<
>

Cowboys practice report

SAN ANTONIO -- The Cowboys conducted their ninth practice on Saturday and we got the highlights.

*The injury report got crowded on Saturday. Jay Ratliff missed the afternoon session with a sore hip but said he's fine. Alan Ball also missed practice with blisters on his feet. Ball indicated he would return to practice Sunday. Manuel Johnson (concussion), Tashard Choice (calf), Andre Gurode (knee), Keith Brooking (hamstring), Teddy Williams (hamstring), Montrae Holland (back), Kai Forbath (quad), Pepa Letuli (ankle), Bruce Carter (knee), Mike Jenkins (stinger), Terence Newman (groin), Titus Ryan (foot) and DeMarco Murray (hamstring) missed the session.

*Chris Gronkowski was criticized for not holding his blocks well at fullback last season. In Saturday's practice, rookie fullback Shaun Chapas did a nice job of holding his block on a Lonyae Miller run. Jason Pociask, who was moved from tight end to fullback, did the same on a shorter run.

*Want to know why Kenyon Coleman was signed to a two-year deal? To make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He read a screen play and stuffed Phillip Tanner on a run. Coleman looks pretty good in the early stages of his camp. He's been active with his push against tackles and he's moving around well while chasing running backs.

*Abram Elam had an excellent day. He picked off a Tony Romo pass meant for Jason Witten, made the right call by moving back to centerfield and telling Gerald Sensabaugh to blitz instead and he picked off another pass overthrown to Dez Bryant. Elam is making his presence known from a physcial standpoint. When rookie Dwayne Harris made a catch over the middle, Elam popped him in the back knocking the ball loose.

*Quietly outside linebacker Alex Albright is impressing people. Albright, an undrafted free agent from Boston College, made two tackles for loss on Saturday. He seems to be in the right positions during run plays and it appears he's not committing mental mistakes on a regular basis.

*Notes:With Ratliff out, Josh Brent took the first-team snaps at nose tackle. David Arkin replaced Holland at right guard. Bryan McCann was in for Newman and Ball at corner. ... If you want to make the team you have to catch the ball, even in individual drills on air. Wide receiver Tysson Poots dropped a sure touchdown pass in a drill.