• More than a few eyebrows were raised when head coach Bill Parcells compared his top draft choice, DeMarcus Ware, to one of his former players: Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, considered by many to be the greatest defensive player in the history of football. But if Friday's workout was any indication, it's clear that Parcells thinks a lot of Ware … in several different roles. The players took the field in helmets, jerseys, shorts and no pads, so there was no hitting, and drills were not run at full speed (except for wide receivers and defensive backs on pass routes). But in the skeleton drills run at the team's Valley Ranch practice field, Ware lined up at defensive end, where he played in college and outside linebacker … and at times in the slot, dropping into coverage against the offense's third receiver. The guy can run, but if he can run with NFL wideouts -- even those without top-end speed -- he's going to cause a lot of sleepless nights for opposing offensive coordinators.
• Is the body even cool yet? Free agent running back Tyson Thompson took to the practice field for the first time Friday, sporting jersey
No. 28. Legendary safety Darren Woodson has been retired only a few months, and already his number is being worn by an unproven free agent
hopeful? No offense to Thompson, but it just doesn't look right.
• Defensive end Marcus Spears, wearing a black elastic sleeve on his right knee, went through position drills with a hint of a limp. But
when the defensive linemen paired off with offensive linemen for pass
rush/blocking drills, Spears -- who Parcells said needs to lose weight
before training camp -- showed good quickness, repeatedly beating his
man to the coach impersonating the quarterback.
• Two quarterbacks are in camp, not as draft choices or even free agent
signees. The two -- Dustin Long of Sam Houston State (after a stint at
Texas A&M) and Derek Maupin of West Texas A&M -- are among six players
the Cowboys have invited for "weekend workouts," making them the
longest of longshots. Long showed a stronger passing arm, while Maupin
appeared a little quicker afoot.
• Colleges often are accused of "inflating" athletes' measurements in
their programs and media guides (Charles Barkley was listed at 6-7 when
he played at Auburn, but by the end of his NBA career, he was what ....
6-4? He's not old enough to shrink that much.) Maybe the pros are
guilty of similar number manipulation. The Cowboys are listing
sixth-round draft choice Rob Petitti (offensive lineman from
Pittsburgh) at 6-foot-6, 340. Maybe so, but Marcus Spears is listed at
307 pounds, and he looks like a scrawny kid next to Petitti.
• The Washington Redskins have drawn some attention around the nation's
capital for signing tight end prospect Chevon Troutman -- a power
forward from Pittsburgh who hasn't played football since high school.
To the casual observer, it might appear that the Cowboys tried the same
strategy. Center Matthew Tarullo looks like a power forward, (at 6-5,
he's much taller than most interior linemen). He looks almost lean for
an offensive lineman … which, admittedly, sounds weird for a guy who
weighs 314 pounds. And to keep the basketball influence intact, he
showed up sporting his Syracuse-orange cleats. If he had hair to braid, he'd .... still bear no resemblance to Carmelo Anthony.
• The rookies all showed energy and hustle, jumping to meet every
request from the coaches. One rookie in particular seems to have a goal
in mind for all his drills: running back Marion Barber ran almost to
the end zone nearly every time he carried the ball, even when he had no
defenders within 30 yards of him.
Rookie Mini-camp Insider
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