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Keith Davis (1 Viewer)


Posted on Tue, May. 31, 2005

Cowboys Notes

By Clarence E. Hill Jr. and Charean Williams

Star-Telegram Staff Writers

IRVING - One fact emerging from the Cowboys' three-day minicamp over the weekend is that while Lynn Scott, Clint Finley and rookie Justin Beriault are part of the competition to be the starter at free safety, the job is probably special teams maven Keith Davis' to lose.

Never mind that Scott finished last season as the starter and the competition is technically open; Davis is the guy everyone is looking to as the starter.

Of course, that's if the Cowboys don't sign a veteran free agent. Davis can't help but be excited about the prospects of going from undrafted rookie free agent to starter.

It's simply a dream come true for a guy who was cut two years ago after being shot in a nightclub, forcing him to spend last spring in NFL Europe before regaining Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' trust with his standout play on special teams.

That he will probably replace the retired Darren Woodson opposite Roy Williams in the starting lineup makes the opportunity even more special for Davis, who grew up idolizing Woodson in nearby Italy, a town about 55 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

"It was a joy for me to come up under Darren Woodson," Davis said. "In my eyes, he's the best safety to play the game. It's a thrill for me to come behind a guy like that and show what I can do."

For Parcells, the prospect of starting Davis leaves him with mixed emotions because of what the Cowboys potentially could lose on special teams.

"I think Keith has played pretty good in this camp," Parcells said. "I am torn there because he is my best special teams player.

"But if he is the best player, he is going to play. I am torn because if he is starting, we are going to be losing a lot on special teams."

Wouldn't the Cowboys rather have him on defense? Parcells said it depends on whether Davis can be as good in the regular defense as he is on special teams. Currently, he has potential on defense, but he is largely unproven with no starts and no experience.

"When you are better than good at something and average at something else, I would rather have the better than good," Parcells said. "Now we will see. Maybe he will improve. He does have a knack for the ball.

"The ball does come to that kid. You want those players on defense for you."

At least one player feels Davis does not need to look over his shoulder.

"That guy's going to be a player," cornerback Aaron Glenn said. "Write it down."

Not the savior

Free-agent acquisition Anthony Henry doesn't fancy himself as the answer to the Cowboys' secondary woes of a season ago, but he says he can solidify one spot.

"They had a lot of guys play right corner last year, and I'm not sure how it worked out," Henry said. "They brought me in to solidify it, and I feel like it can be done."

Henry doesn't feel as if it's all on him to make the secondary great. In his mind, it's close.

"You have Roy Williams, who has been a Pro Bowler. Aaron Glenn has been in the league for a long time, and Terence Newman has done an outstanding job," Henry said. "We have guys who are proven. When you put it together is when you determine if it works out."


• Bill Parcells said cornerback Pete Hunter is a candidate to be moved to safety, albeit only in nickel situations. Parcells said the Cowboys will cross-train a cornerback as a possible nickel safety.

• Parcells said the Cowboys have to make at least eight and possibly nine cuts before training camp, depending on how many of the players allocated to NFL Europe they bring to camp.

• The Cowboys have not decided whether to sign Desperados players Duke Pettijohn and Bobby Sippio. The Arena Football League standouts had tryouts Friday and Saturday.

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