Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Camp observations: Defense dominates day
By Todd Archer
OXNARD, Calif. – If you want to measure the daily success of each unit during training camp, then Day 2 belonged to the Cowboys’ defense.
You’ll soon see why in the Camp Observations:
LB Sean Lee met RB Phillip Tanner in the hole during the team-run period, which started a run of four straight plays in which the defense did not allow a carry to go more than a few yards. DE Monte Taylor stopped DeMarco Murray after TE Gavin Escobar was late off the ball, and Cameron Sheffield ate up Tanner on a run wide to the left. The No. 2 defense saw DT Nick Hayden and Ernie Sims come up with a tackle for loss and a no gain.
Over the last few years, coach Jason Garrett has had individual players pulled for a snap when they make a pre-snap mistake. On Monday he replaced the entire offense. When the entire first-team offense moved and C Travis Frederick didn’t snap the ball, the No. 2 offense came in for two snaps. When a shotgun snap from C Phil Costa was off to QB Kyle Orton, Garrett had the No. 3 offense come in for a snap. Garrett has been much more vocal with his displeasure in practice so far early in camp than he has been in previous camps.
A good offensive moment: On a swing pass from Romo, Tanner was able to outrun LB Bruce Carter to the edge for a nice gain. It was something Tanner would not have been able to do a year ago. He appears to be in better shape and sharper with his running.
OT Jermey Parnell is not off to the best of starts in camp, which might be why he is not rotating with Doug Free. In team take-off drills with no defense, he drew Garrett’s ire for flinching before the snap. The offense had to repeat the play.
In the “blue” practice with rookies and selected vets, Hayden tipped a Nick Stephens pass in the air and was able to make the interception.
Also in the “blue” practice, OT Darrion Weems gave up sacks to LB Kyle Wilber and Ike Igbinosun at right tackle and left tackle.
The special-teams portion of practice focused on kickoff coverage and returns. Dwayne Harris, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Anthony Amos and Cole Beasley all handled some returns.
Lee gave one of the officials an incredulous look for spotting a ball for a first down after a dump pass to Murray from Romo. Lee and S Barry Church closed fast on Murray and it may have been close, but the spot definitely favored the offense.
Free made a nice block on Carter on a bubble screen to free Harris for a good pickup.
TE Jason Witten put a nice stiff-arm on S Matt Johnson down the field to pick up extra yards. Johnson also did a nice job of picking up WR Dez Bryant on a hot read that would’ve led to a short gain for the offense.
DeMarcus Ware had three sacks. Tank Reed had a sack. Jeris Pendleton had a sack. Ben Bass had a sack. It was that kind of day for the offense. But the defense normally gets the better of the offense early in camp.