In-depth with Wade

SAN ANTONIO - After the Dallas Cowboys held their first training camp practice, head coach Wade Phillips met the media.

Here is what he had to say:

• Phillips said the team went through its first practice without pads — donning just helmets, jerseys and shorts — in an effort to "get them used to the field, used to moving around." Phillips said that while the players have been running, on their own and in OTAs and mini-camp, they all have to get used to a new field. Phillips said the team will be in pads, and hitting, Thursday.

"I think they're looking forward to that," he said. He said the idea of going through one practice without pads came from former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy.

While the team will don pads for the first time Thursday, Phillips said the Cowboys still won't do a lot of heavy tackling.

"We teach tackling fundamentals," he said, "but we don't want to tackle our own guys. My dad (former NFL head coach Bum Phillips) always said ‘you're more susceptible to injury when you go live.' But the guys will still bump on their way through the line. They have pride, so they're not going to just get out of the way."

• Phillips also said he was pleased with the team's overall conditioning, and said most arrived in excellent shape. He said "pretty much everyone" arrived at — or even below — their target weights, although he would go over the entire team Wednesday night with strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek.

• Some of the Cowboys' offseason focus has centered around whether Roy Williams can sufficiently replace Terrell Owens as the team's No. 1 receiver. After all, owner Jerry Jones has said that the decision to dump Owens in the offseason was made largely to accelerate the progress of Williams.

"Roy has always been a No. 1 receiver," Phillips said. "With that, he's going to get some criticism. What I saw this offseason was that Roy came in two weeks before our offseason (workout program) even began. That showed me that he was committed to being the best player he can be. He's already a tremendous athlete — you can see that."

• Phillips sidestepped when asked if the starting cornerback job opposite Terence Newman was Mike Jenkins' to lose.

"They're alternating there, Jenkins and (Orlando) Scandrick," he said. "In today's game, you need to have three guys, anyway, and with Newman being out as much as he has the last two years, we needed both of them to be ready to start, and they've both got to get ready to start."

• Phillips was visibly relieved when asked about the health of starting LG Kyle Kosier, who returned to the field with his teammates after missing all of the team's mini-camp and OTA sessions with a lingering foot injury.

"He felt good," Phillips said. "I talked to him on the field after practice, and he said he felt good."

• The team rewarded free safety Ken Hamlin with a new contract before last season, and Hamlin played well, but had bouts of inconsistency. Part of the reason, Phillips said, is because he started next to four different strong safeties over the course of the season.

"That certainly makes a difference, playing with different people," Phillips said. "He's kind of our quarterback back there, and he was always having to help a new guy get lined up right, and he played hurt some."

• Phillips admitted that he didn't see much of WR Jesse Holley, the free agent wideout who earned the 80th spot in camp by winning Michael Irvin's reality TV show, 4th and Long. When asked how realistic a shot Holley has of making the team, Phillips said, "how realistic is it for any free agent? Maybe he'll be Tony Romo (and make the team after going undrafted). It looks like he has the talent to play in the NFL. It will take a little while to catch up with the others, but if he's athletic enough, he should catch up."

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