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Sunday, July 31, 2011
Todd Archer's practice observations

By Todd Archer


* Situational football is of mega importance and Jason Garrett had the players work on end-of-game or half situations in which the kicking team had to get on the field fast. Offensively, they had to either give themselves up in order to kill the clock late or call a quick timeout if one was available.

* One of the best parts of camp is when the two-minute drill arrives. The first- and second-team offenses won out. WR Dez Bryant was able to get 15 yards behind the defense for a touchdown catch from Tony Romo that had defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talking to Mike Jenkins. Rookie WR Dwayne Harris pocketed a Jon Kitna pass for a long TD as well after rookie CB Josh Thomas got lost in his assignment.

* Romo’s best throw of the day might have been a back-shoulder pass to WR Kevin Ogletree, who was being defended by Terence Newman. Earlier in camp, Romo’s back-shoulder throws were a little too far to the front shoulder as he continued to work on his timing and placement.

* Jenkins was able to intercept Romo for what would have been a pick-six on a stop route to Manny Johnson, but on the play FB Chris Gronkowski did a nice job of picking up a blitzing Kenwin Cummings.

* LB Victor Butler had a sack of Kitna and was able to force a holding penalty on TE Martin Rucker on a Frank Warren run. Butler has been much more active in this camp than his previous two.

* Kitna and Bill Nagy had several quarterback-center exchange issues in both sessions Sunday and one Nagy shotgun snap sailed over the head of the veteran quarterback. Kitna had the same issue two years ago with Cory Procter.

* TE Martellus Bennett was a little slow in getting up after making a leaping catch of a Romo throw after LB Bradie James landed on top of him. He did not miss any snaps.

* NT Jay Ratliff is leaner than in the past and his speed is rare. On a dumpoff to TE Jason Witten Ratliff was able to track down the Pro Bowler to negate what could have been a pretty good play. Ratliff has also blown up at least two screen plays early in camp by slipping past linemen.

* Working back from a calf strain, Tashard Choice spent time before practice catching passes off the Jugs machine.

* Rookie QB Zack Eskridge does not get many snaps, but he has to speed up his play calling. He waited too long to make a change at the line, which would have been a delay of game penalty, although he was able to complete the subsequent pass with a decent throw.

* UTSA football coach Larry Coker was in attendance at Sunday’s practice, as was Time Bandit captain Johnathan Hillstrand of “Deadliest Catch” fame. He took pictures with Romo, Miles Austin and Witten after practice.

* It is difficult to get a read on Stephen McGee because he is working with so many young players, but he had a nice out route to Manny Johnson along the sideline in 7-on-7 drills.