• One player who has shown significant improvement from the rookie mini-camp in April is free agent WR Miles Austin of Monmouth (N.J.) University. At the rookie camp, Austin repeatedly reached for passes with one hand – and dropped many of them, drawing the ire of WRs coach Todd Haley. He made numerous catches – using both hands – Saturday, including several in heavy traffic, earning repeated loud praise from head coach Bill Parcells.
• Lost in the hoopla surrounding the "T.O. has landed" story Friday is the vital rehab progress from last year's season-ending knee injury by LT Flozell Adams. Called overweight and rusty Friday by Parcells, Adams went through most drills with the first-team offensive line. In scrimmage-type drills, he lined up and moved with the snap, although he hung behind when the rest of the linemen chugged downfield. Adams seemed to move around fairly well, albeit a little gingerly.
• One asset that can make players stand out in mini-camps – especially those players on the fringe of the roster hoping to earn a job – is pure energy. The more astute players would be well served to follow the example set by LBs coach Paul Pasqualoni, who might be the most active person on the field. The long-time Syracuse head coach, who will turn 57 in August, is a showcase of hyperactivity, bouncing around among his players like a pinball, barking orders in the players ears, moving their bodies into the right positions and even stepping in to demonstrate the drills himself. Pasqualoni's voice can be heard at all times, even from the opposite end of the field, and rarely seems to inhale, much less stop for a cup of water.
• Rookie KR/WR Skyler Green struggled Friday on offense, dropping several passes, but rebounded with a strong showing Saturday. Like Austin, he made numerous catches, including several in traffic, and like Austin, he caught the eye of Parcells, who lauded Green's improvement.
• The Cowboys are carrying four quarterbacks – incumbent starter Drew Bledsoe, holdover backups Tony Romo and Drew Henson, and rookie free agent Jeff Mroz (Yale). Bledsoe performed as expected, guiding the offense with precision and making every throw. Henson, fresh off a stint in NFL Europe, looked more accurate than he did a year ago, but didn't always throw with the same bazooka-like velocity he did at this time last season, whether because of arm fatigue from his time overseas, or because he realizes that he doesn't have to throw a Roger Clemens fastball on every pitch. Mroz mirrored his rookie mini-camp performance – he's not going to throw the ball through a brick wall, but he is extremely accurate, and seems able to make every throw. He has uncanny touch on deep balls, especially when the play calls for the ball to be dropped over the receiver's outside shoulder. On deep balls and on "out" patterns to the sideline, he repeatedly placed the ball where only his receiver had a chance to make the play.
• During the team's April mini-camp, Parcells said that the strongest player, pound-for-pound, on the Dallas roster, is WR Jamaica Rector, who showed that strength Saturday as he fought off bigger DBs to make catches. On one such play, he beat free agent FS Marcus Coleman to the end zone, but also got there before the ball, for which he had to wait. Rector used his lower-body strength to hold off Coleman (picture Josh Howard posting up Kevin Garnett) before making the catch. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Rector gives up four inches and 34 pounds to Coleman.
• The early leader for the catch of the day was WR Patrick Crayton, who fought off CB Aaron Glenn before spinning to the sideline and diving to snag the ball just inches before it hit the grass out of bounds (he kept his feet in). But Crayton's effort was surpassed by WR J.R. Tolver (San Diego State), who made a sparkling left-handed grab on an "ambulance ball" (when the quarterback leads the receiver into harm's way by throwing into heavy traffic). Tolver raced down the left sideline before cutting into the middle of the field, running between Glenn, S Abram Elam (Kent State) and LB John Saldi (Texas Tech), lunging forward and spearing the pass with his left hand.
• Parcells has a reputation for treating all players similarly, regardless of pedigree or salary. On the first play after a brief break in the morning session, Bledsoe threw a pass to WR Terrell Owens, who appeared to take his eye off the ball and let it slip through his hands. Nobody said a word to Owens, although one assistant implored the entire offense to increase its concentration and overall performance.
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