Cowboys practice report

July, 31, 2011
7/31/11
8:02
PM ET

SAN ANTONIO -- Day 4 here and the Cowboys had another padded practice in the afternoon session.

Here's some highlights:

* Whenever the Cowboys practice in full pads, the offensive and defensive linemen will wear knee braces. It's not a mandatory thing, just something the team wants to do as a precaution for it's players. It hasn't been determined if the Cowboys will make it mandatory for the preseason and regular season.

* Kicker David Buehler was booed Sunday by the crowd at the Alamodome for missing a 58-yard field goal. The Cowboys were practicing a drill where they are in hurry-up mode and then on fourth down attempt a field goal. On the first attempt of this drill, Buehler rushed onto the field and was short on the 58-yarder. When the drill was conducted again, rookie Dan Bailey made a 52-yarder, much to the delight of the crowd. However, Buehler came on and made a 27-yard try to end an 11-on-11 session. Both kickers went 2-for-4 during their normal kicking sessions.

* Tyron Smith had another one of those days on Sunday. In a one-on-one pass blocking drill, he was paired up with DeMarcus Ware. The outside linebacker blew by him to the simulated quarterback on consecutive plays. On a third try, Ware tried to go inside, but Smith was able to hold him up. After practice, Ware worked with Smith on his hand placement and footwork. And even when Smith was signing autographs, line coach Hudson Houck was talking to him.

* Dez Bryant is still learning the game, but every once and a while you get to see how special he is as a player. He did a double-move on Akwasi Owusu-Ansah to score a touchdown. Bryant also ran past Mike Jenkins for another touchdown in a one-on-one drill down the sidelines. Miles Austin did a nice job fighting for position while running a slant in the two-minute offense. Owusu-Ansah tried to jump the route, but Austin used his size to secure the ball for the reception.

*The running backs, namely Frank Warren, Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner, continue to do a nice job of hitting holes quickly. Felix Jones is also doing a good job, but with Tashard Choice (calf) and DeMarco Murray (hamstring) out with injuries, it will be very interesting to see how Warren, Miller and Tanner look in the preseason opener.

*NFL officials will meet with the media to go over rules changes after Jason Garrett's news conference on Monday. ... Former University of Miami coach and current UT-San Antonio coach Larry Coker attended practice. ... Jonathan Hillstrand and Andy Hillstrand from "The Deadliest Catch" on Discovery Channel took pictures with some players after watching practice.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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