Old Folks Revival — Practice Report, Monday Morning, August 7th By Rafael Vela Some of the older hands might remember the famous episode of the ’80s TV show Dallas that re-introduced Bobby Ewing. The star playing Bobby had left in a contract dispute and the show had killed him off. When the actor came back a year later the writers had to figure out how to work him back into the plot, after episodes of being “dead.” Their cheesy solution had wife Pam finding Bobby in the shower. After telling Bobby she thought he was gone forever, he assures her, “it was all a bad dream, Pam. It was only a dream.” I thought of Bobby Ewing this morning, after reading the panicked comments from the scrimmage thread and watching Flozell Adams look more like his old self in the early practice. Repeat after me ‘Boys Bloggers – it was only a dream. Flozell’s not done. It was just a bad dream. That was the main story of a session that saw several veterans step forward while several promising rookies took a step back on their learning curves. While Adams, Marco Rivera and the rest of their offensive line mates took a step forward, Anthony Fasano, Bobby Carpenter and Montavious Stanley looked fuzzy headed. Fasano shows great hands but took some lumps in pass blocking drills. Stanley was a speed bump for an inside running game that had its best showing all camp. Carpenter lacked the sharpness and aggression he flashed Saturday. After their normal walkthrough and stretching the Cowboys broke into unit drills. Today, however, the offense and defense matched up much sooner than usual. The o-linemen worked with the d-linemen in one-on-one pass blocking drills. For the most part, the offense looked good. Marco Rivera got the better of Jay Ratliff, running him into the turf. Ratliff bounced back and beat Jason Fabini inside a play later. Fabini looks vulnerable to inside counter moves and I wonder if he’s regained full strength in his injured pectoral muscle? On the left side, Flozell Adams rode Chris Canty wide consistently and Pat McQuistan stalemated Jason Hatcher, who tried to beat him with a bull rush. On the far field, the tight ends and outside linebackers squared off in a one-one-one pass rushing drill. The TEs and F-back Lousaka Polite were consistent at taking away the inside option and driving their opponents wide. The exception was Fasano, who sometimes squared up and left the rusher beat him outside. The groups then merged in what we might call a broken-line run blocking drill. The right tackle and tight end would line up wide against a defensive end and outside linebacker. Parcells would stand behind the defenders and signal the blocking assignments to the offensive players. Parcells would repeat the drills if he felt the offensive blockers lacked pop or technique. He didn’t have to re-run plays often. The blockers on the right side were effective, though Rob Petitti drew some criticism for leaving his feet on a block. The drama came on the left side, where Fasano was blocking with Flozell Adams. Parcells was dissatisfied with Fasano’s push and told him, “I want you on this side [of the line of scrimmage] Anthony.” He then yelled to Jason Hatcher, “you’re going to be double teamed, Hatcher,” to raise the bar a little for Fasano. While Fasano struggled, Adams looked more far more fluid. He turned his ends on run blocks intended to go outside. He got a push on straight ahead plays. When the squad went 11-on-11 Adams continued his improved play. He maintained his good pushes and ended his first series of the drill with a successful trap block on the nose tackle. The improved run blocking continued when the second units clashed and at the end of the drill Parcells turned to his offensive units and said, “now we’re making some progress.” That progress continued into the passing drills, where the protection tightened up considerably compared to Saturday’s scrimmage. Adams handled Canty and Hatcher outside. The interior blocking was tougher. There was some leakage on the right edge and if you want something to follow, track RT Marc Colombo’s pass blocking. He seems to have trouble with speed rushes outside. Again, I would caution everybody not to panic. It’s not clear to me that Columbo has the starting job. If the season started this weekend, I’d bet on Rob Petitti getting the call. I think Colombo is getting an extended chance to see what he can do. Even with the better protection, the QBs had trouble completing passes. I have not remarked much on them, but the secondary is making things sticky for the Cowboys receivers. Drew Bledsoe got untracked by going to his old reliable Jason Witten, first on an out and then on a seam between the layers of the defensive zone. Tony Romo did the same with Tony Curtis, who continues to look active in live play. Overall, the session was enough to wipe away the bad feelings of Saturday. Think good thoughts Cowboys fans; the protection breakdowns two days ago were all a bad dream. (fingers crossed behind back) Notes: WR Sam Hurd got some reps with the first team in the final drill. He made a good catch but was later sent from the field by Parcells for a weak run block. Corey Proctor will likely make the team as the backup guard. He was strong in the run drills and got some encouragement from Parcells. He took reps at both the left and right guard positions. My prediction for the final OL squad, barring injuries is: Adams, Kosier, Gurode, Rivera, Petitti at starters, with McQuistan, Proctor and Johnson as backups. Marc Columbo and Jason Fabini will fight it out for the last tackle spot. Columbo has the edge right now but both have flaws in their games. It’s the little things, part 843. The Cowboys had a two minute drill near the end of practice today. The offense would pass the ball ten to fifteen yards down the field and the wide receivers would practice finding the offical and calling time out. Sam Hurd was chastised for not calling time out on the first play. Two plays later he again made a reception and signed with his hands. “Did you call time out?” Parcells asked him. “Yes coach, I did,” said Hurd. “Then why didn’t I hear you?” was the reply. Hurd had neglected to yell time while he signaled. Mike Vanderjagt keeps pushing his kicks. Three of his four attempts today missed. All sailed a foot or so wide right. Vanderjagt was pushing the ball this way last week, even when he was kicking alone off a tee. Emerging from the shadows? Undrafted rookie Oliver Hoyte got some heavy reps with the second team defense today. He had a reputation as a run stuffer at N.C. State but he’s shown fluid movement and depth on his pass drops.