Thursday, August 14, 2008

Linemen Biggest Difference Between Broncos, Dallas

The Associated Press

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The difference in the philosophies of the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos was most apparent during pass rush drills Wednesday.

It was the bigger, beefier Cowboys against the smaller, quicker Broncos, both on offense and defense.

"We're one of the biggest teams in the league," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "I noticed it as soon as we got our offensive line together, I noticed ours was bigger than everybody else. We have good size, but we have good athletes. We don't just go for size, we go for athleticism and size. We have three Pro Bowlers in the offensive line."

And another star in linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who threw tight end Tony Scheffler to the grass on one play and tossed rookie left tackle Ryan Clady aside on the next.

The 1-on-1 drills weren't best suited for the undersized Broncos offensive linemen, who are accustomed to moving as one in a manner that routinely leads to high rushing totals.

And the Broncos had their fair share of good performances fending off the Cowboys.

"I don't think their size seemed to be a difference," Dallas defensive end Chris Canty said. "I think they are a good-sized offensive line. They've been running their scheme for a long time. They won Super Bowls with it. They are good at what they do. It presents an interesting challenge for us."

"It takes some time to get used to it," Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis said. "You don't see their scheme very often. They come at you from all angles. I didn't notice the size. I was too busy trying to read what was being done."

Practice Pairs

The Cowboys are the first team to visit the Broncos for dual training camp workouts since the Carolina Panthers went to Greeley, Colo., in 1995.

"We have a young team, a lot of new guys and Dallas is one of the top three teams in the NFL," Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler said. "It is a good measuring stick to see exactly where we're at and how far we need to go."

Coaches Mike Shanahan of Denver and Wade Phillips of Dallas said the dual practices like the ones they had in Irving, Texas, last year, allows them not only to work against different schemes but it also gives them a better tool for evaluating their talent.

"We get a chance to work against a 3-4 look, and they get a chance to take a look at a four-man front," Shanahan said. "I thought it was good for both teams. It was a very healthy practice and there was some good, fresh hitting. You go against somebody where you don't know their tendencies, so I think everybody plays a little bit more honest and it's a good evaluation process for us."

The teams will have four practices together before facing each other Saturday night at Invesco Field.

"A lot of clubs have workouts together and there is a big fight all the time and neither team gets a whole lot out of it," Phillips said. "I think Mike does such a great job here getting his team to do the right things. So that way we had a great workout. I thought both teams got a lot out of it and I know we did.

"When we worked against them last year, I thought we improved more in that week than any time in training camp. It's an opportunity for us to come here and we appreciate them having us here."