This Almost Was Football

too.

Now regardless of how the scrimmage was conducted, a few guys did, as they say, "flash," the newest practice buzz word. You couldn't help from noticing the effortless running style of rookie free agent Tyson Thompson, and how he can dart in or out in the blink of an eye.

You couldn't help but notice rookie Chris Canty, basically playing his first Almost Football since suffering the torn ACL back in late September last year. First, he's 6-7. Second, he's a quick 6-7. Third, even while rushing as a defensive tackle in the nickel's four-man front, he was ending up at the quarterback time and time again.

But as Zimmer said, "I've got to check to see who he was playing against."

Darn Zim, you take all the fun out of this stuff.

"I still have a very long way to go," Canty said, but could hardly repress the smile after playing once again.

Also flashing - again - was seventh-round pick Jay Ratliff. And streaking was rookie free agent Thomas Johnson, a guy few probably even knew was in camp. Well they know now, the defensive end recording three sacks, almost on cue as Parcells joked earlier in the day about calling him "Pepper" Johnson after his former linebacker with the Giants.

And if nothing else, Torrin Tucker sure knows who, as Parcells called him, the "wanna-be Pepper" is. Johnson and Ratliff basically turned him into a turnstile. He had better hope the Cowboys make no lasting decisions off this scrimmage, or he'll be following released kicker Brett Visintainer (injured back) right down the 101 out of town, too.

Let's see, what else?

Liked the confidence Newman seemingly was playing with; how Roy Williams was so much more of a force, especially against the run, playing strong safety; how hard Thomas ran; how Demarcus Ware played the run, especially to the outside; how Bledsoe and Jason Witten seemed to be hooking up, although Witten dropped what should have been a touchdown pass on a play Parcells turned to the sideline before the snap to proclaim "this will be a touchdown."

Almost.

And maybe the best sign of the day was Julius Jones, who seemingly after gaining those 813 yards his final seven starts is being taken for granted. Jones ran hard. He ran well. If this were a real game, he would have been a problem for the defense - and you could tell that, tackling or no tackling.

So after practicing 12 times in eight days, including this scrimmage, the Cowboys will rest on Sunday, getting their first and what will be their only day off for the first 16 days of training camp. But for sure, Parcells will have enough to chew on over the next couple of days, and certainly this team will not be allowed to get too comfortable upon returning to work Sunday evening.

My guess is, after the day off, he predictably will be harder on the club come Monday, especially after so many penalties littered the two-minute drill, causing him to toss his first two units off the field.

But you can do that in a scrimmage, especially when you're the guy orchestrating the whole show.

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