My thoughts from Monday’s Cowboys practice vs. the Rams:
1. Rams fans may not be as delinquent as Raiders fans but they are just as passionate and maybe as numerous in the Los Angeles area. It was as huge throng of Rams fans in attendance for the first day of joint practices on Monday, which was a surprising considering it was a work day.
2. The presence of the Rams brought out Inglewood Mayor James Butts, who was there stumping for the proposed new stadium in his city. The Inglewood site is competing with a site in Carson as the home for a possible team in Los Angeles. Of course, one of the investors in the Inglewood site is Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
3. Quarterback Tony Romo practiced for a third straight day for the first time since before last season but he also has his first interception since early in camp. Defensive end Ethan Westbrooks picked off an attempted screen pass. Romo was pressured by linebacker Alec Ogletree who came through unblocked, forcing the interception.
4. Running back Joseph Randle had fumble after a catch during the 7-on-7 drill. Remember Randle also fumbled on a goal line drill early in camp. Asked if he’s got to take care of the ball better, Randle simply said: “Definitely. Definitely.”
5. There weren’t a lot of skirmishes on Monday largely because the Cowboys practiced with little intensity. But the first ruckus came after Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson leveled Randle in a seven-on-seven drill, which drew the ire of Cowboys wide receiver Devin Street. Street and Johnson got into briefly, including a punch thrown by Johnson, but the skirmish ended rather quickly.
“It was a little wake up call, it was a little love tap,” Randle said. “I ain’t even feel him. I’ve just got to get my pads down, you know? This is football. You don’t play standing straight up.”
Another brief skirmish came after Cowboys linebacker Andrew Gashkar dumped a Rams receiver after a catch in team drills. Defensive end Randy Gregory got in a good push but this one was over quickly.
6. The biggest hit and hardest hit from a lackluster Cowboys team came when safety Jeff Heath accidently leveled teammate Gashkar in 7-on-7 drills. That’s the kind of day it was for the Cowboys.
7. With so many starters out in the secondary for the Cowboys, the biggest battle in 1-on-1 drills was cornerback Morris Claiborne against Rams receiver Kenny Britt. Britt easily won three of the four matchups with Claiborne batting down one pass.
8. The Cowboys had no one to cover Rams speedy receiver Tavon Austin who killed them in 1-on-1 drills and then ran by the entire secondary to catch a wide-open bomb from quarterback Nick Foles in team drills. Tyler Patmon was in primary coverage but not close to Austin.
9. Tyler Patmon did pick off an errant pass from Nick Foles that was no where near the intended receiver. That was the type of Foles pass that got him shipped out of Philadelphia.
10. Overall, it was lackluster and underwhelming performance from the Cowboys. Jason Garrett told them the team after practice that they were flat. Dez Bryant screamed at his teammates during practice about their poor play and then left angry when the workouts were over. The Cowboys believe the Rams were fresher and ready to practice after not doing much since their preseason game against the Raiders on Friday night. The Rams were suppose to practice on Sunday but ended the workout halfway through because of the heat. The Rams also don’t practice in pads near as much as the Cowboys. Still, it was no excuse for the Cowboys to come out flat. They plan to up their intensity on Tuesday.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760