Scout's Eye: Day 8 observations

August, 1, 2010
8/01/10
8:07
AM ET
My thoughts from Saturday’s practice:

*Off days happen even to the best of them.

In the afternoon session, Tony Romo had his worst single practice of camp. Nothing really seemed to be clicking for him. Balls that were usually thrown to receivers and completed were off target. Defensive backs were able to drive on balls and defend them.

In short, Romo didn’t have his pinpoint accuracy that we had seen since camp opened last Saturday. Under pressure, where Romo is normally outstanding, there were balls that were short or skipped to receivers. Touch passes on corner routes were misjudged and delivered too long.

Romo had a terrible interception moving to his right then trying to throw a ball into the middle of the field that Cletis Gordon read and made the play in the end zone.

There was a play where the ball was thrown so poorly that the first thing that popped into my mind was, Jon Kitna had to throw it, but no, standing in the middle of the field was Tony Romo.

The problem with all this to me, was that the offense was working on red zone situations, which is the very area that there were struggles in 2009. In the offseason we were told that special attention would be paid by all parties on offense to correct what needed to be done in the red zone to improve.

Romo’s play Saturday was not a step in the right direction.

*As the Hall of Fame Game is just a week away, my prediction for the Cowboys’ preseason leading rusher will be Herb Donaldson.

With his running style and the quickness he shows, Donaldson will be the favorite of Jason Garrett to hand the ball to run out the clock. At 5-foot-11, 211 pounds, he is not a small man but his balance and movement is like that of a much smaller back.

Donaldson has a knack for getting the ball to the corner or he can bang it inside which he has done in 9-on-7 drills. He is a slippery runner that you think is stopped but he keeps moving forward. He makes a nice effort to try and finish runs.

Donaldson will not make this team because the quality and the numbers at his position, but that will not stop him from having a productive camp and potentially playing for a job on another squad.

*Secondary coach Dave Campo wants Alan Ball to totally concentrate on being the starting the safety and not worry about working to try to be the fourth corner as well. That’s a wise move.

Ball has had a productive camp in the way that he has been able to play with range from his free safety spot.

The preseason games will most likely determine who that fourth corner is, but from what I viewed Saturday, Cletis Gordon appears to be that man over rookies Jamar Wall and Bryan McCann. Gordon’s advantage going into camp was that he was with the team in 2009 and had played for Wade Phillips before.

Earlier in my thoughts, I spoke of the interception he was able to secure off Romo in the red zone by not dropping coverage in the end zone, staying with his man, then driving on the ball. Not just Saturday but overall, Gordon has played with a nose for the ball where Wall and McCann have had their mistakes, which will happen to rookies from time to time.

The most important thing in all of this is that the Cowboys find someone that allows Ball just to be a safety and right now Gordon would get my nod.

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