Thursday Training Camp Insider

More news and notes as the Cowboys head towards their first preseason game of the year.

SPEARS INJURY UPDATE: Rookie defensive end Marcus Spears continues to show improvement after suffering a strained MCL last and a high ankle sprain last week.

"I've heard two to four (weeks)," Parcells said of Spears' potential return to the field. "We had him on a stairmaster this morning and the eliptical. He did a little court work yesterday, so that's a good sign. I would say his ankle is a little more problematic than the knee. I know that's the case."

Parcells said he still doesn't know if he will be available for the regular season opener at San Diego, but his goal is to have him back by the last preseason game.

"That would give him another 10 days before the opener (to prepare for the season)," Parcells added.

HELP FOR NEWMAN: Much has been made this offseason about the acquisition of corners Aaron Glenn and Anthony Henry this offseason. Through the first two weeks of training camp, it has been obvious that having two more veterans in the secondary has helped the development of Terence Newman, who is now entering his third year.

"I think Newman can observe Glenn very closely because Newman is right there and plays the same position. Glenn is pretty crafty," said Parcells.

"Henry is a different kind of player than both of those guys. He's a bigger, physical guy. I think that's good for Terence."

SPECIAL TEAMS UPDATE: After releasing Clint Greathouse earlier this week, the Cowboys currently only have one true punter on the roster in Mat McBriar.

"I would say he's doing all right," Parcells said of McBriar. "We are charting it everyday. I think he has a chance to be a pretty good punter. I think he improved a little bit last year. He has a powerful leg. It's just a question of consistency now." The Cowboys' third-year head coach said the following about his return game:

Kickoff returns: "I want to increase two yards per return." (Tyson Thompson and Marion Barber, Terrance Copper and Ahmad Merritt, Woody Danztler and Jamaica Rector will return kickoffs this weekend against Arizona.)

Punt returns: "I want to increase a yard and half a return." (Marion Barber, Ahmad Merritt, possibly Zuriel Smith, and Jamaica Rector will return punts this weekend against Arizona).

Punts: "I'd like to increase our net by a couple of yards," added Parcells.

QUICK HITS: Sean Ryan, Marcus Spears, Darian Barnes, Erik Bickerstaff will not play in Saturday's preseason opener against Arizona. ... Parcells said he wanted to keep the schemes against Arizona simple so that he could evaluate his younger players' athletic ability. ... Parcells said that Beriault's knee is "bothering him a little bit" and that he may have a degenerative knee condition that has been bothering him. ... Parcells said that Terry Glenn has "been working out like a fanatic all spring." ... Parcells said he is rooting for Patrick Crayton as the third receiver this year.

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