Camp Cowboys Top 10 Observations: Day 6
Scouting assistant Rich Behm and his view of training camp.
9. Again, we're seeing tons of the two tight-end formation when the Cowboys work on Red Zone (inside the 20) offense. Tony Romo's eyes light up when he talks about the possibilities. He obviously trusts Bennett. For the record, the Cowboys call it their "12" package - for 1 running back, 2 tight ends. Says Wade Phillips, "Martellus keeps showing up, every day. He doesn't have to progress any more, just keep playing the way he's playing."
8. Haven't seen the full-fledged "Razorback" formation in camp, but this morning Tashard Choice ran right on a sweep and cocked his arm to throw. Receiver Patrick Crayton was covered, but put that in your pocket for future reference.
7. Second-year defensive back Alan Ball had two interceptions in the morning, including a pick of Romo in the end zone.
6. News flash: DeMarcus Ware is a monster. No player in the NFL has more sacks since '05 and this camp the linebacker is five pounds heavier yet seemingly somehow quicker. He routinely turns Flozell Adams and Marc Columbo into traffic cones. Phillips has even started comparing Ware to Lawrence Taylor. Yes, he's that good. And, update, he remains unsigned for next season.
5. Receiver Sam Hurd has made some of the best catches in camp. But last night on live TV he made the biggest gaffe. Hurd, from San Antonio, is "working" as a correspondent for local NBC affiliate WOAI. During his "Sam Cam" segments, he signs off with "Sam I am ... the greatest reporter of all time." But during a Sunday night appearance interviewing Choice, Hurd got carried away with his role in a Forrest Gump re-enactment. "Gump, God dammit!" Hurd screamed. Host Don Harris - long the voice of The Ticket's old "Coach Tom Foolery" - was aghast. The FCC likely will not be pleased. But I giggled.
4. It took exactly six days for Jones' humility to expire. After arriving at camp with modest goals honed from years of "pulling back nubs after pointing toward high expectations," Jones is already uncuffing his optimism. "Whatever high hopes we had last year," Jones says, "should be transferred to this year." Really? Because a year ago we were writing "Super Bowl or bust" and Jerry was nodding in agreement.
3. Last player signing autographs - again - today was Jesse Holley. He's shown nothing in the way of making this team, but give the guy credit for milking his experience.
2. Not that they'd condone gambling - yeah, right - but the Cowboys are partnering with the Texas Lottery on special $5 scratch-off tickets. Awards include cash prizes up to $100,000, 20 suite tickets to a game at Cowboys Stadium or access to the team's draft-day war room. The lottery expects the promotion to generate $10 million. And, again, spending money in hopes of getting lucky and winning more money isn't gambling. Right?
1. Roy Williams' sketchy camp got jolted with cobwebs this morning, courtesy of a hit from cornerback Orlando Scandrick. As Williams sashayed across the middle on a slant pattern, Scandrick met him and the ball simultaneously, sending Ball a deflected interception and rocketing the receiver's helmet to the turf. Williams appeared to need a standing eight count. "I never intend to get hit in practice," Williams said sheepishly after the workout. Huh? With the Cowboys in full pads Phillips mandates 3/4 speed with wrapping up, but not tackling to the ground. During the glory years of the early '90s, safety James Washington used to try to spice up a lull in camp with a cheap shot on receiver Michael Irvin - or perhaps vice-versa. The resulting scrum indeed ratcheted up the intensity. But Williams' response? Two plays later - with his chinstrap still unbuckled - he dropped a similar slant pass from Romo. This time, Williams heard the footsteps of rookie Mike Mickens. Ouch. Williams got his revenge on Mickens in the afternoon, effortlessly plucking an alley-oop pass over the cornerback in the corner of the end zone.