Dallas Cowboys: Darrell Scott

IRVING, Texas -- Let’s just say the first day back was a test of conditioning for some players.

Rookie tight end James Hanna lost his lunch (breakfast?) early in the session and several players were gasping for air and taking water breaks. The practices were moved to 8 a.m. to get the players out of the heat, or at least the intense afternoon heat because it was still hot.

The high in Oxnard, Calif., is 66 degrees.

On to some observations from the workout:

** The practice was basically another minicamp session with players not in pads. The first time the Cowboys will be in pads will be next Wednesday.

** All eyes were on CB Morris Claiborne, the first-round pick. He is aggressive and maybe too aggressive at times, but it’s better to be that way and coach it out of a cornerback. On a stop route to WR Tim Benford, he chewed up the rookie receiver and did not allow him to break free.

** QB Kyle Orton’s first three passes in seven-on-seven drills were incomplete with drops by Benford and Hanna. His third throw was a little wide to WR Cole Beasley. He closed the first session with a nice crossing route to WR Saleem Hakim.

** S Justin Taplin-Ross came up with a nice interception of a Stephen McGee pass across the middle that had the coaches excited.

** LB Dan Connor broke up an Orton pass to TE Andrew Szczerba, avoiding a pass interference penalty by using his outside hand to deflect the throw while keeping his inside hand off the tight end’s back.

** McGee opened up seven-on-seven drills with a nice corner route to Benford over CB Mario Butler and S Eddie Whitley.

** OLB Alex Albright took snaps at inside linebacker. The second-year linebacker will have to show versatility in addition to being a top special teamer.

** Safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery earlier this month, was at Valley Ranch doing rehab. The hope is he could be ready early in the team’s time in Oxnard, Calif., if not the first day.

** RB Darrell Scott left practice early with a tight hip flexor, which meant Lance Dunbar was the only tailback available. Fullback Jamize Olawale got a few carries as a result.

IRVING, Texas -- Wednesday was the second of four open organized team activity practices to the media, so here are a handful of observations that were cut short in part because of Jerry Jones’ press conference during the workout:

** WR Dwayne Harris has a good feel for the slot position. He’s not the fastest player but he can find holes and he did some nice work underneath catching a pass from QB Kyle Orton in team drills. But if Harris wants to lock up a spot, he’ll have to show he can catch punts. He misjudged one punt and dropped another that Kevin Ogletree scooped up for a fumble recovery.

** Upset with what he felt was too much talking to the officials by both sides of the ball, Jason Garrett momentarily stopped the two-minute drill to tell the No. 1 offense and defense to stop complaining and play the game.

** LB Victor Butler got a lot of work in DeMarcus Ware's absence and he continues to put pressure on quarterbacks. I can see Rob Ryan putting together packages just to get Butler on the field more with Ware and Anthony Spencer. In one play, he lined up at nose tackle and brought pressure.

** DE Jason Hatcher was active as well. He had a would-be sack of Tony Romo after slipping by LT Tyron Smith. He and Butler gave the offense real fits.

** C Phil Costa rolled back a shotgun snap to Romo, which led to an Anthony Spencer sack and/or fumble recovery if it were a real game.

** As the big board showed a replay of a John Phillips’ touchdown last season on a throwback screen against the New York Giants, Phillips repeated the play in Wednesday’s practice for a touchdown on an over-aggressive defense. Later, Phillips had a nice catch of an Orton pass in which he broke down LB Baraka Atkins for a nice run after the catch.

** There could be a real battle for the No. 3 tailback job. Phillip Tanner has looked strong and quick, but undrafted backs Darrell Scott and Lance Dunbar also look the part. Both players made nice yards after catch in red-zone drills.

**Orton had the prettiest throw of the day with a floater down the seam to Ogletree for a touchdown just out of the reach of CB C.J. Wilson. Ogletree was able to make the over-the-shoulder catch and get his feet in bounds in the back of the end zone.
IRVING, Texas -- Rookies and selected veterans had their last chance to impress Saturday as the minicamp came to an end, and here are some lasting impressions from both practices:

** Each year it seems the focus of the Cowboys’ defense is to create more turnovers and it has not happened nearly enough. If possible, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is even more committed to the cause. He was constantly reminding the defense to force a fumble or pick off a pass. He got his wish on the first play of team run in the afternoon when Darrell Scott put the ball on the ground on a run up the middle.

** Rookie free-agent linebacker Adrian Hamilton, a Dallas Carter grad, opened up a lot of eyes. He had a would-be sack coming off the edge and then pressured quarterback Nathan Dick into running to his right before throwing the ball away. In the morning practice, he also displayed the ability to drop in coverage to get in the throwing lane on a slant to Cole Beasley for a deflection.

** Wide receiver Saalim Hakim had a rough afternoon, dropping two passes in on-air drills. In the morning, Hakim was slow to get up after he was pushed in the air by cornerback Isaac Madison. The referees called pass interference on the play.

** North Texas running back Lance Dunbar and Scott showed some quick feet without many holes to get through. Dunbar’s quick change of direction hurt a defense that overpursued on a run to the right, while Scott used a spin move to create space on his best run of camp.

** Rookie free-agent tackle Jeff Adams struggled with Tyrone Crawford’s power on a pass rush, allowing the third-round pick to push him back in the pocket. But on the next play, Adams got his hands on Crawford first and was able to hold his ground.

** Wide receiver David Little, who was in camp on a tryout basis, made a nice adjustment on a deep pass from Dick down the sideline, turning his body in mid-air to come down with a throw to his outside shoulder.

** Secondary coach Jerome Henderson is going to be fun to watch. He is active at practice and instructive. At one point, he told the secondary that they never should catch a ball with their pinkies together. He wants them to catch the ball with their thumbs together because that means they are getting the ball at the highest point and not allowing the wide receiver to make a play on the ball.

** Wide receiver Donavon Kemp (hamstring) and tight end Andrew Szczerba did not practice Saturday.

Cowboys add 21 college free agents

April, 30, 2012
IRVING, Texas – After the draft ended Saturday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys would be aggressive in the college free agent market, particularly on the offensive line since the team did not draft a lineman.

He wasn’t kidding.

The Cowboys signed six, highlighted by Memphis guard Ronald Leary, whom the team almost drafted in the sixth round but backed off because of concerns over a knee injury. The other undrafted lineman signed were: Columbia tackle Jeff Adams, Oklahoma State tackle Levy Adcock, Notre Dame tackle Taylor Dever, Miami guard Harland Gunn and Idaho tackle Tyrone Novikoff

Here are the additional signings:

Cole Beasley WR Southern Methodist
Tim Benford WR Tennessee Tech
George Bryan TE North Carolina State
Lance Dunbar RB North Texas
Saalim Hakim WR Tarleton State
Adrian Hamilton LB Prairie View A&M
Charley Hughlett LS Central Florida
Donavon Kemp WR UTEP
Isaac Madison CB Arkansas
Darrell Scott RB South Florida
Lionel Smith CB Texas A&M
Andrew Szczerba TE Penn State
Aston Whiteside LB Abilene Christian
Eddie Whitley S Virginia Tech
Troy Woolfolk CB Michigan

Cowboys add undrafted players

April, 28, 2012
IRVING, Texas – Jerry Jones loves to talk about the success the Cowboys have had over the years with undrafted free agency.

The owner and general manager said he anticipated as many as 27 signings because of the recently-announced expansions of rosters to 90 for training camp.

Jones announced the signing of Memphis guard Ronald Leary during the post-draft press conference. According to sources, the Cowboys have also come to deals with South Florida running back Darrell Scott, North Texas running back Lance Dunbar, SMU wide receiver Cole Beasley, Texas A&M cornerback Lionel Smith, N.C. State tight end George Bryan, Penn State tight end Andrew Szcrerba and Arkansas cornerback Isaac Madison.

More updates: Prairie View A&M defensive end Adrian Hamilton (Dallas Carter high school), Abilene Christian defensive end Aston Whiteside and Michigan free safety Troy Woolfolk. Woolfolk is the son of former Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and New York Giants running back Butch Woolfolk.

The team will announce the signings once the contracts are signed and returned.

The Cowboys will host a rookie mini-camp next weekend.

Check back for updates to this post.