Camp observations: Gutsy call by Bill Callahan

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
8:00
AM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- Bill Callahan will be under a lot of scrutiny as the playcaller for the Cowboys this season. Monday’s practice was a good day for him.

He showed some guts.

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With the first-team offense trailing 24-20 and facing fourth down from the 2 with less than 10 seconds to play, Callahan called for a DeMarco Murray run, and he was able to score the winning touchdown. The defense was looking for a pass but the line got a good push off the ball and Murray made a good read to cut back to get into the end zone.

•  Practice was a little shorter than normal. The third-team offense and defense did not get any situational snaps during the regular workout, only the blue period.

•  Tony Romo would like one throw back from the entire day, one on which he was intercepted by LB Caleb McSurdy. With time to throw, Romo attempted to force a pass down the field, but it was not high enough to get over McSurdy. The QB was visibly frustrated by the decision. Romo went 12-for-21 in team and seven-on-seven drills in practice.

•  TE Jason Witten continues to excel in the red zone. He plucked a pass from Romo off Sean Lee’s helmet, pulled it into his body and was able to hang on as he slammed to the ground.

•  LB Bruce Carter had the most athletic play of the day. In one-on-one drills, he was able to leap, spin in midair and reach up for a one-handed interception on a Nick Stephens throw to RB Phillip Tanner. Even his teammates were stunned at the smooth play.

•  You want to see rookies improve. After beating LB Alex Albright out of the backfield, RB Joseph Randle dropped a perfectly floated ball down the middle that caused RB coach Gary Brown to shake his head. On Randle’s next route, he beat LB Ernie Sims on the same route and made the catch.

•  On the second series of situational work after Murray’s touchdown, Sims made sure it was a short drive by forcing a Murray fumble with a solid thump right on the ball. DE DeMarcus Ware recovered the loose ball for the turnover.

•  DE Kyle Wilber blew up RB Lance Dunbar on a toss to the left but was aided by the fact that LT Darrion Weems chose not to block him. As soon as Dunbar took the pitch, Wilber hit him.

•  S Eric Frampton came up with a deflection of a seam throw to TE Gavin Escobar, firing out his left hand across the tight end’s arms to make the play. Later Escobar was able to shake off a similar play from S Matt Johnson to come down with the reception.

•  TE Andre Smith was off to a good start to camp in large part because the blocking tight end was catching every pass thrown his way. It was brought to Jason Garrett’s attention at his news conference, and then Smith dropped two passes in the afternoon session.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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