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NFL notebook: Wade Phillips praises Dez Bryant; Russell Okung makes good impression

By The Associated Press Published: May 3, 2010
Cowboys’ Phillips praises Bryant
Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips praised wide receiver Dez Bryant on Sunday while also passing along some advice.

Phillips said the former Oklahoma State star showed a lot of potential during the team’s three-day rookie minicamp but also told the first-round pick — as well as the other 25 rookies, eight first-year prospects and three tryout players — to be sharper when they join Cowboys veterans for the primary minicamp in June.

"I think we got over the point we needed to, and that is they need to get physically better when they come back, and mental,” Phillips said. "We threw a lot at them mentally. When I sent them home, that’s what I told them, that’s what we’ve got to have when they come back here.”

Bryant struggled with his conditioning, and also slightly turned an ankle during the last few plays of Sunday’s drills. But Bryant also made some spectacular catches, although against defensive backs with no NFL experience.

"Dez Bryant is an absolute talent,” Phillips said. "You don’t get to be around that many players that come in and look that good that early. … He’s pretty natural, got great body control, great hands, quickness, power and speed.”

Adding to Bryant’s NFL education was a personal pep talk after Saturday’s practice from Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys and still lives in the area. Bryant is wearing the No. 88 made famous by Drew Pearson and Irvin.

OSU’s Okung makes good impression
Pete Carroll was excited when Seattle grabbed offensive tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas during the first round of the NFL Draft.

The new Seahawks coach was even happier when he saw them during the team’s minicamp this weekend.

Seattle selected Okung of Oklahoma State with the sixth overall pick and Thomas of Texas at No. 14. The Seahawks hope both can adapt quickly to the pro game.

After Walter Jones announced his retirement, Okung was thrown into the mix at left tackle, lining up alongside recently acquired Ben Hamilton. He was back in the same spot Saturday.

"Russell fit in very well and did some very good things today at the left tackle spot,” Carroll said. "I mean, I don’t know how he could know as much as he does other than the fact that Ben Hamilton was there helping him with the calls and stuff, which was great.”

Okung made his presence felt on day one of camp, grabbing seventh-round pick Dexter Davis under the facemask and driving him away from a play. He admitted that his head is still spinning a bit while trying to learn the differences between Seattle’s scheme and OSU’s.

"It’s different out here,” Okung said. "The little steps. The hand placement.


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