Calvin Watkins' practice report

August, 16, 2012
8/16/12
8:30
AM ET


OXNARD, Calif. -- Some thoughts from Wednesday's practice.

* It surprised us a little that the Cowboys were in full pads Wednesday. Now they didn't hit full speed for the entire session, but coming off a game, I would think the Cowboys would take some time off from pads. There are some players returning from injury -- such as Matt Johnson, Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher -- that need to get work in pads, but with so many injuries on the roster, it did surprise some that it was a padded practice.

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* You think quarterbacks should yell and scream to get their point across. Not really. On consecutive plays, Danny McCray and Barry Church picked up sacks against quarterback Tony Romo. Church went untouched through the middle of the line of scrimmage to get a sack. It prompted Romo to slam the ball to the ground. On the next play, Romo completed a pass to Dez Bryant.

* This isn't a big thing, but Felix Jones hasn't really impressed us this training camp. DeMarco Murray has shown a burst, an ability to take contact and re-establish himself as the No. 1 running back. Jones? He's been blah. He caught a swing pass but didn't do much with it. Jones seems a little slow this camp not because of injury, but maybe the past leg injuries he's had in his brief career have taken their toll.

* Wide receiver Donovan Kemp is a long shot to make this team. He suffered a drop along the sidelines.

* Romo was able to get Church to jump offsides on a hard count.

* Daniel Loper suffered a forearm injury of some sort last week and didn't play in the preseason opener. Loper looked pretty good at the guard spot Wednesday, knocking Adrian Hamilton to the ground on one play and was pretty physical on a few others.

* Brandon Carr and Dez Bryant are doing their thing right now. During one-on-ones, Carr broke up a pass for Bryant. Then Bryant beat Morris Claiborne. Each player is putting on a show. Bryant has never looked better. He's playing with a real quiet confidence. He's playing relaxed.

* Not sure where the Cowboys see him best, but Alex Albright is getting work at inside linebacker right now. He might be strong enough to take on guards and centers and shed them to make tackles.

*Yes Jay Ratliff has a foot problem that's not going away anytime soon, but when he's getting snaps with the first-team defense, he looks quick and physical.

* James Hanna made a nice over-the-shoulder catch when beating Victor Butler down the sidelines during one-on-one drills.

* We expect the trio of guards Derrick Dockery and Mackenzy Bernadeau and center David Arkin to have a better performance Saturday at San Diego. The trio are putting in the work, especially after practice, with line coach Bill Callahan.

* The Cowboys used LP Ladouceur and Charley Hughlett at deep snapper during practice. Hughlett did a nice job in the preseason opener, but the pressure is on with Ladouceur expected to play in the second preseason game at San Diego on Saturday.
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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