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Back In The Saddle Again – Training Camp Notes

Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips are all smiles at the start of Cowboys Training Camp

I skimmed through all the different beat writer reports from today’s Cowboys Training Camp, and summarized all of the information for you.

Training Camp Player Valuations – In terms of talking about players after practice, Phillips doesn’t like to do it. He feels he needs to see some practice tape before talking about how well a player did or how bad a player did. Phillips said it gives him a chance to give better answers to questions.

“You may see a player do something real good in practice and the rest of the plays didn’t play well,” Phillips said. “Like a guy in a game, you think he played well, and he didn’t play well at all.”

Ain’t That A Kick In The Pants – The coach made a note that David Buehler isn’t the only placekicker on the roster. Delbert Alvarado is also a kicker but hardly gets mentioned because after the team released Connor Hughes, it was assumed Buehler had no competition. Even Buehler said he’s competing against himself.

“Alvarado did well, and that’s why we kept him in the spring,” Phillips said.

Safety First – Does Pat Watkins have a shot to become the starting free safety over Alan Ball? Phillips said he does and that there is competition at almost every position. However, Phillips would like to see Watkins, who is a strong special teams player, be more consistent on defense. Watkins did have a nice breakup of a long pass Saturday.

He Ain’t All That – *Dez Bryant, the rookie wide receiver, was impressive in his first practice. Phillips said it’s not the best debut he ever saw.

“I don’t know if he looked any better than Steve Largent when he came in,” Phillips said. “Cris Carter when he came in, I’ve seen some pretty good ones.”

Not To Be Nosy, But – *Marcus Spears is still the starting defensive end, but he will get some snaps at nose tackle during training camp. The Cowboys did some of this last year with him. Phillips doesn’t believe it’s the start of something long term for Spears.

“I would be comfortable with him playing there,” Phillips said of Spears at the nose. “He’s a smart player and he’s a good run player already, and normally nose guard is a run-player position. [Jay] Ratliff has taken it to a different level; you don’t see nose guards getting six and eight and ten sacks. But I think Spears can fill that role as a run player and I think he’ll do a good job there.”

We Kneed You Man – *Linebacker Keith Brooking might miss the second practice Sunday. He’s fine, but Cowboys want to bring him along slowly because he had minor knee surgery in the offseason. Brooking looked pretty good Saturday knocking down a pass and moving around pretty good.

MartyB TV Off The Air – Wade Phillips said he does not expect Martellus Bennett to miss much practice time in training camp with the sprained left ankle he suffered last week while working out. The Cowboys placed Bennett on the non-football injury list because he did not suffer the injury while under the Cowboys’ care.

Veteran Star, Rookie Pro Bowler

Prior to this past season Greg Ellis never finished a season with more than nine sacks. Despite coming off a big injury in 2006, Ellis had an astonishing performance finishing with 12 1/2 sacks in 2007. He was awarded NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year for his amazing year that didn’t even begin until week 4.

During the off season last year, a lot of people wondered about Ellis’ allegiance to the Cowboys. He complained openly about wanting a contract renegotiation. Initially, he did not get his wish but right before his debut since his injury, $2 million was added to Ellis’ contract.

In his ten years with the Cowboys Ellis has had some bumps along the way, but in the end he has always come through as a dedicated player. He is known as a mentor and a role model on the field and in the locker room.

You’ve got to give credit to a veteran who can come off an injury like he did and have his best season as a professional football player. Ellis was honored to be finally be selected to play in Hawaii.

"It’s a great feeling to be honored, to be going to the Pro Bowl," Ellis said. "You can’t put too much on it. A lot of guys like myself that have never been and they should’ve gone, in my opinion. But when you’re number is called to go, it’s a tremendous honor."

Once again, congratulations to Greg Ellis, its been a long time coming!

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Check out this video clip of Ellis and Williams, the 12th and 13th Cowboys selected to this year’s Pro Bowl.

http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80696539

NFL Network talks with Cowboys LB Greg Ellis and S Roy Williams