Thursday Notebook: Who's Hot? Who's Not

OXNARD, Calif. - News and notes on second year lineman Rob Petitti and the situation at right tackle, as well T.O.'s sore hamstring and much more in Thursday's notebook!

PM WHO'S HOT? With Bill Parcells suggesting he already had a plan concerning the right tackle position earlier in the day, many in Oxnard are wondering just what that plan may be.

Early indications are that Big Bill is becoming ever more comfortable with second-year man Rob Petitti, who has shown considerable improvement not only in his physique, but in his ability to consistently understand his role and his assignments.

Veteran Marc Colombo is also turning heads, which has been documented by several media outlets in the last 24 hours, but Petitti's emergence should not be ignored.

In fact, it could be said that Petitti, who started 16 games last season, has dramatically improved his stock in just a short period of time.

"From a mental perspective, I've gotten a lot stronger since I was a rookie," Petitti said. "That's been the biggest difference, but I've also worked hard and I think it's shown out here and during the offseason. I know what it takes now and I think I have more respect (from my teammates)."

What this means for Jason Fabini remains to be seen, but from what has seen, camp is not going well for the veteran tackle.

In addition, it's also important to not get too caught up with news concerning which players are playing on the first team, second team, etc.

Despite reports coming out indicating certain players are being moved around from day to day, Parcells has made it crystal clear this first week has been all about trying out every combination possible to, "see what works."

Still, if the regular season started today, one would have to wonder where Fabini would exactly fit into the mix at right tackle.

PM WHO'S NOT? Okay, we all know why Mike Vanderjagt was brought to Dallas: to make the field goals that Suisham/Cortez/Cundiff couldn't make last year. Bottomline: if Vandy would have played in Dallas last year, the Cowboys probably win the NFC East.

And yes, for the most part he's been consistent through the early stages of training camp (3-of-4 Thursday), despite missing Wednesday with the flu.

However, it has become crystal clear he's not the man when it comes to kickoffs and if things continue down their current path, the Cowboys will have a decision to make with recently signed kickoff specialist/punter Tyler Fredrickson.

As reported in this space earlier in the week, Fredrickson has a booming leg and he showed it again today as the majority of kickoffs made it at least to the goal line, if not deeper.

What do you say Bill? Three roster spots on two kickers and a punter? Wonder if this puts additional heat on Mat McBriar? We'll see.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This defense is so much farther ahead than where we were last year. Guys are flying around the ball, making plays and we are all on the same page every play." - CB Anthony Henry on the play of the Cowboys' defense through the first week of training camp.

T.O. IN THE PM: Wide receiver Terrell Owens missed Thursday's practice with a sore left hamstring.

Owens spent approximately 13 minutes talking with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as he rode a stationary bike on the sidelines. The nature of that conversation we are told was "nothing exciting."

Owens may miss Friday morning's practice session as well but spent a considerable amount of time after practice working with undrafted free agent WR Sam Hurd, who has looked strong through the first week of camp.

DID YOU FORGET? One of the biggest keys to the upcoming season, as documented in the latest issue of The Ranch Report Magazine, is the relationship between T.O. and Drew Bledsoe.

The good news is that after one week of camp, everything appears to be headed on the right track.

Owens told reporters on Wednesday, "Every day is a day of improvement. If we take a step back, we go back to the drawing board and we try to correct our mistakes and build on those the next day."

Indeed for the most part, T.O. has been on his best behavior, but with the offense struggling to sustain anything against a very impressive defensive unit, you have to wonder how long he can keep it up.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Patrick Crayton made a brilliant catch over Aaron Glenn on a fly pattern downfield in one-on-one drills. Crayton later made another strong touchdown catch in traffic as the team practiced in the redzone.

QUICK HITS: Offensively, the Cowboys looked better today than any other day in camp ... which is not saying much but Thursday did show significant improvement compared to earlier in the week. ... S Justin Beriault missed his fourth day of practice after being hit in the head and suffering a concussion. ... The team returns to practice twice Friday before going through the first scrimmage of training camp on Saturday. ... Marcus Coleman had a diving interception that sent the defense into a "tizzy."

NEXT TO BE CUT: We'll go out on a very short limb and say that QB Jeff Mroz is on the chopping block, followed by K Shaun Suisham.

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