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Mid-Day: Parcells Schemes For Self-Reliance

What's The Scoop:
The Cowboys will break camp here in Oxnard, Calif., in three days, and head coach Bill Parcells wants to see his players start thinking for themselves during the "team" portion of practice so they'll be better prepared for the regular season.

"I'm trying to create a little independence on my team," Parcells said.

Parcells says he typically asks his assistant coaches to stay out of the team periods in practice, and Wednesday he sent his coaching staff to stand in the end zone so they would not make any calls, especially for the defense.

"We meet all night, we have an inordinate number of meetings," Parcells said. "That's the classroom; that's where you teach them . . . When the team period comes, I want to know what they know of what we just spent the last 24 hours doing. Let me see what you know.

"So if you've got some coach spoon-feeding the guy every bit of information to get him through the team period, then I don't really have a good evaluation of what the players are doing."

Parcells said his coaches normally are more active in team portions of practice early in camp, but by this time he wants the players to take over. He didn't want defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer making the calls; he wanted middle linebacker Bradie James calling the defenses. And he wanted Drew Bledsoe in total charge of the offense.

Parcells worked on this coaching tactic again Thursday morning.

Quick Shots:

  • Parcells hasn't decided on personnel for Monday's game yet, but said quarterback Drew Bledsoe will play against the Saints. Backup Tony Romo played the entire game in last Saturday's win over Seattle.
  • Back at practice after sitting out with a sore foot, wide receiver Terry Glenn beat Terence Newman deep for a touchdown in team drills.
  • Defensive end Jay Ratliff drove Cory Procter to the ground in one-on-one line drills, prompting a loud celebration with his D-line teammates afterward. Procter typically plays behind left guard Kyle Kosier but worked a little at first-team right guard Thursday morning. Something instigated Ratliff replacing Stephen Bowen for that turn.
  • The Cowboys' defense sacked Bledsoe four times in the first six plays during the final team drill.
  • Linebacker Oliver Hoyte and guard D'Anthony Batiste got into a brief scuffle in which Batiste's helmet flew off.
  • Running back Marion Barber bounced outside for a big gain during team drills.

You Should've Seen:
Terrell Owens and Aaron Glenn matched up in a goal-line receiver drill. Instead of darting toward the end zone on a fade route, Owens stopped at the line of scrimmage for a quick out and muscled his way in for a touchdown. The 5-foot-9 Glenn laughed and said, "I'll take it," implying he'd rather face Owens heads-up from the 5-yard line than battle him for a jump ball in the end zone.

Who's Hot:
Terrell Owens looked sharp in his second practice back from a sore left hamstring. He beat cornerback Anthony Henry during team drills and caught a deep pass from Bledsoe. Asked his impressions of Owens after 14 straight missed practices, Parcells said, "I would say normal. Trying to get worked back in."

Who's Not:
The offense continued to target backup right cornerback Jacques Reeves during red-zone drills. The third-year veteran did get his hands on a would-be touchdown catch later in the drill, but his play drew the ire of Parcells during the morning practice.

Injury Update:
S Justin Beriault, knee, expected to retire (8/14)
WR Patrick Crayton, sprained ankle (8/14)

Missed Practice:
WR Patrick Crayton (ankle)

Returned to Practice:
WR Terrell Owens (hamstring)
WR Terry Glenn (foot)
LB Bobby Carpenter (foot)

S Justin Beriault, to be designated (8/14)
DE Jason Davis, released (8/14)
TE Erik Jensen, signed (8/9)
WR LaShaun Ward, signed (8/9)
QB Matt Baker, signed (8/6)
LB Kai Parham, released (8/6)
QB Jeff Mroz, released (8/6)
DE Vontrell Jamison, released (8/2)
DE Jason Davis, signed (8/1)
LB J.J. Horne, released (7/31)
WR Ahmad Merritt, released (7/31)
CB Byron Parker, released (7/31)
TE Brett Pierce, placed on injured reserve (7/31)
T Flozell Adams moved from PUP to active roster (7/30)
LB Bobby Carpenter, signed (7/29)
T E.J. Whitley, placed on injured reserve (7/29)
T Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP (7/28)
S Darrell Brooks, released (7/28)
G Shannon Snell, released (7/28)

Top BILL-ing:
"It's kind of like being in a time warp . . . I'm in a 200-yard corridor. I mean, I haven't been off the campus. I have I car out there; I don't know which one it is." - Parcells talking about his biggest dislike of training camp.

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