ON THE BATTLE FRONT: At fullback, Deon Anderson, Oliver Hoyte and Lousaka Polite are battling for a roster spot. It could be said this is more a battle about numbers. The three players are competing for two spots, maybe one -- depending on how many tight ends the Cowboys decide to keep.
Hoyte is the returning starter. And although he is still learning the position after moving over from linebacker in the middle of last year, he remains the leader of the pack. He has worked to become an all-around fullback, improving his pass catching and run blocking.
Polite is the sure thing on the roster, considering he has the experience playing the position. He doesn't do anything exceptionally well.
The rookie Anderson just needs more experience. He has all the tools for the position and the proper mental makeup.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Rookie Nick Folk is still keeping the pressure on veteran Martin Gramatica for the place-kicking duties. The team, however, is unlikely to begin a season with Super Bowl hopes with an inexperienced kicker. Ola Dagunduro, Stephen Bowen, Montavious Stanley and Remi Ayodele are fighting against each other and players on other rosters for the backup nose tackle job. The Cowboys need someone to spell starter Jason Ferguson. None of the players on the roster have any legitimate game experience. No one has yet to separate themselves in practice.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: FS Ken Hamlin -- Hamlin is considered the final piece to the puzzle in what the Cowboys believe is a potentially dominant defense. Hamlin, a five-year veteran, is expected to fill the free safety void that has been vacant since Darren Woodson retired in 2004. Six safeties have started opposite Pro Bowl strong safety Roy Williams since 2004 but none to any success. The Cowboys have been looking for a centerfielder and true quarterback of the defense to play next to the hard hitting Williams. The best thing Hamlin will provide is his impact on Williams' game. He will take pressure of calling the plays off of Williams, who has never been a vocal leader. He will also allow Williams to play closer to the line scrimmage where he can maximize his abilities to make plays in the backfield. Williams used too often in deep coverage the past two seasons, which is not his strength. Hamlin has been as good as advertised so far in training camp, according to coach Wade Phillips.
"We ran into a good opportunity to get a good player," Phillips said. "We felt like he was the kind of guy who could fit in. He is real smart. He can be the quarterback of the defense. Plus he can make plays as you have seen in practice. I think he will make more."
ROOKIE REPORT: OT James Marten and OT Doug Free have looked solid so far. But it's safe to say they don't look good. In continuing a long standing offensive line tradition, the two rookies had their heads shaved into bad haircuts by the veterans on the offensive line. ... CB Joey Thomas wasn't a draft pick but he is making the most noise out of the rookie cornerbacks. Thomas drew cheers from the crowd at the Alamodome for a pass deflection while covering receiver Terrell Owens.
INJURY REPORT: CB Alan Ball is out indefinitely after suffering a sprained left knee. The Cowboys have not yet revealed the results of a magnetic resonance imaging exam taken on Saturday.
--WR Terry Glenn is out at least two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee
--WR Jamaica Rector remains sidelined with shin splints. It's a complication from the Lisfranc foot injury he suffered last season in college at Washington. The Cowboys expect him to be cleared to play in another week.
--RB Alonzo Coleman has yet to practice because of a sprained ankle. Time is now running out on the undrafted free agent rookie who can't get on the field to show the Cowboys that he is worth keeping around.
--LB Greg Ellis still is bothered by bursitis in his left heel. But he is getting better and he is running more in practice. The Cowboys are encouraged he will be ready for the season opener.
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