Antonio, TX., Tuesday,
August 3, 2010. For the first time since the
Cowboys were gearing up to play the Vikings
in last year's playoffs, the team can
actually say it has a game "this week."
returned to a more physical practice on
Monday - after having no pads in the four
previous weekend practices - with the
mindset of getting prepared for an actual
game. The Cowboys will break off the first
portion of training camp Friday, but only to
get on a plane Saturday and head up to
Canton, Ohio to face the Bengals in Sunday
night's Hall of Fame Game.
To do that, the
Cowboys worked on more game-specific things
such as short-yardage and goal-line drills.
There will be more work on two-minute
offense and special teams situations as the
team gets closer to the game.
the coaching staff will soon to decide is
the amount of playing time to be distributed
not only for Sunday's game against
Cincinnati, but the Aug. 12 home game
against Oakland, which is also just 10 days
"We really have
two games to get ready for," head coach Wade
Phillips said. "I'd like to play a certain
set of the younger guys in one game, and
then vice versa. Whether we'll be able to do
that with 80 guys ? that's the plan right
now. Of course, it's still (early). There
are certain guys you'd like to see in both
the young guys will "certainly play a lot"
in all five preseason games, and uses the
practice film as one way to determine
"We want to
give guys who are practicing well the
opportunity to show they can compete or help
the team or make the team or whatever it
the coaching staff will likely decide by
Wednesday how much the first-teamers will
finalized the plan yet. We'll see where
everybody's health is on Wednesday,"
Phillips said. "The team involved - what we
want to see from our first group."
in determining playing time and the plays
that are called is the actual opponent.
Since the Bengals and Raiders run different
schemes, Phillips said if the offense wants
to work on more one-on-one receiving plays,
they might wait and use them more against a
team such Oakland, which typically plays man
coverage on defense.
"There are just
a lot of factors that go into it," Phillips
said. "But that's something we will work on
about the possibility of having a
"dominating" defense, Phillips said it's
much harder to sustain that type of
consistency in today's pass-happy league.
"You want to
try to be a dominant defense," said Phillips
on the podium at his Monday press
conference. "What a dominant defense now is
different than when Houston shut out
Pittsburgh 6-0 in 1980. That was a different
But don't think
the referenced game in which Wade was a
defensive coordinator for his dad, Bum
Phillips and the Oilers, was just a random
choice. Phillips made sure Cowboys spokesman
Rich Dalrymple, who was seated next to him
in the press conference, heard the
reference. Dalrymple, who grew up in
Pittsburgh as a huge Steelers fan, only
smiled in return, knowing the four Super
Bowls in the 1970s still "dominates" that
Ready To Hit
Alan Ball has had all eyes on him since
training camp began last week. As the top
choice to replace Ken Hamlin, Ball has
worked with the first-team defense in every
practice, but said the game Sunday in Canton
will be the first big test.
eager. This is game week for us," Ball said.
"So I'm excited to go out there and play
someone other than our receivers and
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