Simple Presence of Jones Juices Practice

that's what he is," Campo said. "He's a fun guy and he likes to play football. The key is getting a bunch of guys that like to practice, that like to play the game.

"When you get a bunch of guys out on the practice field that are having fun, it's infectious. Everybody picks everybody up, because I'm going to be honest with you, I'm 61-years-old and there are times when I walk out here that I'm not sure I want to be out there. I'm a little sore and tired. But if those guys run around having a good time, then I'm having a good time.

"It's infectious for everybody; it's good for everybody."

Just like the other day when "Pac" concocted the little game of catching punts before practice, trying to see how many punts you can catch while holding on to each ball. He got to six, and says he's done seven before.

So now Patrick Crayton has to try. Well Crayton had four, but dropped the fifth.

Next day, here we go again. Crayton, never one to back down, walked off the practice field with "Pac" the previous day saying he'd get him the next day. He did. Crayton then catches six while "Pac" drops the fourth one.

And then out here on Thursday, there was rookie free agent Danny Amendola, standing in the end zone with five footballs draped on his body, barely failing to catch the sixth.

"Pac" just making up silly games for competition's sake, a sure sign you're not afraid of losing, willing to just line up and go again. That's what you want in your cornerbacks. That's what you want in your team.

When Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin arrived at camp as a member of the media earlier this week, I spotted him quietly getting out of his car that morning, acting as if he was going to slink into camp anonymously. Ha.

He laughed that Michael Irvin hearty laugh when I busted him, but he couldn't wait to talk football. He had been reading and listening back in Dallas to the stories about "Pac" and T.O. going at each other on a daily basis, and he couldn't wait to point out how he believes "your team arrives" when the competition in practice is created by the players not the coaching staff.

Irvin should know. He was once the heart and soul of those Cowboys championship teams in the '90's, and he was the instigator of healthy competition in practice, understanding this was a needed ingredient to become successful.

The mere mention of how Irvin could transform a practice with his passion creased a wide grin on Garrett's face. He remembered, and you got the feeling he was starting to sense a little of this taking place in this camp. And, that's not to say the Cowboys weren't competitive last year. They were.

But this is just so obvious.

"It helps immensely, and we were talking about that last night. That across the board how our offensive linemen are challenged, our tight ends and our backs are challenged, and certainly our wide receivers by the guys that are over there," Garrett said. "Wade made a point - we talked about keeping a high standard and every time you're going against somebody who's challenging you, it's hard not to keep the standard high.

"It's a competitive environment, but it's the healthy competitiveness that we like about it - it's healthy. (Jones and Owens) are both working hard, they're both trying to get themselves better and there isn't that kind of antagonism. I think that they understand that we are improving as a team because of the competition that's going on out there.

"It's great for a team."

"Pac's" has been great for the team.

Which frankly, I'm surprised to be saying.

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