Monday, August 1, 2011
Cowboys practice report
By Calvin Watkins
SAN ANTONIO -- The fifth day of Cowboys' training camp practice was the most physical of all the sessions. Several players were knocked to the ground and there was some popping. Not like in a game, but enough to make you take notice. There was one injury: Cornerback Mike Jenkins left the session with about 30 minutes left with a stinger, the result of a hit by running back Lonyae Miller.
Jenkins should return to practice on Wednesday.
* Monday was the best day for the kickers. David Buehler and Dan Bailey alternated attempting kicks, and each went 4-for-4, making kicks from 28, 34, 40 and 46 yards. However, on kickoffs, Buehler did a much better job of sending the ball down the field while Bailey continues to struggle in that area. Overall, Bailey seems to hit the ball with more confidence, especially on field goals, but he said it doesn't mean anything until the games start.
* The two best defensive players are Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware. It's not breaking news, but watching them everyday gives you an appreciation of the pair. Ratliff takes on double teams, even in practice, and is able to make tackles. Ware gets one-on-one coverage and is blowing up the tackles. Even when he backs up in coverage -- he picked off a Tony Romo pass intended for Dez Bryant -- he's a force. Ware also did a nice job of reading an end around to stop the ball carrier for a loss.
* Of the young receivers in camp, you need to watch out for Raymond Radway. He's a 6-foot-3, 193-pound undrafted free agent from Abilene Christian who is trying to earn a star on his helmet. Radway made a diving catch while going deep and is doing the little things like running good routes and trying to find the ball. One example of this was on a back shoulder fade pass that went for a touchdown. Radway was blocked by the defender but had the presence of mind to find the ball and catch it for the score. In sharp contrast, Titus Ryan, who is making his second attempt to make the team, dropped a pass during a drill with no defender around him.
* In the early portions of practice, the tight ends, wide receivers and running backs worked on a drill where they protect the ball when another player tries to force a fumble. The Cowboys' defense recovered six fumbles last season and forced 12.
* Running back Tashard Choice is still limping slighly from a right calf pull and still has some swelling. Andre Gurode, who is nicknamed the Penguin because of how he walks, has a slight limp but was running hard during his rehab work from minor knee surgery. ... The Cowboys have 87 players in camp after adding wide receiver James Cleveland, a rookie from Houston. The largest position in terms of numbers is defensive backs with 15, followed by 13 wide receivers, then linebackers and offensive linemen. When Jason Hatcher signs his new deal, the Cowboys will have 11 offensive linemen, moving the total to 88.