Calvin Watkins' Cowboys practice report


OXNARD, Calif. -- After the first day of practice, we have a few items to talk about.

*I like how Morris Claiborne is working. He's challenging receivers in press man coverage and not backing down. He broke free of Dez Bryant's block during a run play to help out. But Bryant got free of Claiborne's press to catch a pass. Claiborne was beaten by Kevin Ogletree for another pass and lost sight of the ball. After Claiborne ran into Ogletree, which resulted in an incompletion, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware put his arm around him to offer encouragement.

*Mike Jenkins said he can do everything with his surgically repaired shoulder but just needs to be cleared by Dr. James Andrews and team doctors before he can practice. Jenkins said he didn't request a trade but said that's why his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is there -- to make those requests. It seems Jenkins is engaged with the team and wants to be here and Rosenhaus is just doing what agents do -- look after their clients.

*Ronald Leary is getting some looks at guard and looks pretty good. He's physical, meaning he's holding up his blocks and while there was some concerns about his chronic knee issue, he moved pretty well laterally on a screen pass. On a run play, he stood up a charging Sean Lee, which was good to see. Leary had a false start and was replaced briefly.

*There isn't a kicking battle this year and Dan Bailey got off to a good start this summer. Bailey made all six of his kicks Monday, ranging from 20 to 40 yards. Delbert Alvarado, who is just here as a leg to take some pressure off Bailey, went 4-for-5 on his kicks, going wide left on his final attempt.

*Sometimes bad luck seems to follow Stephen McGee. On a deep throw, receiver Cole Beasley stopped his route short, resulting in Teddy Williams getting an interception. McGee also was stepped on after getting the snap and was sacked later by Clifton Geathers.

*Jay Ratliff missed the afternoon practice session with a foot problem that bothered him during the offseason workouts. It's a precaution of course, but something to monitor as the season progresses. Much like Ware's neck issues that forced him to miss a few days of offseason workouts.

*The interesting thing about Felix Jones failing his conditioning test is looking at the players who did pass it. Gerald Sensabaugh and Raymond Radway finished their tests on time despite undergoing leg surgeries. Radway for a compound fracture and Sensabaugh for minor knee surgery. I'm not sure if Jones failed the test by a split-second, but a running back needs to run 60-yards in eight seconds ten times for two sets. Just not acceptable.

*Fullback Lawrence Vickers showed eadership skills by telling running back Ed Wesley to finish running 10 yards after he was stuffed on a play. Running backs coach Skip Peete and Vickers told the undrafted free agent from TCU to run. It's the little things coach Jason Garrett looks at when he evaluates his players.