Sunday Mini-camp Insider

IRVING, TX - More mini-camp scoop! News, notes and observations you won't find anywhere else.

. Based on Bill Parcells well-known fondness for athletes who take care of themselves physically and work hard at their conditioning, three players might have caught his eye. In team sprints at the beginning of (and throughout) the three days of practice, safety Abram Elam (Kent State) and linebacker D.D. Lee consistently led the entire defense in the sprints, while quarterback Jeff Mroz (Yale) led the way for the offense.

. Top pick Bobby Carpenter made a comment Saturday that his father, former New York Giant Rob Carpenter, had seemed surprised that Parcells hadn't said anything about Bobby's long hair. Based on the amount of time Carpenter spent flipping his head and brushing the hair out of his eyes during the pre-practice stretching drills, it wouldn't be surprising at all if an order came down from on high for the rookie to trim the 'do.

. Parcells is fascinated with players' weights. He seemingly has an exact number he'd like the scale to read for each player. For instance, he said Friday (and again Sunday) that rookie WR Skyler Green (LSU) is "too fat" -- an interesting description for a guy who looks like one big muscle with dreadlocks. Green weighed in at 197 pounds, and Parcells said he expects Green to get down to 185-187. Green assured the media that whatever Parcells wants, he gets. One player who was not called out for a change in his girth was free safety Pat Watkins (Florida State). He seems very comfortable in his frame, and he appears to have very good speed and athleticism. But the 6-foot-5 rookie sure doesn't look like a guy who can come up and rattle some teeth with a Steve Atwater-style hit. Listed at 211 pounds, Watkins looks more like .... Reggie Miller than Ronnie Lott. Maybe natural physical maturity will add some size, as will the Cowboys' rigorous strength and conditioning program. But in his first workouts with his new team, Watkins looked like he'd blow away in the first breeze to go through Valley Ranch.

. The linebackers went through their first pass rushing drills Sunday. Carpenter, who struggled Saturday in pass coverage, looked very good coming off the corner. He showed a very good burst at the snap, and repeatedly shook off the grips of offensive linemen who often had nearly 100 pounds on him. Once free from the would-be blockers, Carpenter appeared very adept at getting around the corner to the quarterback, thanks to a strong burst and excellent balance.

. The scariest moment of the day came when second-year offensive lineman Matt Tarullo went down. Tarullo said said the hardest part about the beginning of any season is getting used to the new linemen playing on either side -- at this weekend's mini-camp, everyone was playing next to somebody new. Tarullo said he got his foot stepped on by one of his massive offensive line bretheren, and in pulling away, turned the ankle. The Syracuse product went to the ground, screaming, but popped back up and didn't miss a play. After snapping the ball on the next play, he hopped a little as the pain lingered, but within minutes, he was back at full speed, meaning the injury was not as serious as it looked. When asked about it after practice, Tarullo said "you can't come out for something like that -- it's all in a day's work."

. The star of the team's one-on-one line drills was third-round pick Jason Hatcher (Grambling State). Hatcher got his pads under 6-foot-9 tree trunk Dennis Roland (Georgia), after which he was able to power through the block with Roland on his heels. He also was able to get by Roland, Pat McQuistan (Weber State) and Cory Proctor (Montana) with an assortment of moves ranging from raw speed to an effective "swim" move that allowed him to get inside his blocker.

. The tackle of the day involved rookie nose tackle Ranorris Ray (TCU). Unfortunately, he was the recipient of the tackle, not the one administering the abuse. On one play in the same drill, Ray got a very quick burst off the ball, knocking second-year guard Shannon Snell back on his heels. Ray tried to cross his right arm under Snell's right arm to clear a path to the quarterback. Snell responded in the only way he could, grabbing Ray in a chokehold from behind that could earn him a career in professional wrestling, and flinging the the rookie down on his back.


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