Cowboys Camp Report, August 7: Teach Slowly, Hit Hard

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Bill Parcells always used the first pre-season game as a pretext for ripping on his team the following week.  He would give his Cowboys teams the most vanilla of game plans, limiting their chances of success.  This way, there were always mistakes to identify and iron out.  Complacency was discouraged.

It seems that Jason Garrett and his staff has taken that part of Parcells’ mode of coaching to heart.  From Garrett’s “come to Jesus” remarks about his rookies’ game tape review to the feedback to today’s practice, it’s clear the coaches patted the players on the head, thanked them for the win, and then preceeded to grill them for every mistake they made against Miami.

Follow today’s practice timeline and you’ll see a staff engaged in loud and aggressive teaching  The lessons are applied across the board, as defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin took the role of bad cop, giving tough love to his leaders DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee.

This shows a staff that’s hungry for success.  What’s more, it hints that the staff feels the team has real promise this year, and is not settling for “better” results. They’re aiming for flawless.

As it should be.

6:10 CT — The Dolphins made some big runs against Dallas first unit early in Sunday’s contest and this apparently did not please Monte Kiffin.  He assembled the first team defense at mid-field on the near field today and had them walk step by step through basic runs.  The second unit put on the colored balaclavas to impersonate an offense and started to execute a run.

The defense would respond to it at talking speed and Kiffin would stop them after a couple of steps.  He would them move into the gaps where DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lissemore were.  He would move between them and explain how their spacing was suspect.  He would walk the linebackers into the gaps they should attack.

He would then have them move a couple more steps into the play.  Again, the agitated Kiffin would stop and show them what they should be doing and some of the ways in which they did not carry out their duties in the last game.

Kiffin continued this session for close to 20 minutes, all with the first team.  The emphasis appeared to be on gap responsibility on the edge.  Mike Sherman’s Dolphins ran around the Cowboys’ perimeters multiple times in their game.

6:15: First play of 11-on-11, Kiffin  interrupts the session to chew out starters who did not make the proper adjustment to the offense’s movement.  Kiffin is speaking to the linebackers, who are responsible for the call.  His tone is, peppery, shall we say.

6:35 — 11-on-11 just concluded.  Drill run half-speed with helmets off.  That didn’t stop Monte Kiffin, who continues to jump into this front seven between nearly every play.  He’s not yelling, but he’s pulling nearly every player to his face and giving them detailed attention.  It will be interesting to see how this translates once the 11-on-11 with hitting starts.

6:50:  On the far side with the OL.  Callahan is working with the OTs and Pollack is working with the interior linemen.  That’s a swap from their normal protocol.  David Arkin is working 1-on-1 with Mackenzy Bernadeau.  The back and forth is emphasizing coordinating hands and feet when an OT or a pulling guard is trying to seal the edge and turn a defender inside.