Cornerback Terence Newman was slow to get up after making a defensive play in Saturday's practice at Cowboys Stadium, highlighting a concern for the Cowboys as they approach the end of the minicamp and OTA portion of the offseason.
"You certainly don't want any injuries, but they can happen at any time," coach Wade Phillips said.
In a passing drill, Newman turned to make a play on a ball but fell awkardly to the sideline. He crouched for several moments, took his time getting up then flexed his right foot.
"We had two players get hurt last year -- one of them wasn't while we were doing this, one of them was in the weight room working out -- so at any time you worry about injuries, but we try to be as careful as we can, and I think we've done a good job of that," Phillips said.
Ratliff OK with elbows
Jay Ratliff reports no problems from the minor surgery he had on both elbows in February. Ratliff had bone spurs removed and did not participate in May's OTAs. But when minicamp started Friday, the Pro Bowl nose tackle was on the field.
“It’s not 100 percent but it’s definitely functional," he said. "The pain is dull, so it’s definitely something I can deal with compared to what I’ve been dealing with. I’m happy with it.”
Ratliff is also sporting a Mohawk but said he’s not sure if he’s going to keep it throughout the season.
“I change my mind a lot,” he said. “Who knows? I might grow an Afro, might grow some dreads."
Outside linebacker Brandon Williams said being able to practice consistently has given him more confidence.
“I can really tell a big difference in me getting off the ball,” he said. “Me being able to do cuts and drops, I think there’s a big difference. I’m a lot quicker than what I was.”
Williams missed last season because of an ACL injury suffered in the preseason. If he’s healthy, the Cowboys hope he can contribute by giving a breather to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.
“Everything has come back,” Williams said. “The speed of it is still not game speed, but it is fast enough. So I am getting back into the hang of it, going out there and playing downs like I’m supposed to.”
When the Cowboys released Flozell Adams in April, Doug Free became the starting left tackle. So far, the coaches are pleased with his progress.
“He’s doing great,” line coach Hudson Houck said. “Each day he gets a little bit better. That’s what we’re looking at. Does a guy hit a wall or does he get even better? He’s got all the tools. Got good feet, good reach, he understands the offense and he tries hard. So if we don’t screw him up as coaches, we’ll be OK.”
* Leonard Davis missed Saturday's work because of a funeral, Phillips said.
* The Cowboys will have a light workout Sunday and break early for lunch with the players' families.
* The Cowboys switched things up a little on Saturday when they had guard Kyle Kosier taking snaps at center and center Andre Gurode working at guard. Kosier has never played center before but the Cowboys plan to use him as the backup during the regular season so they are trying to get him some snaps at the position.