My thoughts from Thursday practice:
*When you are building your team, you set out with a plan in mind to try and obtain more talent than your division opponents and the other teams in the league. That talent is added through the draft or through free agent signings. To the organization, free agents are the players that you can’t add during the draft that fill in your roster.
One of the best additions to this roster in several years has been that of linebacker Keith Brooking. From a personnel man’s standpoint, Brooking is a dream. He brings toughness, smarts, leadership and passion to the game.
When studying him during practice, you see a sideline to sideline player. When the ball goes outside, Brooking defeats blocks to get there.
Guard Pat McQuistan tried to reach him on a play in 9-on-7 but Brooking used his hands to control McQuistan, work outside and make the tackle. In the same drill, Brooking took on fullback Deon Anderson -- same result, fires his hands inside, takes on the block to make the tackle.
In pass coverage, he is no different in his ability to read and react to the football. In the nickel, backs or tight ends in his area are tightly covered. Tashard Choice tries to run an option route inside but Brooking is right there in coverage, tight on his hip to defend the ball.
In pro free agency, you have the opportunity to help your team or hurt your team with your additions. In this case it was a huge get for the Cowboys.
*There is no doubt in my mind that nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a “Blue” player. In the Cowboys scouting lingo that would be an “elite” player. A real difference maker, one that can turn the direction of a game by his play.
As wonderful as it is to have a “Blue” player, you need players behind him that are not “Orange” or “not for us”. When you study the backups at the nose tackle spot, you see some borderline “Orange” players.
Junior Siavii does nothing for me to be real honest and by taking a shot on a supplemental pick in Josh Brent, the club might be thinking the same way. There are too many times where Siavii gets hooked up on blocks and cannot escape. In one-on-one pass rush drills, he has trouble with Travis Bright and Phil Costa.
The Cowboys have to be looking forward to Brent getting back into the rotation soon because in the short time that he was in there, he mixed it up well.
*Speed will always get you a look regardless how much football you have played. This is the case of the newest Cowboy Teddy Williams.
A much decorated track star from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Williams donned the pads for the first time since high school and took part in an NFL practice.
The first thing that popped into my mind about this was when Jerry Jones broke into the NFL one of the owners he really leaned on was Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis. This is the type of move that Davis would make. Get a guy that can really run and give him a look.
Davis fell in love with a former Cowboy that could really run in Randal Williams. Williams hung around for a couple of seasons until Davis realized, he could not play.
In my view, there really is no harm in this at all. Williams didn’t look totally out of water to me moving around. Even if he makes mistakes, his speed can run him out of a lot of problems.