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Vela Blog on Camp

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Teague31, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Teague31

    Teague31 Defender of the Star

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    One of the more obvious qualities of the Cowboys’ practices is their increased pace. Yesterday I remarked on LB coach Paul Pasqualoni’s brisk position drills. It’s clear today that the entire team is working faster than they did last year. In ‘05, I attended for all of week three. I can say that this year’s overall pace is faster, though today marks the end of week one.

    The Cowboys again wore full pads and had what we might call a medium-hitting practice, where the offensive and defensive linemen got to pound on each other, though tackling of backs and wide receivers was not allowed.

    The drills were more unit-oriented this morning, after Thursdays worked on individual positions. There were no notable personnel changes. Patrick Crayton continues to start in place of Terrell Owens, who worked his sore hammy on an exercise bike for the second consecutive day. Marc Columbo got the lion’s share of reps at first team RT, though Rob Petitti got some as well.

    The offensive line worked on traps and counters. Based on what I’ve seen, we’ll see a lot more movement from the Cowboys linemen. All the Cowboys’ guards worked on leading running backs across the formation and Dallas even used some of its more agile tackles to trap as well. Marc Columbo got some surprise calls.

    The offensive and defensive linemen worked on passing plays, first five on five and then three on three, with a center and one side of the line working against stunts. If Tony Sparano’s demeanor is any indication, the line is well ahead of last year. Sparano has a reputation for being salty and loud, but today he was far quieter, though just as intense. He made minor adjustments but ran his units through plays as rapidly as possible. Rookie Pat McQuistan and backup G Corey Proctor got some encouragement for their work.

    The passing drills on the far field offered more evidence that Tony Romo has the second spot locked up. He was sharp and consistent on a range of throws. If you want a barometer on Romo vs. Henson, consider this. Romo’s outs consistently his his receivers in the hands and led them out of bounds. Henson’s were regularly on the inside armpit. That two to two and a half feet is the difference between a completion and a deflection.

    Then the team went 11-on-11, the drills stressed red-zone execution. In the first, Dallas put the ball at the 20 and faced third and eight, with no time outs at the end of a half. If the play went for less then eight yards the kicking team would have to run onto the field and get off the kick in the fastest possible time. If the play went for more than eight yards, the offense would rush to the line of scrimmage, set and then spike the ball. The kicking team would have more time but was still expected to execute the kick as briskly as possible.

    Parcells then put the ball at the goalline and let his team go full speed, full contact. The starting goalline package today had three tight ends and fullback Lousaka Polite in the backfield. Polite gets the first call as the lead blocker in short yardage and goalline packages, suggesting that he may again stick around past the final cutdowns. The hitting was intense and the plays were roughly split. The offense scored about half the time but the inches were hard to come by. The backs just barely managed to score when they did.

    The longest sequence of the day, the one that ended practice, had the offense start at its own 20, trying to move the ball as far down the field as possible. The plays run were called in from the sideline by radio, as they would be during the regular season and followed a script the coaches put together ahead of time. Parcells kept time and called out the yardage and sitation after each play. For example, after a run on second and three, Parcells estimated that Marion Barber gained a yard and a half after he was touched by Kenyon Coleman and yelled out, “third and one and a half” to the sidelines. The brain trust, led by Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, then consulted their play sheet and called in a play appropriate to the situation. Other assistants called out the formation packages specific to the play and made sure the substitutions worked smoothly.

    The drill was intended to make sure the coaches could handle game pace as well as the players. Parcells constantly questioned his coaches calls, signals and committment to the plays. “What play was that, Tony?” “What does that signal mean, Todd?” he would ask. The drill suggested that Parcells may let Sparano handle play calling duties early in the season.

    The first unit moved the ball efficiently and ended its drive inside the defense’s fifteen. Drew Bledsoe’s squad effectively converted its third down plays while marching down the field. One play of interest came on third and one and a half just shy of mid-field. The offense went to a two tight end, two back, one WR set. It put Jason Witten outside of Anthony Fasano, who in turn set next to RT. FB Lousaka Polite lined up in an offset I, also to the right, giving Dallas a heavy overload to that side. At the snap, LG Kyle Kosier pulled right, adding to Marion Barber’s beefy convoy. Barber gained an easy four yards. If the Cowboys can find a short yardage play like this that works regularly, their offense will be miles ahead of the on-again, off-again short yardage grabbag we’ve seen the past few years.

    The Cowboys finished their work 20 minutes early, leaving the field at 10:42. Their faster pace got them through the tightly scripted work chart sooner than expected. But then, unlike ‘05, this appears to be a team in a hurry. That squad was unsure of what it had, force feeding lots of rookies and free agents. This team seems more concerned with what it can do.

    Overheard today –

    “That number 99 [Chris Canty] he’s what a five technique is supposed to look like.” — unknown Cowboys official observing the d-linemen’s drills

    “You’re way too touchy-feely. Use your hands!” — o-line coach Tony Sparano to his men during a five-on-five pass rushing/blocking drills

    “Hey, it’d be good if you guys tried to score once in a while.” — Bill Parcells to Sparano and the other offensive coaches, objecting to a draw play call when Dallas’ offense was inside the fifteen.”

    Notes:

    – Patrick Crayton continues to take advantage of T.O.’s injury. He’s catching everything in sight. Parcells’ quip that he’s “on fire” was not confined to that practice.

    – The Cowboys spent a lot of time working on punt blocking today, with everybody on the defensive line of scrimmage taking a run at the punter.

    – I don’t know if it’s the cool weather, the fact that Dallas will leave Oxnard next year, T.O. or higher expectations for ‘06, but the crowds are two to three times what they were last year.

    – Eau de Oxnard: one thing I won’t miss are the water trucks that make regular passes over the dirt parking lots just outside the practice fields. I don’t know where they get the water, but it sends the scent of stockyards wafting over practice.
  2. Cochese

    Cochese Benched

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    But I thought that Henson had the golden arm?
  3. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    LOL....I remember this and it is bad!
  4. dmq

    dmq If I'm so pretty, why am I available?

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    One play of interest came on third and one and a half just shy of mid-field. The offense went to a two tight end, two back, one WR set. It put Jason Witten outside of Anthony Fasano, who in turn set next to RT. FB Lousaka Polite lined up in an offset I, also to the right, giving Dallas a heavy overload to that side. At the snap, LG Kyle Kosier pulled right, adding to Marion Barber’s beefy convoy. Barber gained an easy four yards.

    Wow, I like this formation. I like this formation a whole lot. This is why LA is not here. We couldn't do this with him anymore.
  5. Angus

    Angus Active Member

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    Thanks for the post. Good information.
  6. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Great stuff. Just great. Thanks so much. :D
  7. ravidubey

    ravidubey Active Member

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    And think of the play-fakes you could run from that formation.
  8. Screw The Hall

    Screw The Hall Well-Known Member

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    Loved it, thx.
  9. DBoys

    DBoys New Member

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    Hopefully Romo proves he is better in preseason
  10. Cochese

    Cochese Benched

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    Amen. In the end, if either one of these guys proves to be worth a damn, I will be thrilled. I have just had my fill of the Drew Henson hype for the time being, hence my avatar.
  11. DBoys

    DBoys New Member

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    :beer2: to that. I am about sick of Romo vs Henson.
  12. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    What'd I tell you guys Monday after the morning session?
    ...:)...
  13. davidyee

    davidyee Maple Leaf

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    ...on the Drew Henson situation and why he continues to be a focus in the media reports.

    I unfortunately have not been privy to any camps or practice sessions with Henson on the field, but if what people who are writing in these articles are in any way accurate, then much of Drew's problem may be in his lack of ability to telegraph/direct the ball to the point he wants to throw at.

    There was another article that made mention that Parcells felt Henson's elbow location was a precursor to his accuracy problems. Two years ago the coaches changed his throwing motion to correct what was a 3/4s throwing motion. They were trying to get him to throw over the top more and achieve a more traditional release point for accuracy.

    Another camp report says that Henson locks onto his receivers too readily and allows defensive players to get a jump on his throw. The report suggested that the defence this year is expecting to intercept some of his camp throws with calls out like, "Intercept that ball!"

    If this patchwork quilt of interpretations is accurate, the speed of the game may be too fast for Drew and he has to lock onto receivers to overcome his accuracy problems.

    What is expected at the higher of competition is the QB is able to look and make a split second decision and throw the ball to a spot where the receiver will be. It's a routine that is fast and decisive.

    If you have accuracy issues that roll into a cycle of confidence problems you won't be able to function at the speed this game requires.

    Past this camp, if he still at the same level, I don't know how much longer he can stay with the Cowboys. That's both for the good of the Cowboys and his own good. He doesn't seem to be progressing on our team.
  14. superpunk

    superpunk Benched

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    :rolleyes:
  15. Cochese

    Cochese Benched

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    Whats the problem?
  16. mikek3322

    mikek3322 New Member

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    Thanks for the great job blogging these TC's. Please, keep it up! Living right by Philly, I only to get to experience a real training camp vicariously through the 'Boys website and this forum. (I refuse to watch the stinking Eagles camp clips on the news! And you think you get homers in the 'Zone...!)
  17. Cochese

    Cochese Benched

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    Seriously, man, you gotta learn what new and exotic ways we are going to use to beat the dirty pigeons this year so its not a surprise to you.
  18. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    Fatal Flaws???
  19. superpunk

    superpunk Benched

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    The problem, is that there is no hype surrounding Henson. The only place that hype exists, is in the minds of those fans who are so inexplicably opposed to the idea of Henson succeeding, that they view any reports on good progress as hype. Guess what? There haven't even been reports on good progress. There is no hype, but the anti-Henson crowd must claim there is, so they have some reason to speak out against this player who has done nothing but give it his best shot.

    I know what happened. You, and those like you, took a stand. When Henson came in, people were legitimately excited - here we had a blue-chip prospect - what's not to get excited about? But there are those, who care more about "calling it" and having something to flaunt, as if that means a thing, than they care about the Cowboys. So you took your stand; whether your reasoning was (a) He is a failed baseball player. This has not worked before, it's not going to work again. (b) His heart must not be in the game, because his first love was baseball, and he chased the money. (c) I didn't like him at Michigan....or any one of the litany of ******** cracks that people who do not want this guy to succeed have come up with to degrade the player.

    There is no "hype". There never was. There was excitement, and hope. There is "hype" around Pat Watkins - are you sick of that? I wonder what the difference is?

    Give me a break.:rolleyes:
  20. DBoys

    DBoys New Member

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    OUCHIE MOMMA!!

    That's gonna leave a mark :bow:

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