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February 15, 2013

James Hanna emerged thanks to Kyle Orton, says Cowboys' new tight ends coach Wes Phillips

James Hanna began to deliver on the Cowboys’ investment in him late last season, and one person they can thank is backup quarterback Kyle Orton.

He stayed on the rookie tight end’s case, and it paid off, said new tight ends coach Wes Phillips.

“People saw the end result where he started making plays, but we also saw when he was running scout team at the beginning of the year and Kyle Orton is on him every single day about how to practice, how to be a pro, how to work,” Phillips said Thursday in meeting reporters for the first time in his new job. “He really made some strides.”

Hanna, drafted in the sixth round out of Oklahoma last year, caught a pass in the season opener – his only catch for the first 12 games – but had seven catches in the last four games.

“He really impressed us as far as his work ethic and how he went about his job,” Phillips said. “Learning how to finish, learning how to go about meetings and study and prepare, all those sort of things. He’s a very intelligent guy, and we’re looking forward to continuing his development.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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