Notebook: OL Struggles Continue

OXNARD, Calif. - The more I watch this offensive line struggle, the more I believe the Cowboys want to see if Lincoln Kennedy still has "it'' because they truly need "it.'' More news and notes from Monday evening's practice session contained inside!

P.M. NEWSMAKER: The Cowboys can continue to tout Rob Petitti's new physique. They can continue to tout Jason Fabini's status as a Parcells Guy. They can continue to tout Marc Colombo's first-round pedigree.

But suddenly, the interest in un-retiring veteran Lincoln Kennedy (the story you know about exclusively from this space) may no longer be about "taking a flier.''

It may be about "filling a need.''

Kennedy, the ex-Raiders Pro Bowler, postponed a visit with the Redskins to first visit with Dallas. He's scheduled to arrive in Oxnard early Tuesday morning for a meeting, and tells he's very willing to workout as well.

The initial thinking from the Cowboys – and from me – was that maybe Kennedy will show up way out of shape (the result of two years away from football) and that this will be an experiment quickly dismissed.

But the more I watch this offensive line struggle, the more I believe the Cowboys want to see if Kennedy still has "it'' because they truly need "it.'' And while he might not be superior right now to some of Dallas' tackles, he might be a month from now, when it truly matters.

P.M. WHO'S HOT: Rookie TE Anthony Fasano made a fantastic one-handed grab in one-on-one drills, and Jason Witten was intent on matching the effort on the very next play. Unfortunately, the corner route to Witten was overthrown, causing him to bull through sideline observers and nearly killed San Antonio writer Tom Orsborn. Owner Jerry Jones trotted over to tell the old story of how Barry Switzer once had both knees destroyed by such a sideline hit, and Jones made sure Orsborn was OK.

Nice, Jerry. And nothing against Orsborn. But Cowboys fans would sacrifice a thousand Tom Orsborns to make sure it was Witten who was OK.

P.M. WHO'S NOT: Did I mention that this offensive line is struggling?

Granted, in practice, it can sometimes be difficult to gauge (even by coaches themselves): Is our offensive guy bad? Or is it just that our defensive guy is that good?

Well, let me put it this way: If it's not that some of the O-linemen are performing at a substandard level, than it's that the Dallas Cowboys employ five or six defensive linemen destined to be All-Pros.

P.M. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "What's wrong, can't you count to three?'' Bill Parcells, angrily barking at the chain gang for a down-and-distance screwup. One of the menial laborers apologized,, mumbling, "Sorry, sir,'' but the coach kept jumping down their throats.

Hey, I understand fear and intimidation as tactics to build a team. But fear and intimidation to build a practice-field chain gang?

T.O. IN THE P.M.: In fairness, it must be pointed out: Monday afternoon marked the first revelation of a chink in the Terrell Owens' armor.

Following a largely bit of unsuccessful 7-on-7 work, offensive assistant Todd Haley summoned his players over to another side of the field. Owens, however, did not join the group, choosing, apparently, to register his disgust by taking a knee alongside the defensive players.

And after practice, T.O. remains on the field for a looong time, first engaging in an animated conversation with Haley, and then meeting with Parcells to voice some additional opinions. No predictions of a coming disaster here; just a chink in the armor, that's all.

P.M. OFFBEAT BEAT: Bill Parcells wasn't in an especially jovial mood, but Jerry Jones picked up the slack. While watching practice, he told a story from his playing days at Arkansas. "They had me coverin' kickoffs, and one day a coach asks me, ‘Are you runnin' or are you strollin' down there lookin' for butterflies.''

I believe that's Arkansan for calling somebody "slow-footed.''

P.M. MISCELLANY: I'm told Drew Henson's dad was at practice. And I'm guessing even he didn't like what he saw. … Tight end Sean Ryan and linebacker Junior Glymph exchanged fisticuffs. … Safety Justin Beriault, woozy from a morning hit, sat out practice. … 6-foot-5 safety Patrick Watkins did it again in the evening workout, recording another interception and more praise from coaches. … QB's Drew Bledsoe and Jeff Mroz hooked up in a competition to throw 15-yard passes at targets, flags dangling from poles. They were moderately successful, but got put in their place by offensive coach Chris Palmer. The old-timer needed just one throw to hit the flag. "Yeah,'' Bledsoe cried in mock protest, "but the velocity on yours was like 8 miles per hour.''

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