Monday Notes: Carpenter Gaining Inside Knowledge

Position: Kicker Height/Weight: 6-1, 222
Age: 22
College: Arizona
NFL Exp: Rookie
How Acquired: D6a for '07
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Fitting In: Folk's biggest competition is eighth-year veteran Martin Gramatica, but there may be room for both on the Cowboys' final roster. At Arizona, Folk did everything his senior year, but his kickoff stats were most impressive. If he is stronger than Gramatica in either category (field goals and kickoffs), or especially in both, he likely will secure a spot on the team.
So Far: Folk's already giving Gramatica a run for his money, going 6-for-6 during practice on Saturday with a long of 51 yards. He's consistently hitting beyond 40 yards, demonstrating his maturation out of college, where he was 5-of-9 from 40-49 yards as a senior. His kickoffs need to get stronger, but that won't be judged properly until preseason games.
Best Asset: Obviously, it's his leg strength. Folk's ability, as well as his potential, for height and distance on kickoffs makes him a strong contender, and at least a sound investment for the future.
You Should Know: During Rookie Dinner the other night, Folk chose to sing his alma mater's fight song, Arizona's Bear Down, after telling the teammates his signing bonus and college.
A Mouthful: "I'd like to do whatever helps the team. I love to do both (kickoffs and field goals). That's my goal, is to do both." -Jana Wallis

Ellis Saga Continues

If Ellis' contract situation isn't dealt with soon, the 10-year veteran might consider retirement, he said. While he maintains that he wants to continue to play football, he said he'd "be lying if I said it hadn't crossed my mind."

All week Ellis has been fielding questions about his injury and future with the team, deflecting them with the statement that he'd know more the middle of this week.

Answers might come as soon as Wednesday, however, when team owner and general manager Jerry Jones is scheduled to address the media after Phillips' daily press conference. According to both Ellis and Jones, the two have yet to talk about the situation.

Special Drills

The Cowboys don't have a full day off scheduled during their 16-day stay in San Antonio, but head coach Wade Phillips gave his team a bit of a physical break with a shorter special teams practice in the afternoon workout on Monday.

The players conducted a variety of special teams drills to refine their technique and simulate certain game situations. Kickers Martin Gramatica and Nick Folk each drilled all six of their field goal attempts, with Folk's 49-yarder the longest connection of the day.

Phillips still expected his team to stay sharp mentally despite working only in shells.

"I told them at the end of (the morning) practice I expect just as much with no pads as I do with pads on as far as concentration," Phillips said.

--Rob Phillips

Fun With Rookies

It isn't training camp unless the veteran players are messing around with the rookies a little bit. In camps past there have been shaved heads and rookies being used as pack mules for veteran equipment, but perhaps the most entertaining for the veteran players is their rookie Dinner and a Show.

At dinner, eaten in the Alamodome, rookies must stand in front of the team and state their name, signing bonus, school and then sing their school fight song. If the rookies don't know their fight song, they are forced to sing a song of the veterans' choosing.

"We've got a microphone now, so it's a lot more fun," second-year linebacker Bobby Carpenter said.

Some rookies, more than others, have become a target for a little good-natured hazing. Rookie tackle James Marten, who made it to San Antonio midway through Thursday's afternoon practice after agreeing to contract terms earlier that morning, caught some flak from older linemen for taking so long to get to camp. Reportedly, starting tackle Marc Colombo, out while recovering from an off-season knee scope, called Marten and threatened to personally fine him $100 every hour he wasn't at camp.

"I haven't seen the bill yet, but they're threatening that right now," Marten said. "He told me he was gonna stop by my room and shave my head last (Thursday) night, but he didn't show up."

Short Shots

Cornerback Anthony Henry looked sharp in the morning session, picking off a Tony Romo pass during 7-on-7 drills and later breaking up a deep throw . . . Cornerback Terrence Newman rode into the media room specifically to taunt voice-of-the-Cowboys Brad Sham, saying "I'll run circles around you, Sham!" Later he confessed that he just wanted to make Sham smile . . . Attendance for Monday's practice was 3,580 in the morning and grew to 4,921 in the afternoon.

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