Scout's Eye: Oxnard Day 8

August, 24, 2010
8/24/10
10:10
AM ET

My thoughts from Monday’s practice:

*Wade Phillips has been consistent with the way he has practiced his squad here at camp since they have begun to play these preseason games. The second day after a game, he has the squad in caps and jerseys.

This was what I call a corrections practice. This was the first opportunity for the coaches to get with the players after viewing the game tape and work on any mistakes that would made in the San Diego game. The practice serves two purposes in that it allows the player’s bodies an extra day to recover before getting back into a 2-a-day practice on Tuesday and like mentioned before, work on mistakes or put in more of the offense and defensive scheme.
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The offense had a chance to work red zone, which has become the hot topic of conversation along with the lack of a consistent running game. The defense countered the offense with their dime packages and were effective the majority of the time with their first defense.

Where the offense got the better of the defense was when the second defense went into the drill and cornerback Cletis Gordon got caught peeking in the backfield as wide receiver Jesse Holley broke for the corner of the end zone to receive a touchdown pass on a nice throw and catch.

It was interesting to me that Phillips and the defensive staff had safety Danny McCray working the first dime group. McCray was a special teams ace in the San Diego game but did a poor job in coverage along with Cletis Gordon that allowed a big throw and catch by the Chargers on a misplayed coverage.

McCray and Barry Church have both been impressive enough to consider them potential 53-man roster candidates. Early in camp, McCray appeared to be the better of the two coverage wise. Not just because of McCray’s mistake, but Church has gained some ground some on McCray in that area.

On another note, Patrick Watkins was back at practice today after missing games and practices with a knee injury. There are several factors that are working against Watkins in his quest to make this final roster: his injury history, the play of the young safeties and his salary.

*Offensive tackle Alex Barron returned to practice after he too missed two games and several practices with an ankle injury. Barron was brought in to play the swing tackle as a better option for the club in case that Doug Free or Marc Colombo suffered an injury.

At the time of the signing, I thought it was a very smart move to bring him in because Robert Brewster surely wasn’t ready. But at least the club had the opportunity to see Brewster not only play right tackle but left as well.

Barron was put into the starting lineup at right tackle Monday. Barron has played both sides in his career, so this is nothing new for him.

The games I studied him were against the Saints and Vikings, but he was playing left tackle in both. It will be interesting watching Barron play the right side in the running game. He is a 318-pound man, but he is very lean and not always powerful. Barron likes to use his feet to help block the defender out of the play more so than power.

Would not be a bit surprised if you see the offense take more of an edge attack, trying to get the ball outside of Barron instead of a power game behind him. Now the Cowboys offensive line has a makeup of two good foot athletes at tackle and two large bodies on the inside at guard.

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