Cowboys' 2011 Silver 'n Blue Debut: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. If Wednesday night's crowd at Rangers Ballpark was 30,000 it killed Cowboys' practice across the street. I'd say there was 15,000 inside Cowboys Stadium, tops. I guess $1 Hot Dogs > $10 Parking.
9. Early in camp in San Antonio linebacker Keith Brooking intercepted a pass and began sprinting down the sideline, only to pull a hamstring. Last night -- about three weeks later -- he picked off Stephen McGee (who was also picked by Abe Elam) and immediately took a knee. Veteran savvy.
8. Different feel than a normal practice, in that during it interviewed on JumboJerry were coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. One fan wore a No. 69 jersey emblazoned with the name "Joe Cool." What. The. What?! And on the field Dez Bryant burned Alan Ball on a deep route while blaring over the speakers was Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke."
7. Bryant and Miles Austin (who sat out again with a tight hamstring) have screwed up the double-reverse-with-a-pitch play a couple times in camp. But Dez and Kevin Ogletree executed it flawlessly on the night's first play.
6. Since Ogletree is aiming to be Dallas' No. 3 receiver, shouldn't he be Kevin Oglethree?
5. Owner Jerry Jones, wearing a baby blue blazer, spent most of the night chatting with special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. That was, after he gave Orlando Scandrick a $10 million bonus and a huge hug during pre-practice stretching.
4. I want to believe that the light bulb has finally flickered on over the noggin' of Martellus Bennett. I want to believe this will be his breakout year. But this is why I don't truly believe what I want to believe: The tight ends do a daily drill where they start in the back of the end zone with their backs turned to coach John Garrett. He throws the ball, then yells "ball!" The players are supposed to quickly turn, then rush to meet the ball. Jason Witten consistently takes four steps before comfortably latching onto the ball about chest-high. Bennett? He takes about two steps, then is always bending over and reaching down around shoe-top level to make a difficult catch. In a way, those two steps of hustle are the difference between Witten and Bennett.
3. I sat in the stands for a different perspective and a little girl -- must have been 4 or 5 -- began screaming and crying. Panicked yelps and major tears, as though she'd been stung by a scorpion. As I finally turned around to ask what was the matter, her sisters pointed and said "Aw, she's just afraid of him." Up on JumboJerry: Rowdy. Swear.
2. In the night's most anticipated "event", newly signed kicker Shayne Graham (wearing Danny White's old No. 11) lined up for a 35-yard field goal and ... had it blocked by Scandrick off the left end. He was then good from 35 and 42, as was Dan Bailey. David Buehler still sits with a strained hip flexor. With his red hair and beard, by the way, Graham reminds of Conan O'Brien.
1. Mike Jenkins returned to practice from a stinger on the same day that Scandrick was given starter's money. Coincidence? I think not.
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