OXNARD, Calif. -- Sunday was Blue-White scrimmage day for the second- and third-teamers, but there was plenty of good situation work for the regulars to more than fill out the daily observation deck.
The Cowboys announced an Oxnard record attendance of 9,008 for the scrimmage. Fans piled in for the workout and were delayed in their attempt to get to the fields because a beehive needed to be removed.
Now on to the observations:
** In team red zone drills, TE Jason Witten had back-to-back touchdown catches. He ran away from LB Dan Connor on an out route then sprinted into the end zone. The next score was the typical Romo-to-Witten play. With the pocket collapsing, Romo moved around to buy some time. Witten also kept moving, finding a spot in the back of the end zone that was free. The throw was to Witten’s back shoulder, and the seven-time Pro Bowler showed great body control in making the grab.
** With Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar hurting, rookie RB Ed Wesley will get a chance to make an impression. The first thing he must do is catch the ball better on toss plays. He dropped one in the walkthrough and one in the afternoon.
** LB Sean Lee was active in the first seven-on-seven period, flinging RB DeMarco Murray to the ground after a swing pass in which the tailback attempted to give a bigger hit that expected. Four plays later, he was able to break up a possible touchdown pass at the pylon to rookie TE James Hanna, covering a lot of ground.
** It’s not easy being a replacement official. They were at practice for the second straight day and heard it from players. Romo wanted a pass interference penalty on Scandrick on the aforementioned play. Witten let his feelings be known when LB Victor Butler held him while turning for a pass in a two-minute drill.
** Kyle Orton was on fire with six touchdown passes. He had three to undrafted WR Tim Benford and one each to Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley and Donavon Kemp. He could have had two more if Harris held on to a red-zone throw and if Kevin Ogletree was able to get his feet inbounds by the back of the end zone.
** K Dan Bailey made all of his kicks during situational work in the two-minute drills and in the 20-play scrimmage. He ended the scrimmage with a 20-yard kick.
** If you’re looking for two impressive rookies from the scrimmage, look no further than DE Tyrone Crawford, who showed exceptional burst off the ball, and LB Kyle Wilber. They both recorded sacks of QB Stephen McGee. Crawford plays stronger than most rookie defensive linemen. Wilber’s best asset is his ability to bend and move, but he can get smothered when he tries to use his power.
** Tough time for rookie CB Isaac Madison in the scrimmage. He was beaten by Kemp on a slant and missed the tackle, allowing extra yards. He was beaten down the sideline by Kemp later and was flagged for pass interference on Beasley in the end zone.
** Beasley’s return to practice was rather seamless. He returned punts in the scrimmage. He caught a touchdown pass. He worked the slot and even did a nice job as a blocker. It was as if he never left.