"I thought he looked quick because I had never seen him (before the injury)," said Campo who was fired as head coach in 2003 just months before Newman was drafted.
But Cowboys coach Wade Phillips knew better and kept telling Campo that Newman didn't look right.
"Wade said he didn't have that same burst. And this was when we thought he was close to 100 percent," Campo said. "Now this past weekend I saw a different guy. He had the burst, the quickness. That's what separates him from a lot of people."
If last Sunday's 14-10 victory against the Redskins is an indication, a healthy Newman is also expected to separate the Cowboys' defense from the one they fielded the first nine games of the season.
Newman, who missed five straight games, returned last week to shut down game-breaking wide receiver Santana Moss. Newman followed Moss all over the field and looked like the like Pro Bowler he was last season.
He had eight tackles, an interception and two pass deflections, one of those on a fourth down in the fourth quarter to kill a Redskins rally.
The Cowboys had hoped to play a lot of press coverage earlier in the season, but that plan was nixed because of Newman's injuries and the suspension of cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. They employed a lot of soft zone coverage, allowing receivers to run wide open in the Cowboys secondary.
With Newman back in action and Jones on his way back from suspension, look for the Cowboys to be more aggressive on defense with man to man and press coverage, starting Sunday against the 49ers.
Jones will return for the Dec. 7 game against the Steelers after missing six games.
"We can make the ball come out if we are pressing," defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. "Or you cause more incompletions and a chance to sack the quarterback because he will hold the ball more."
The Cowboys are already among the league leaders in sacks with 29. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware leads the way with 11.
"It will help the pass rush because it eliminated the quick throws," linebacker Bobby Carpenter said. "You are going to have more time to get there because the quarterback won't have the quick game."
SERIES HISTORY: 25th regular-season meeting. San Francisco leads the series 14-9-1. The Cowboys won the last meeting 34-31 in 2005. The Cowboys have won two of the past three meetings.
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