Friday Insider Notes from Training Camp

SAN ANTONIO – Why was Mat McBriar staying after practice attempting to punt the ball toward the jumbotron hanging from the Alamodome ceiling?

"Welcome to our laboratory experiment,'' owner Jerry Jones told me.

Jones supervised McBriar's skyrocketing boots in order to help determine how high up the jumbotron will need to be hung from the new Cowboys stadium in Arlington ceiling. They had the range-finders out there --- used for golf – and they had the mayor of San Antonio out there and they had a mob of befuddled reporters out there ("What're they doin'?'') and it was all very scientific.

McBriar never did clang one against the scoreboard. Still, you've got a piece of exclusive trivia as it relates to the new stadium. And the Cowboys employ maybe the greatest weapon in the world with which to conduct such an experiment: Mat McBriar's leg.

WHO'S HOT: If you had to pick a starting fullback right now, an assistant whispered to me, you'd pick Oliver Hoyte. Hoyte is the most physical of the three candidates, seems athletic enough, and he opened Friday's full-contact by de-cleating defender Anthony Spencer.

WHO'S NOT: The mainstream media keeps writing about it, and Greg Ellis keeps whining about it, but the Cowboys have no plans to discuss a fattened contract with him.

"Greg's under contract,'' Stephen Jones says. "That's the long and the short of it.''

As we've written in this space often, attempts at renegotiations are always about leverage. A Greg Ellis limping around in gym shorts does not represent "leverage,'' and it is frankly bizarre that the veteran does not realize that.

OFFBEAT BEAT: Hit of the day (and there were a lot of ‘em) came on a 7-on-7 drill that did not call for full contact. Terry Glenn ran a skinny post, caught the ball, and was buried by Roy Williams. The two shook hands afterwards.

Meanwhile, on the sideline, former stud Cowboys safety James Washington (now doing radio in LA) could only shake his head. (And maybe salivate just a little bit.) You see, back in the day, Washington would hit Michael Irvin like that, illegally, and it would trigger a high-emotion fight. And later, he'd tell me that it was all orchestrated, all on purpose, just to pick up the camp's pace.

None of that here. Just handshakes.

QUOTABLE: "Some guys have told me that I stole (playoff) money from them, but maybe this year I can help them make some of it back.'' – Ken Hamlin, the Seahawk-turned-Cowboy who was a part of Seattle 's postseason victory over Dallas last year.

FISHELLANEOUS: Once back home, the Cowboys plan to get some joint-session work in against the visiting Broncos as the teams prepare for their Aug. 18 preseason game. … Backup QB Brad Johnson looked very shaky in the Thursday afternoon session (picked off by Junior Glymph and Joey Thomas, the cornerback who is off to a good start here) and didn't fare much better Friday. He struggled to find the timing on deep balls and on one little curl pass was intercepted by Kenny Hamlin. … Unheralded free-agent cornerback Joey Thomas is doing everything right in his bid to make an impact. In passing drills he's surviving the challenge of handling the likes of Terry Glenn. Against the run, he initiated rough contact with ball-carrier Jackie Battle purely for the fun of it. … Terrell Owens heard a mixture of hoots and cheers on the couple of passes he dropped. … Roy Williams got in some work at the nickelback, lining up nearer the line of scrimmage on the strong side. For the millionth time, that DOES NOT mean Roy is a linebacker. But you watch, somebody will write that… Anthony Spencer did some work as an OLB with the first-team defense.

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