Cowboys Practice Notes

Some quick hits on cornerback Derek Ross and Quincy Carter headed into the off week in Valley Ranch. Surprisingly, Carter is leading the NFC in passing yardage through the first two weeks of the 2003 regular season.

* CB Derek Ross (sprained knee) practiced on Thursday after being out since the preseason. The Cowboys are hoping he will be ready for the September 28 battle against the Jets after this week's bye because they need to shore up their subpar nickel defense.

It almost goes without saying that Pete Hunter has been inadequate as the underneath corner in the nickel through two games.

* QB Quincy Carter is leading the NFL's top-ranked offense. Even though it's only through two games, this is special because the offense has ranked 30th, 29th and 25th the last three seasons. The Cowboys have had consecutive games over 400 yards for the first time since 1998.

"It feels good but we have 14 games left," said Carter, whose 589 yards passing is tops in the NFC. "We would like to be the No. 1 offense at the end of the season."

Carter has appeared to be borderline sensational through the first two games of the season, but he's still reluctant to say that the Cowboys' offense has turned the proverbial corner in 2003.

"We are doing some good things, there's no doubt about that," Carter added. "But we are still making some of the same mistakes that cost us last year and the year before. Those are the things that we have got to stop if we are going to get to the playoffs."

* The word around Valley Ranch this week has been a focus on the running game. After another subpar performance Monday night, Bill Parcells and company are going back to the drawing board to figure out how to get this team to run the ball more effectively with the game on the line. Parcells has been meeting with Troy Hambrick during extensive film sessions this week to try and figure out how to get his starting running back to maximize his efforts on gameday.

Hambrick has yet to record a touchdown this season in 37 carries for 113 total yards.

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