. 2 series with a touchdown catch from QB Jon Kitna by working behind CB Marcus Gilchrist in the back of the end zone. Kitna made a nice read by throwing it to Gilchrist’s back shoulder.
Dwayne Harris turned some heads with his performance against the Broncos and as a result he made this CNNSI.com list of late round draft gems that are shining for their teams:
Dallas is searching for some complementary pieces to its starting WR duo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, and Harris, out of East Carolina, could be an answer.
At just 5-foot-10, he doesn’t have great size, but he’s a talented player - he had 101 catches for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns during his senior season. And he opened some eyes in his Dallas preseason debut with a five-catch, 127-yard showing that included a 76-yard touchdown reception. He’s in a fight with Kevin Ogletree for the No. 3 receiver designation, but he’s got the goods to win.
Orlando Scandrick had a good practice, making several good plays against Chargers receivers, including two pass break-ups in the end zone. Rob Ryan was suitably impressed.
"He’s had one of the better camps than anybody," Ryan said. "He’s covering well. He’s taken the challenge. He’s playing two positions for us really. In my opinion, we have three starting corners. And that’s how it’s going to be."
Jason Garrett reflects on moving former LB Isaiah Greenhouse to fullback during his press conference yesterday, and whether that reflects on the guys already there at the position:
I think it probably says more about [Greenhouse]. he really showed up on special teams. He's a tough, physical player on teams and that showed up in the game. So you want to give a guy like that as many opportunities as you can. He was not getting that many snaps as a linebacker. He's a tough guy. He has a little bit of running back history in his background and as a practice roster player with Houston he played a little fullback, so we said, "Hey, let's put two and two together, let's give him a white jersey and see how he responds." He's had a good couple of days.
Tony Romo seems to be getting excited about Dez Bryant. Asked what where his confidence level is with Bryant, Romo replied:
"It's real high," Romo said. "Dez is going to have a really good season."
"He's getting comfortable," Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said of Bryant. "He knows what to look for in his different reads and how to adjust to different routes. You can see that. Each week he gets better and better, and he's going to continue to grow."
ESPNs John Clayton, in addition to offering five observations from Cowboys camp, tells Cowboys fans to chill.
For Cowboys fans who are hot that the team didn't upgrade, my suggestion is to chill. The team is good enough to win 10 games given a schedule that includes four beatable NFC West teams and only two playoff teams outside the division (the New England Patriots and New York Jets). As long as Dallas does well in the NFC East, double-digit wins are definitely possible.
In injury news, Jason Hatcher out with injured toe he injured on Thursday. Montrae Holland, who's been out since August 5, said his back feeling better but it's still not clear when he'll return to practice. Jon Kitna was back at practice, as was Mike Jenkins, but Jenkins only did some individual work. Miles Austin did not practice and will not play on Sunday, and neither will David Buehler, who's out with a hip strain.
After taking the field for only one 10-play drive against the Broncos, the Cowboys starters should play well into the second quarter on Sunday against the Chargers.
"I can’t guarantee you a play number or a time in the game when they’re coming out, but we anticipate them playing longer," Garrett said. "Hopefully into the second quarter, maybe double the snaps."
The Ryan brothers are at it again. More specifically, the guy who has failed to deliver on his big promises is sounding off again. Rex Ryan is promising to beat his brother Rob Ryan, now the Cowboys DC, when the Cowboys travel to the Meadowlands on September 11.
"I hate to do it to him again, but we’re going to," Ryan said during a conference call with Jets' season ticket holders this week. "We’ve got to beat ‘em.”
“Playing against my brother or coaching against my brother is always special,” Ryan said. “There’s no doubt about that… I know he’ll have his team ready to go. They’re going to be popping out of their skin, so to speak, ready to play.... He’s going to bring in a team that has a lot of talent, but our guys are going to be up for it.
Of interest for fans in the vicinity of the Metroplex: The Cowboys will hold their Silver & Blue Debut practice on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at Cowboys Stadium. Practice is free, starts at 7:00 p.m. and features lots of entertainment, including your favorite cheerleading crew.