Mini-camp Insider News & Notes

IRVING, TX. - News and notes on Terrell Owens, QB Jeff Mroz, Skyler Green, Rob Petitti and more information than you can stand from the first day of the Cowboys' mini-camp held at Valley Ranch Friday afternoon.

• Just hours after a 30-minute speech to the media in which he said all the things Dallas coaches, players and fans hoped he would say – about fitting in, being just one of the guys, not behaving in a manner that might draw attention to himself – new Cowboys WR Terrell Owens made his initial impression in his new star-studded uniform. While the rest of his teammates were put through their paces in standard team-issued jerseys and shorts, Owens made his traditionally subtle fashion statement, going through his first organized workout in his jersey …. and shiny blue tights. At least when LeBron James and Kobe Bryant wore them, they had shorts over them. On the other hand, perhaps all on hand should be thankful that T.O. was the only one clad in Spandex. When he first sported a green version in Philadelphia, Eagles coach Andy Reid said that if Owens caught 15 touchdowns that season, he – Reid – would don similar duds. Thankfully, Owens came up one touchdown short in a season cut short by a broken leg suffered when now-teammate Roy Williams yanked him down with a horse-collar tackle, sparking the legislation that now carries the unofficial nickname "The Roy Williams Rule." Had Owens reached the end zone a 15th time, Reid might have started a trend of coaches wearing tights …. and does anyone really want to see that look on Bill Parcells?

• The Cowboys' veteran mini-camp at the end of May/beginning of June normally sits atop the priority list for local media outlets. Not because there's any life-altering news that normally comes out of the camp, but rather because in years past, the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars have been making tee times, and the Texas Rangers are …. the Texas Rangers. But to see the invasion of media at Friday's sessions in the locker room and at the practice field, observers would be forgiven had they jumped to the conclusion that Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Randy White, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith all had decided to resume their playing careers. Normal media coverage at mini-camp means a couple of reporters from each of the local daily newspapers, a reporter from local television stations and a couple of radio stations, and sometimes Ed Werder of ESPN, simply because he lives in the area and often gets dispatched to Valley Ranch. The arrival of Terrell Owens, however, was treated like a hero coming home, as the media throng approached 100 members, and included ESPN, the NFL Network and other national outlets that flew reporters to Dallas simply to hear T.O. preach his excitement over being a Cowboy, and then to watch him stretch and catch a few passes from Drew Bledsoe, Tony Romo, Drew Henson and rookie free agent Jeff Mroz.

• At the team's rookie mini-camp in April, head coach Bill Parcells said that Skyler Green, the KR/WR Dallas drafted from LSU, showed enough promise as a return specialist that he (Parcells) would like to make the rookie his primary punt returner. However, Parcells cautioned, Green "needed to show" that he could contribute on offense. Green got off to a rather inauspicious start Friday, dropping three catchable passes in the first five minutes of practice, which drew the ire of WRs coach Todd Haley. Later, in skeleton drills against a live defense, Green consistently lost in-air battles against DBs. He has speed and a thickly-muscled frame, but he needs to improve his concentration and fight harder for passes when bumped. After all, this was without pads, so the DBs were bumping him more than hitting him.

• The Cowboys have a number of running backs whose success is predicated more on quickness than raw power: Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Tyson Thompson and rookie free agent Demetrius Summers. But when the RBs were put through a series of drills testing their agility and quick feet – primarily running through a number of footwork patterns with a rope ladder that had been laid out on the field – the quickest feet by far belonged to 2005 practice squad member Keylon Kincade, who blazed through the drills, prompting RBs coach Anthony Lynn to challenge the other backs to "catch up" to Kincade.

• Among the most improved players, from a physical conditioning standpoint, between last year's mini-camp and this year's camp is second-year OT Rob Petitti. As a rookie last year, Petitti showed up around 360 pounds. This year, he's down to 325, and Parcells said his strength has improved as much as anyone on the roster. Parcells said that physically, Petitti is among the two or three most improved players on the team. Despite shedding more than 30 pounds, Petitti looks much stronger and lighter on his feet.

• Not to be overshadowed by the three-ring circus that surrounded his first appearance at mini-camp is the fact that Terrell Owens remains one of the most talented and dangerous receivers in football. Like the rest of the projected starters, Owens did little Friday beyond stretching, some light running and running some routes against single coverage from DBs. The ball was spread around among all of the receivers, but when it came his way, Owens made every catch, including one when he slipped to the ground, got back up and still snatched the pass over the top of CB Anthony Henry.

• CB Terence Newman looked very good Friday, knocking down several passes and picking off one, which he returned to the end zone (although not pursued). After "scoring" he leaped up for congratulatory chest bumps from S Keith Davis and new LB Akin Ayodele. But the interception of the day belonged to free agent LB J.J. Horne, who shot up from his OLB spot and laid out in a dive, snatching the ball just before it hit the turf.

• Hair today …. and not likely to be gone tomorrow. S Keith Davis drew sported some of the wilder hair on last year's roster, and apparently hasn't cut it since. His 'do now resembles some sort of cross between the looks sported by Ben Wallace and any member of a generic heavy metal band. Also, perhaps in an attempt to shed any memories of his days in Indianapolis, new PK Mike Vanderjagt showed up with a platinum blond look. Perhaps neither was aware that helmets remain part of the required NFL uniform.

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