Saturday, July 30, 2011
Cowboys practice report
By Calvin Watkins
SAN ANTONIO -- Day 3 of training camp is over at the Alamodome and it was a busy day.
*The Cowboys have 83 players in training camp, including Andre Gurode, DeMarco Murray and Bruce Carter, who are on the non-football injury list. Tashard Choice (calf) and Keith Brooking (hamstring) did not practice Saturday. Alan Ball, Bryan McCann, Jesse Holley, Kyle Kosier, Doug Free, Keynon Coleman and Marcus Spears have signed contracts but aren't allowed to participate until Aug. 4 at the earliest because they were free agents.
*It was the first day the Cowboys were in full pads during this training camp, and one thing that was noticed was what we'll call "The Roy Williams drill." In a Thanksgiving Day loss to the New Orleans Saints last year, Williams was running down field toward a possible touchdown when he was stripped from behind by safety Malcom Jenkins. The Saints recovered the ball at the Cowboys 11 and would go on to win. Well, Saturday afternoon, ball carriers were positioned to run through two sets of players who were trying to strip them of the ball. They run through the first set of players positioned near the hash marks. Then once the ball carrier gets past the first group, two more players chase the player from behind trying to strip the the ball before he gets into the end zone.
*Not sure what to make of this, but normal holder Mat McBriar was the holder for rookie kicker Dan Bailey. Bailey made all five field goals of 31, 34, 36, 42 and 45 yards. On the last field goal, McBriar was able to handle a high snap and get the hold down for Bailey. David Buehler went 4-for-5 from the same distances. He was wide left from 34 yards. Punter Chris Jones held for Buehler. You could say maybe special teams coach Joe DeCamillis wants to make sure if Bailey is the kicker going forward he develops a chemistry with McBriar. But so much can change in this kicking battle once the preseason starts and we still haven't seen Bailey attempt kickoffs.
*Outside linebacker Brandon Williams had a nice practice. He shed a block of rookie fullback Shaun Chapas for a tackle for loss and on the next play, he jumped in the backfield and stopped Phillip Tanner for another loss. Williams was pretty active on Saturday, but he wasn't alone. The other outside linebacker, Victor Butler, also made some plays. He picked off a pass and was invovled on several tackles. Both backup linebackers seem to be getting better.
*Inconsistency drives coaches crazy, especially from players trying to make a team. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who is getting first-team reps at free safety, made the right call by blitzing off the edge. He showed a great burst to the line of scrimmage, but on a short pass to Felix Jones, Owusu-Ansah ran right past Jones, who caught the pass and ran up field. It seemed Owusu-Ansah didn't even see the ball coming. Kevin Ogletree makes some excellent plays sometimes. He ran a nice route and was wide open but was missed on an overthrown pass, and on another pass from Jon Kitna it appeared he broke off his route or Kitna threw the ball to the wrong spot.
*With Choice and Murray out, it allows other running backs to see some time. Newly-signed running back Frank Warren, No. 30 in your program, is from Grambling. He hit the holes with aggression and when there were no lanes, he displayed good movement by getting downfield. The Cowboys didn't attend his pro day but saw him play during the season and they were able to sign him over the Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Lonyae Miller also did a nice job catching the ball and running well.