SPEARS GOES DOWN: Bill Parcells opened up Saturday afternoon's press conference with a bit of bad news when he announced that second year defensive end Marcus Spears went down with a knee injury in the first practice of training camp.
"This morning in practice Spears twisted his knee," he said. "It might be a meniscus. If it is we'll fix it tomorrow. Should be a couple of weeks. Problem with that he misses all the work and he needs it badly.
This marks the second consecutive year that Spears has gone down with an injury.
"Two camps in a row. Not that good of news," he added.
When asked what he would try to do to replace Spears, Parcells offered several options, including rookie end Jason Hatcher.
"I might put Hatcher over there. I might," he said. "But you know I still have Kenyon Coleman and Ratliff and my experience has been with rookies you try not to do too much fooling around with them. I like to get them in a spot and not do too much moving around if I can. I wouldn't be writing Spears off at this point in this time."
PLENTY OF OPTIONS AT RUNNING BACK: Many fans are wondering how the Cowboys will utilize running backs Julius Jones and Marion Barber this season, especially if both players remain healthy.
Parcells offered a brief glimpse of what he's considering Saturday.
"Barber's production was good last year during the time he played. He was pretty well schooled on football before he got here. It's not like you are just starting from scratch on him. He would definitely be in my plans on third down. How he would be involved in first and second down ... I don't know yet. I'm hoping that Tyson Thompson, who is still a very inexperienced football player, not just a pro football player but football player.
"I'm hoping that he comes along this year. He did do something for us on kickoffs last year."
Parcells said of starter Julius Jones, "I just hope I see an improved player and a guy that has a little better sense of timing in what we are doing. We've got a little bit of depth at that position now so we should not be totally reliant on one player."
QUICK HITS: OL Shannon Snell and S Darrell Brooks were released before the start of camp Saturday. ... With Flozell Adams currently on the PUP list, Parcells said he has no plan to try veteran right tackle Jason Fabini at left tackle ... When asked about second-year linebacker Kevin Burnett, Parcells said, "I'm hopeful that he can stay out there more consistently this year and be a contributor. For a small window of time last year he started to come along." ... Parcells also said that OL Rob Petiti and DL Jason Ratliff are the two players that have impressed him the most this offseason. "Petitti looks like a different person, completely," he said. ... Finally, Parcells said that everybody made their required weight entering training camp.
NEXT UP: The Cowboys will return to the practice fields in Oxnard Saturday afternoon at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I do have some hope that Tyson Thompson comes along further than he did last year. And also, Polite is going to play a couple of different positions and he's also been around long enough to know what his jobs are going to be." -- Parcells on reserve running backs Tyson Thompson and Lousaka Polite.
PARTING SHOT: Bill Parcells joked with reporters when he said he told Drew Bledsoe to get a haircut so that he would look younger.
First Practice Press Conference
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