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News: DC.com: Friday's Notebook

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Friday's Notebook: Vinny, Keyshawn Together Again

    Erin Bolen

    DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
    Aug. 6, 2004, 6:13 p.m. (PDT)

    OXNARD, Calif. -- One of the most important things in football is for a quarterback to be comfortable with his receivers, so it's a good thing off-season acquisitions Keyshawn Johnson and Vinny Testaverde are already familiar with each other.

    Johnson and Testaverde played together for two seasons with the New York Jets, leading the team to into the AFC championship game in 1998. And although Testaverde got hurt early in 1999, the two still had enough time to establish a solid rapport.

    "The chemistry is still there," said Johnson. "He's the only quarterback that I would allow to correct me at all. He's the one guy who's ever done that who I've never said anything back to. Most of the times, you see quarterbacks on TV screaming and yelling at receivers when a lot of the times things are their fault more than the receivers. But Vinny isn't that type of guy. "

    In many ways, Johnson is a different player than his first time around with Testaverde. After a falling out with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden in 2003, the three-time Pro Bowler was inactive for the final six games of the season.

    The time off has led to a little bit of rust on the wheels, prompting head coach Bill Parcells to say, "We've got to get Keyshawn down to ACE Hardware for some Rustoleum."

    Johnson agrees, but he feels that he's beginning to get back to his old self.

    "I can see where he says there's rust on me," said Johnson. "But I can also see that rust starting to chip away. I'm getting more and more comfortable, and some the bad habits I've had in the past are starting to slip away getting back to this style of offense."

    A Free Shot

    Recently the Cowboys ran through what to do in a free-kick scenario. Although free kicks are exceedingly rare, Parcells wants the team to be prepared for every possible situation. Running back Eddie George was not even aware of what the Cowboys were doing lining up for the free kick.

    There is a little-known NFL rule which allows the receiving team to attempt a free kick after fair-catching a punt from anywhere on the field, and even if time has run off the clock at the end of a half or the game. The teams set up in a kick-off formation, and the kicker uses a holder rather than a tee to attempt a field goal.

    Five years ago, the Cowboys lost the opportunity to try a free kick against Atlanta. With the Cowboys leading 10-0 and no time left on the clock in the first half, the Cowboys downed a fair catch at the Falcons 47-yard line. Then head coach Chan Gailey ran the team to the locker room, assuming that since time had expired, he could not try for the free kick.

    After the game, Gailey admitted that he was not clear on the rule's idiosyncrasies and should have attempted a free kick. The Cowboys won the game 24-7.

    Jumping on the Bandwagon
    Second year linebacker Keith O'Neil made last year's team primarily as a special teams player, but Parcells sees great improvement in him as a linebacker prospect.

    "He's going to be pretty good," said Parcells. "I told him today that he should get on his knees every night and thank God that they put Dat Nguyen here for him to watch. I said you've got a perfect role model right in front of you. It couldn't be any better for the guy. Not just how [Nguyen] plays, but how he prepares, how he studies, how he trains, how he does everything. You've got a perfect teacher. I don't have to teach him anything. All you've got to do is watch, and he's taken advantage. He is light years ahead of where he was as a player last year."

    Tempers Flare


    The first minor skirmish of the summer erupted when rookie defensive end Ryan Wingrove and veteran tackle Kurt Vollers came to blows after a play. The two got tangled up Friday morning, with each landing a fist to the other's helmet. The fracas was quickly broken up by their teammates, and Parcells admonished them for swinging bare-handed at someone's helmet.

    Hothead

    Antonio Bryant got a little fed up with not being fed passes during Friday afternoon's practice. During the special situations part of practice, Bryant yelled, "I guess I'm just running for my health over here" after Testaverde threw a pass to a covered Zuriel Smith instead of Bryant. Later, during team drills, Bryant slammed his helmet down on the ground after he felt he was overlooked once again.

    Two-Minute Timing

    The situation of the afternoon was the two-minute drill. The Cowboys ran through several different scenarios with the offense to familiarize them with working up the field quickly. About 20 minutes of the two-hour practice was dedicated to these drills.

    Short Shots

    Saturday's stand-up scrimmage will be far more substantial that last Tuesday's scrimmage, as Parcells hopes to run 80 to 90 plays . . . Testaverde has already begun to work with Bryant individually, picking up on the receiver's pass-catching tendencies . . . Other special situations the Cowboys worked on included getting the receivers out of bounds quickly after a catch, Hail Mary passes and setting up good field goal position . . . Rookie cornerback Nathan Jones intercepted a pass during the two-minute drill exercises, which earned him an earful from Parcells because he didn't want the defense playing the ball . . . Terry Glenn continued to have a nice day, making several diving catches around cornerback Terence Newman . . . During the kickoff drill, cornerback Bruce Thornton jumped offsides and was immediately chastised by special teams coach Bruce DeHaven . . . Among the players returning kicks were Zuriel Smith, Bruce Thornton, Patrick Crayton, Julius Jones, Aveion Cason, Nathan Jones, Dedric Ward and Terrance Copper . . . Recent pick-up Dedric Ward dropped two passes during team drills on Friday afternoon.
  2. jimmy40

    jimmy40 Well-Known Member

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    I've never been a big Dat fan but he was great in the 3-4 in college.

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