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Mon. Practice Report: Criticism Not A Problem For Rookie WR

Posted Jul 29, 2013


OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys continued their 2013 training camp Monday after the weekend scrimmage. This year, Jason Garrett’s new schedule gives even more time between the lighter morning walk-through and the afternoon practice.

Each night, DallasCowboys.com will feature the second practice of the day with the big news, the highs and lows and notable standouts.

Main Story:

“Terrance!”

Rookie receiver Terrance Williams quickly recognized Tony Romo’s voice after the quarterback had to duck and run when he couldn’t find an open target. In case Romo wasn’t audible, tight end Jason Witten walked off the field, saying, ‘Come on, guys, you’ve got to know what to run.’

Williams said Romo and Witten won’t let him get away with anything, and Williams appreciates hearing it. That time, Williams clearly didn’t run the right route.

“That was my first time seeing that play, and I had to just go in, and again they hold me accountable,” Williams said. “They expect me to do really good, to just always know what I’m doing, and I could have scored that play, but they still would have been mad at me, because I didn’t know what I was doing. I have to go back and continue studying this playbook some more.”

Williams likes the critiquing. He said he knows his capabilities and what kind of player he is, and now it’s a matter of making plays and getting his teammates to trust him.

“Mostly, it’s constructive criticism,” Williams said. “It’s something that I just take for a mental note, and I try not to make the same mistakes twice, because I hate making those guys mad. They tell me something once, I do it.”

From the 1-on-1 drills to the team drills and two-minute periods, Williams seems to understand the offense and get comfortable more and more each day. He said it’s nice having Romo throwing to him as well, because in addition to the quarterback’s intelligence, he also puts the ball consistently in a location where he won’t leave the receiver out to dry.

Mostly, though, he likes having individual leaders on offense in Romo, Witten and fellow wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to help guide him.

“When bad plays happen, just let it go,” Williams said. “When you mess up, you come to the sideline, communicate from the stuff with what they’ve seen from me and different ways they can help me to be successful. That’s something I pay close attention to. During meetings and film, they tell me the same thing. During night time, during film sessions and stuff, I take what they tell me.”

Head coach Jason Garrett said he’d rather have a player like Williams than one who comes in and thinks he knows everything immediately.

“He’s one of those guys you can coach hard and keep coaching him hard, and that’s a good thing,” Garrett said. “I think he’s understanding better and better how to take coaching and when you coach him hard, it’s in his best interest. He’s really been receptive to Coach (Derek) Dooley and what we’re trying to get across to him, and you see him getting better and better each day.

“We put him in these situations and really day in and day out he’s made the big catch to give us the first down to allow us to kick the field goal. He’s done it three or four days in a row. I think he’s getting more and more confident each and every day. Obviously, he has a long ways to go.”

Quick Hits:

  • New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi was the latest big name to show up at Cowboys training camp. Girardi was in town to watch the afternoon practice, as the Yankees start a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
  • Girardi, who is a friend of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, spoke to the team for roughly 10 minutes after practice. Running back DeMarco Murray said Girardi’s message was about cohesiveness and team unity, from the all-star veterans to those struggling for a roster spot.
  • Guard Ronald Leary returned to practice after participating in morning walkthrough. Leary worked primarily on the left side for the second string, though he did get some work in place of Nate Livings on the first string.
  • Dez Bryant attended practice and participated in pre-practice workouts, but he did not join the full practice.
  • Barry Church also sat out after missing the morning walkthrough following a root canal. Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox started alongside Will Allen in his place, which the youngster said was thrilling.
  • When the afternoon concluded, the entire defensive backs unit and their coaches did 20 pushups. Wilcox said the pushups were punishment for not forcing a turnover during the full-team portion of practice. He said the total will go up for every day there isn’t a turnover – just another sign of the increased focus on turnovers.
  • Corners Orlando Scandrick and Sterling Moore both continued impressive showings during training camp with lockdown performances during individual drills. Scandrick stole the early sessions when he went up against Eric Rogers and ripped a potential touchdown catch away. When he got up he yelled “Complain about that Orton,” at the second-string quarterback, who had thrown the pass.
  • As promised by Garrett, rookie center Travis Frederick continued to get some reps at right guard, working alongside Phil Costa at center.

Notable Standouts:

Caleb McSurdy: The second-team linebacker showed up in a big way Monday evening during team drills. McSurdy dropped into coverage against Tony Romo, who tossed a pass over the middle of the field into coverage. McSurdy picked it off and broke for the sideline, gaining 20 or so yards before a frustrated Romo pushed him out of bounds.

Miles Austin: Austin stepped up again without Bryant as the No. 1 receiver. In red zone drills, of which there have been many in the past week, Austin made a handful of nifty catches for touchdowns. More impressive than his hands was Austin’s route-running, as his cuts left several different corners – including Brandon Carr – grasping at air.

Jason Witten: It can be easy to forget about Witten in the sense that you just kind of expect him to be spectacular. He’s been the model of consistency throughout camp, and he’s usually Romo’s go-to guy when the offense is in need of a play or has had a bad run of snaps. On Monday, he showed off in an area he hopes to improve on, as he brought down a leaping touchdown grab over linebacker Sean Lee, who was none too pleased.

Play of the Day:

It seems like Ernie Sims was an afterthought among Cowboys fans and media when the team reported to camp, but he isn’t playing like one. Sims has been all over the field this week and has even earned his way into the starting lineup at times. He continued the good form Monday when he met Murray in the hole during full team drills. Sims got the tackle, and he also stripped the starting running back, leading to a recovery by defensive end DeMarcus Ware. Given how rarely the Cowboys’ backs have fumbled at training camp, it was definitely a memorable play.

Photos from Monday's afternoon practice >>

Injury Report:

Returned to Practice:
LS L.P. Ladouceur (calf)
G Ron Leary (calf)

Missed Practice:
WR Cole Beasley (knee)
WR Dez Bryant (quad soreness)
DE Cameron Sheffield (groin)
OT Jermey Parnell (hamstring)
DE Anthony Spencer (knee)
WR Danny Coale (knee swelling)
DT Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (ankle)
TE James Hanna (hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles)
DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)
G Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring)
OT Demetress Bell (conditioning)

Transactions:

July 21 – Signed T Demetress Bell, QB Alex Tanney and Lavasier Tuinei. Placed G Mackenzy Bernadeau and DT Jay Ratliff on the active/physically unable to perform list and placed the following players on the active/non-football injury list: T Demetress Bell, C/G Ryan Cook, LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur, G Ronald Leary, G Nate Livings and WR Lavasier Tuinei.

July 23 – C/G Ryan Cook passed his physical and returned to practice.

July 24 – Released WR Lavasier Tuinei. Signed DT Landon Cohen and DE George Selvie.

July 26 – G Nate Livings passed his physical and returned to practice.

July 29 – LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur and Ronald Leary passed their physicals and returned to practice.

Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, July 30
10:30 a.m. (PDT)         Walk-Thru
12:00 p.m. (PDT)         Coach Garrett press conference
4:00 p.m. (PDT)           Practice

Wednesday, July 31
                                    No practice

Photos from Monday's afternoon practice >>

Image Map