Camp Notes: Injury Front Turns Partly Cloudy

Position: Tight End Height/Weight: 6-6, 255
Age: 22
College: Houston
NFL Exp: Rookie
How Acquired: FA for '07
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.

Fitting In: With Jason Witten and Anthony Fasano already solidified as the top tight ends on the depth chart, Hannah's competing for the third tight end job. He'll also need to play well on special teams. Because he has even little college experience playing tight end, Hannah might become a great candidate for the practice squad.
So Far: Hannah is doing well catching the ball in San Antonio, but as he'll tell you, his blocking needs to improve. The former basketball player also needs to work on running his routes.
Best Asset: Athleticism. Hannah is the tallest tight end on the team at 6-6, but he is as quick as any player at the position and has very good hands for a big man.
You Should Know: Hannah had three varsity letters in basketball at the University of Houston before switching to football fulltime as a senior. With NFL teams looking for the next Antonio Gates, a basketball crossover star, he'll get a good look in the pros.
A Mouthful: "In high school I played receiver - going from a receiver's stance to a tight end stance and coming off the ball is really different than what I'm used to and that's been my main transition. - On the toughest part of getting back into football after three years away from the game. -Josh Ellis

Hurd First

After Terry Glenn's knee discomfort forced him to leave practice Sunday, second-year receiver Sam Hurd took over his receiver position with the first-team offense, perhaps a surprise to some, since Patrick Crayton has a stronghold on the third receiver job.

"I'm really the backup at T.O.'s position but I can backup anybody since I know every position," Hurd said. "Whenever anybody goes down and they ask me to move up, I'm going to move up - but it's not taking anything away from Patrick. I acknowledge Patrick is the three."

By not moving Crayton, the Cowboys were able to keep things simple, instead of having to make two changes when they went to their three-receiver sets. Hurd even made a nice play in Glenn's stead, jumping over cornerback Anthony Henry down the middle of the field for a 20-yard completion from Tony Romo.

But while Hurd knows his role, he's always ready to climb the depth chart.

"Oh I'm ready to move up, I'm ready to be No. 1," he said. "But I've always got to stay humble. The only thing I can do is go out there and show what I can do. When it's my time it's my time, but I'm very patient."

Mixed Reps

For the first time during camp, rookie James Marten worked some with the first-team offensive line at right tackle.

With starter Marc Colombo rehabbing an off-season knee scope, four-year veteran Jim Molinaro has been taking all the first-team snaps, beginning with the first two practices of camp, which Marten missed, having still not signed a contract.

Marten didn't exactly take over for Molinaro, though, since coaches kept the two rotating, but it was at the very least his first chance to work against some better defensive players.

"My message to him is that there's urgency," offensive line coach Tony Sparano said. "And every rep you take right now with Flo and Marc being out, it's a rep closer to us maybe winning a championship, getting a little bit better here.

"We just need to see people, all the pieces and I wanted to see what Jimmy would do. It's important to throw a rookie in there and see what he does. We need to see as many combinations as we can."

Out Loud

Wade Phillips' defense is different from Bill Parcells' defense in many ways, most of which you can see for yourself, but only one of which you can hear.

Last year, the only voice you'd hear from the Cowboys' defense was that of Bradie James. Now, everyone is talking.

"Last year was really one guy speaking, and that was just me," James said. "A lot of pressure was on me just to make the calls. But now we have a lot of guys talking and communication is definitely big, because you have to have communication in the back end, front end, and everybody knows what's going on."

According to James, the Cowboys' defense was actually coached not to talk under Parcells' regime. While you don't want too many cooks in the secondary kitchen, the improved communication has James excited.

"We don't even want to talk about last year," James said. "Everybody's communicating - everybody's stepping up to the plate and doing what they're supposed to do."

--Zach Buchanan

Unwanted Pests

Cowboys fans attending practice at the Alamodome have had plenty of opportunities to cheer, but Sunday they got their chance to boo, as a flock of Eagles fans infiltrated the workout.

The brazen fans, bedecked in Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb jerseys, loudly spelled Philadelphia's trademark E-A-G-L-E-S chant, causing many of the Cowboys fans to respond with chants of their own.

"That's suicide, I think," Bradie James said. "It just shows how wild it's been out here. We've got 8,000-10,000 fans out here and some Eagles fans show up - this has been great. Very electric."

Short Shots

During their pre-stretch toss-around, receivers Terrell Owens, Isaiah Stanback and Jerheme Urban practiced turning double plays, catching the ball with one hand, turning and firing it to second base, err, another receiver . . . Phillips said improving the third-down defense was a high priority of training camp, acknowledging the Cowboys struggled in that category last season . . . Cornerback Terence Newman had the line of the day when asked about the defense flying-around more, saying "Oh yeah, I feel like Jet Li." . . . A crowd of 10,777 watched Sunday's lone practice, the second largest of training camp. Only Saturday's second session of 13,539 has been larger. Incredibly, 33,622 people attended the three practices over the weekend.

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