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4/30/2004

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Rookies Big Day Out

All Cowboy Rookies and Undrafted Free Agents had their first big taste of being part of America's Team - The Dallas Cowboys. It's a boyhood dream that many young athletes dream about, playing for one of the most prestigous professional sports teams in the world. Making it this far is a dream come true in itself, but these young ones have a far-far way to go before they can say they are official Cowboys. To Parcells its all about performance on the field NOT their potential. The journey for these young kids begins now. Time to earn that star gentlemen.

Here's how the rookie clinic went:

" Quarterback Drew Henson took almost all the snaps during his first practice Friday. Of course, the only other quarterback in Friday’s rookie mini-camp was Brett Mitchell.

Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones seemed pleased by what they saw from Henson, although Parcells admitted to getting Henson and Mitchell’s numbers mixed up early in the almost two-hour practice.

The Cowboys’ eight rookies were all in attendance as well as 13 free-agent rookies who were signed over the past few days. An NFL rule doesn’t allow any veterans to participate in rookie camp, but plenty of veterans showed up to watch the practice.

Quarterback Quincy Carter watched with great interest as Henson threw passes to the likes of Northwestern Oklahoma’s Patrick Crayton and Houston’s Brandon Middleton.

Parcells and his coaching staff took the players through a typical training camp-type practice, which included individual and team drills.

Here are the high and lows from Friday’s rookie camp:

The Henson report: Drew Henson was 22-of-36 in 1-on-1 and team drills Friday. He looked sharp on middle screens and out passes, especially since he was throwing into a 10-15 mph wind. Henson had plenty of arm on deep routes, but overthrew his receivers several times. He did connect with receiver Patrick Crayton on a deep pass.

On several crossing routes, Henson led his receivers perfectly. He lost some of the zip on the ball late in Friday’s practice.

Catch of the day: Tight end and fifth-round pick Sean Ryan made the best catch of the day when he dove to make a fingertip grab of a Henson pass. Ryan made several tough catches, but he did let one slide through his hands.

Brandon Middleton, a free-agent rookie receiver out of Houston, reached back across his body to haul in a pass from Mitchell. Several receivers trapped balls against their chests, but Middleton did a nice job of catching the ball away from his body.

Who was watching practice: Carter arrived just in time to watch Henson complete a deep pass in the end zone. When Crayton made a nice grab, running back Aveion Cason (who has added 15 pounds of muscle) and receiver Zuriel Smith grabbed a roster to see who made the catch…Cornerback Terence Newman, offensive tackle Torrin Tucker, offensive tackle Javiar Collins, cornerback Jemeel Powell, cornerback Andrew Davidson and right guard Andre Gurode all watched practice from the sidelines.

Jones is Parcells’ water boy: Second-round draft pick and running back Julius Jones retrieved cups of water for Parcells during Friday’s practice. Last season, first-round pick Terence Newman was in charge of taking care of Parcells. After the first break Friday, Jones showed nice acceleration toward the water bucket. Parcells took the cup of water without a word.

Jones looks sharp in first workout: Jones showed his 4.38 speed on several running plays Friday. The Cowboys also worked at getting Jones the ball on middle screens. He shared time with ReShard Lee, who was on his way to making the team in training camp last season when he injured his right knee.

Rogers and Peterman work on the right side: Second-round pick Jacob Rogers worked at right tackle and third-round pick Stephen Peterman worked at right guard. Incumbent starter Andre Gurode watched each play with interest from the sidelines.

Quick hits: Seventh-round pick Nate Jones of Rutgers picked off Henson during the 7-on-7 drill. Jones showed nice closing speed before snagging the pass…Free-agent rookie fullback Lousaka Polite of Pittsburgh looked caught several passes out of the backfield. He was one of the best fullbacks that didn’t get drafted…Free-agent rookie receiver James Newson made a great move before catching a pass from Henson."


Thanks to Eleven50nine for these tidbits.

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