one of last year's two seventh-round picks, must be opening some eyes with his continued transition from corner to safety. Because of late he's has supplanted Pat Watkins as the nickel safety on the first team when Roy Williams either moves to the slot position or comes off the field - or at least has been playing there the majority of snaps the past couple of days. I'm told he's really coming on, and as we discovered last year when he had opportunities, he has a pretty good nose for the ball.
And as long as we're at safety, how about this: Roy Williams sure appears to be playing with more motivation and urgency in this camp than I've seen in a while. He's talking more with Ken Hamlin after plays and when they are off to the side watching, seemingly analyzing how plays developed. And he appears to be getting himself in better position, meaning he's doing a better job in preparation. Even if he's just a two-down safety, as long as he makes an impact on those two downs he'll be worth the money.
This one probably is a no-brainer, but as well as Anthony Spencer seems to be playing behind Greg Ellis - and in his place the past few practices with Ellis resting a sore back - don't be surprised if he gets some of Ellis' snaps this year. The Cowboys need to get him on the field more, and must preserve Ellis who turns 33 next week while we're in Denver.
Looks like at this point the two best offensive line backups so far in training camp have been guard/center Joe Berger and left tackle Doug Free, who just might be edging out last year's backup tackle Pat McQuistan of the No. 3 job. The 2007 fourth-round pick has good feet for a big man. Berger is trying to supplant Cory Procter as the backup guard/center.
Leaving nothing to chance, the Cowboys already are working on sending in the defensive call to the player wearing the speaker helmet, and so far that's been Bradie James and Kevin Burnett. Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart sends the call in on his handheld walkie-talkie from the sideline. Now only one of those two players can be in the game at the same time wearing a speaker helmet, so my guess is Burnett will have two helmets, one with and one without just in case the two do end up on the field at the same time. With the NFL officials working practices the end of this past week, the two backers also were practicing reporting in to the umpire when the guy with the speaker helmet changed.
Speaking of Burnett, the Cowboys are really high on the now backup weak, inside linebacker and their main nickel backer, and it seems if for some reason Zach Thomas is unable to start, the staff would have no qualms playing Burnett. Said Phillips, "I think he's doing really well. He's been a physical player and he's even more physical now." He would go on to say of Burnett, "He was ready to move in and start (last year in place of Akin Ayodele) before he got hurt," meaning the bad thigh bruise he suffered in Buffalo early in the season. This would be a good year for Burnett to excel since he's in the final year of his original four-year contract.
Lastly, I predict Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sold about $500 worth of T-shirts Saturday after he walked all the way across the practice field, summoned two practice footballs on the way, and presented the first to the guy in the stands who had the football tossed in there during practice by Adam Jones confiscated from him by one of the ball boys and a policeman. Then Jerry Jones tossed the other one in for good measure, both the robust delight of the crowd who had loudly booed the ball boy.
And finally, how about some sounds from training camp:
This from Terrell Owens to Dave Campo after catching a pass just past the outstretched arms of "Pac" in a team drill: "If he wasn't so short like you he might have gotten it."
As for Campo, by the end of camp we might not be hearing anything from the secondary coach. He's so hoarse right now from coaching so hard, he's going to lose voice. Mark my words.
Leave it to Nate Newton to offer some self-deprecating humor. While taping a TV show, the producer gave us the script and told Nate he would be in the "C-block," meaning the third portion of the show. And