IRVING, Texas -- The final organized team activity open to the media came and went Tuesday with Jerry Jones kicking off a storm that led to an awkward announcement of Bill Callahan as playcaller, but there was more to the day than just that.
Here are some observations from the practice.
In three straight goal-line plays in one-on-one drills, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris came up with touchdowns on Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Sterling Moore. Bryant’s touchdown was the best of the lot, with him leaping high to pluck a Kyle Orton throw over Carr, who was in terrific position. Williams beat Claiborne on a slant. Harris cradled an Orton pass that was just out of Moore’s reach with his left hand while keeping his feet in bounds.
With Jay Ratliff sitting out and Robert Callaway done for the year because of knee surgery, Nick Hayden was the starting 3-technique Tuesday. Hayden signed with the Cowboys after last season, and has played for Carolina and Cincinnati.
TE Gavin Escobar is supposed to be a red-zone threat, and he was able to come down with a TD on a Nick Stephens throw on a bootleg play. The defense completely bought the fake, leaving Escobar wide open. Tuesday’s practice might have been Stephens’ best, but he still has a long way to go. His passes sometimes float too much.
WR Cole Beasley gave whoever was matched up on him fits in team and seven-on-seven drills. His quickness makes him a tough out in the slot, but he is limited as a slot player for the time being, mostly because of his size.
RB DeMarco Murray does a nice job in the screen game. He balanced patience with urgency in two end-of-game screens, as he got up the field after setting up his blocks. On the first play, however, C Travis Frederick might have been called for a face mask penalty on S Barry Church. G Ronald Leary did a nice job leading the way on the second screen.
LB Bruce Carter is a sick athlete. He was able to drop into coverage and knock down an Orton pass to Bryant as if he had been playing weakside linebacker forever. If Carter and Sean Lee can stay healthy, the Cowboys' defense has a chance to be better than it has been.
From the ho-hum department, TE Jason Witten made a nice leaping grab down the seam while being bracketed by Lee and Church.
LB Caleb McSurdy forced a fumble on Escobar after an in cut. Escobar was able to gather the ball, but the rookie will have to be tougher with the football.