Scout's Eye: Oxnard Day 6
My thoughts from Thursday's practice:
* Was interested how much the offensive staff would scheme in practice to help Robert Brewster at right tackle. From the looks of things, he will not be left out on an island too much. During team periods, Brewster had Jason Witten to his side or Witten and Deon Anderson there together.
Offensive line coach Hudson Houck told me Wednesday that the staff would have to be smart and call plays with the situation at right tackle in mind. Brewster and Sam Young have been working together at the spot since the injury to Marc Colombo. Young is a guy that I feel has a real chance to develop. His background is impressive and he appears to be a very hard worker. Young doesn’t play with pretty technique or power but like the way he tries to finish his blocks. His effort helps him more than talent right now.
Brewster has a guard's build, and his footwork might one day lead him to the move inside. To be a tackle in the NFL, you need quickness and solid footwork. Slow feet equal sacks. Brewster will need to fight hard in this Chargers game, not to be slow out of his stance, and not get overextended in his pass set. When you get overextended, all your weight is forward and the rusher has a chance to grab your pads and work by you.
Brewster needs to be patient, keep his shoulders back and deliver a punch. Wade Phillips spoke that he thought that Brewster played with good balance. We'll see Saturday night if his assessment of his young tackle is correct.
* Wide receiver Jesse Holley was back at practice Thursday. Wasn't surprised at this one bit, and my reasoning is that Holley knows he is fighting for a roster spot and there is a real chance that he could make this team in the role currently held by Sam Hurd. This is a business decision for Holley, because he knows if that if he is not on the field and practicing, his opportunity could slip away.
Holley was moving around well enough during the light practice and appeared to be running well with the trainers Wednesday. Full speed game day might hold a different fate. Phillips said he wasn’t sure if Holley could go against the Chargers, but there is a side of me that believes that he will make every effort to make that happen. His job might depend on it.
* Safety Alan Ball is doing and saying the right things about his job as the starting free safety for this club. He plays very relaxed, and his ease of movement and quickness to react has made him a favorite among his defensive back teammates. When Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick speak of Ball, it’s in confidence that he can more than get the job done.
When asked if quickness or eyes was more important for a safety, Ball didn’t hesitate to answer eyes. When you play safety, you need to see the whole field. Quickness takes you to the play, but your eyes get you started.
There are those that worry about Ball's size or lack of weight. I am not one of those. Ball will not be asked to be a physical tackler. That role will fall to Gerald Sensabaugh.
What the Cowboys need Ball to do is play with range, use his eyes to see the field and react to the play. Ball is a willing tackler and, if called on, can drag you down. A free safety with range and the ball skills of a corner is a valuable asset, and that is what Alan Ball is.
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