Trick shot: Remember those commercials where a center snapped a ball down the aisle of a grocery store and landed it in a shopping cart? Or the video clips of a guy snapping a football the length of a basketball court and into the net? Those guys have nothing on Dallas deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur. Before the start of Sunday afternoon's practice, he was warming up with P Mat McBriar. The two lined up 10 yards apart and facing each other. Ladouceur bent down, and snapped the ball, holding on to the ball so long that his arms went through his legs and he fired it forward over his own head to McBriar — perfect strike. If he tried it in a game, the list of broken rules would be lengthy, but it was still pretty amazing to watch.
Got 'em covered: The first 20 minutes of practice were spent working on kickoff coverage and blocking. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis shuttled in two coverage teams as a JUGS machine fired balls downfield. Consistently getting downfield first from the first unit were WR Sam Hurd, FS Patrick Watkins, WR Miles Austin, LB Justin Rogers and LB Bobby Carpenter. With the second-team unit, the fastest guys downfield included S Courtney Brown, LB Matt Stewart and S DeAngelo Smith.
Welcome to my house: Among the visitors at Sunday's practice was new Texas-San Antonio head coach Larry Coker.
Spin doctors: The offensive linemen went through a drill in which a blocker would get in front of another lineman who was emulating a defensive lineman and going through a series of spin moves to get around him. Guards Montrae Holland and Greg Isdaner were remarkably quick as they spun against their blockers — Isdaner even got "into the backfield" several times.
The blockers were instructed by offensive line coach Hudson Houck to maintain a stable base with their back as upright as possible, shuffle their feet back and forth as quickly as possible to stay in front of the would-be pass rusher and deliver a series of punches with their hands — blows that have to be powerful and very quick, so they can keep their hands free to fire deliver the next ones. Holland and LT Doug Free were singled out for praise for their active feet and strong, powerful punch-blocks.
Proctor's gamble: One of the most entertaining drills in training camp is when offensive linemen and defensive linemen go head-to-head in drills. Backup RT Pat McQuistan held his own against OLB Anthony Spencer, and DE Jason Hatcher and OG Ryan Gibbons split their head-to-head matchups. DE Marcus Dixon struggled when he got locked up with big OLs, but fared well when he relied on pure speed to shoot around the edge. The most impressive performance was turned in by backup C Cory Proctor, who, on consecutive plays, locked horns with NTs Junior Siavii and Jonas Seawright. Both times, Proctor was able to fight off his opponent's initial charge, shake him off-balance and then plant him, face-first, into the turf.
Stunt men: The drill then morphed into group assignments, as two defensive linemen would rush the passer simultaneously. Spencer and NT Jay Ratliff criss-crossed in a twist stunt and both blazed past RG Leonard Davis and RT Marc Colombo, but OG Gibbons and LT Flozell Adams reclaimed some pride for the offense, stopping OLB DeMarcus Ware and DE Stephen Bowen in their tracks.
Tank's not empty: Several players have said they are surprised by the power still evident in backup QB Jon Kitna's arm. The Cowboys' new second-string signal caller showed off his gun Sunday, firing a number of strikes on intermediate- and long-range passes, including one heave of 65 yards that hit WR Kevin Ogletree streaking into the end zone. Moments later, he fired a 40-yard laser of a pass into double coverage, hitting WR Miles Austin right on the numbers.
Aim high: The size and leaping ability WR Roy Williams brings to the offense have been talked about since the day Dallas acquired him last year from Detroit. Williams showed just how valuable that can be Sunday, when QB Tony Romo fired a very high pass to the sideline. Williams out-leaped S Courtney Brown and stretched out his arms to snag the pass, which was so high that either Williams would catch it or it would sail out of bounds. Brown had great defensive position, but there are few — if any — DBs in the entire NFL who could have intercepted the ball or even knocked it away … maybe 6-foot-5 Dallas FS Patrick Watkins, but Williams doesn't have to worry about him.
Hit of the day: The play seemed basic enough, as RB Tashard Choice swung out into the flat on the right side to catch a quick screen pass. As he turned upfield and accelerated, though, CB Alan Ball chased him … until TE Martellus came back and blasted Ball so hard he left his feet and landed shoulder pads first on the turf.
Sunday evening practice insider
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