OXNARD, Calif. -- Maybe news of possible interest in Plaxico Burress was a good thing for the Dallas Cowboys’ young untested receivers because Thursday’s practice was a good one for the hopefuls.
On to Practice 9 observations with a heavy look at the passing game.
** Tony Romo was sharp after the quarterbacks got a chance to rest their arms Tuesday and Wednesday. Romo completed 14-of-21 passes with his best coming on a corner route to TE Jason Witten in 7-on-7 after LB Sean Lee tripped. Unofficially, Romo has completed 152-of-233 passes in team and 7-on-7 drills in camp.
** WR Cole Beasley got his first taste of action with the first unit in the slot and the undrafted kid just made plays. He had a false start as well, but he caught a touchdown pass from Romo, working the slot near the goal line on CB Orlando Scandrick.
** TE James Hanna had his best day in the passing game, catching five passes, including a 7-on-7 touchdown from QB Kyle Orton. Working the middle of the field, he was able to get a step on LB Orie Lemon to give Orton a window for a throw. The best part of the catch was how Hanna quickly brought the ball to his body so Lemon could not poke the ball free.
** Orton is making throws that you have not seen by a Cowboys backup quarterback since Romo held that job. In the two-minute drill, he stared own the pass rush and perfectly floated a flag route to WR Andre Holmes for a catch near the sideline. The reception led to a game-tying field goal by Dan Bailey as time expired. Orton is 96-of-143 in team and 7-on-7 drills.
** At 6-4, Holmes does not always use his body to his advantage. He did on a fade throw from QB Stephen McGee on the final play of team drills. Holmes was able to out-leap CB C.J. Wilson, pull the ball in and hold on as he fell to the ground. Earlier in camp, he allowed Scandrick to rip the ball out.
** WR Tim Benford has a nice feel for the game, working back to the quarterback when necessary. He did just that coming across the field in Orton’s two-minute drill two snaps before Holmes’ deep catch. The coaches like what the undrafted WR from Tennessee Tech has done.
** LBs Lemon and Adrian Hamilton struggled in coverage in some out and up routes by FBs Shaun Chapas and Jamize Olawale. They were unable to close the gap at the beginning and took bad angles in recovery.
** Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Bailey was perfect on seven kicks. He has missed one kick all camp. He calmly drilled a 40-yarder in a “mayday” situation.
** Scandrick struggled early in practice, giving up a go route to WR Dez Bryant and he slipped in underneath coverage on WR Dwayne Harris. A few plays later, he was called for pass interference on Beasley. The call might have been a little questionable, but one that is made a lot in the NFL.