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Monday, August 1, 2011
Scout's Eye: Good signs from young O-line

By Bryan Broaddus

SAN ANTONIO -- The young offensive linemen had one of their better days here early in camp for the Cowboys.

Scout's Eye
Since Jason Garrett put the pads on the players on Saturday, Sam Young, Tyron Smith and David Arkin have been much more productive than when the team was just working in shells. In the 9-on-7 drill, which is all running and an advantage for the defense, this group was able to get push at the point of attack, allowing the backs to make simple reads attacking holes and creases.

On the first play of the series, Young was left one-on-one with weak side linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who we all know as one of the better run defenders because of his ability to fire his hands inside, control the blocker and shed to make the play. On this play Young was able to fire off on the snap, engage Ware, keep his pad level down and not allow Ware to shed the block until Felix Jones was able to get the ball outside the edge and into space for a nice gain.

Another example of this group’s work was in the specialty period when Garrett had the offense working with limited time and trying to work the ball into field goal range. Young and Smith were left to deal with Ware and Spencer rushing off the edge. Both were able to hold their ground, play technique and not allow any type of pressure on Tony Romo. In this situation, pressure or a sack equals failure and neither surrendered.

*Wide receiver Dwayne Harris is just a football player, plain and simple. In college film there was nothing flashy about his game and watching him practice the last several days it is consistent with what I had observed.

By no means is Harris a burner or gifted quick, but he manages to buy a little separation in route and when the ball is thrown his direction, even in traffic, he can make a secure catch.

He played the slot in college for East Carolina and is getting the opportunity to do the same with the Cowboys. Really like the way he is carrying himself on the practice field here in the opening stages.

The one thing rookie receivers must handle as camp wears on is hitting the wall mentally and physically. It gets difficult when the legs get tired and there are too many plays in the brain. The good ones are able to fight through all of the issues, continue to grow and be productive.

Harris will also see action as a punt returner as well. It was an area that he had a nice feel for and something I am sure this staff would like to see him handle.

*With Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray not practicing because of leg injuries, Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner are making the most of their opportunities to showcase their talents for the front office and coaches. I have been impressed with the ability of both of these backs to run the football.

Miller in scouting terms looks a little “high cut” -- long legs and short trunk. Tanner is more square and powerfully built. Miller can get the ball to the outside with a surprising burst, while Tanner can take the ball right at you with some explosiveness. Have seen both backs receive the handoff, search the hole and make a cut through traffic.

Both have been used in the passing game to catch the ball on screens and checkdowns with some success.

If there was an area of concern on one play for me, it was when Tanner missed a blitz pickup on the outside that would have been a sack on the quarterback. The one thing you can not do as a running back when given the opportunity to play is to miss assignments in the passing game, because you will find yourself on the bench or on the inactive list each week.

Backs that are complete players are able to do all three. Carry the football, catch when needed and protect in the passing game when it comes to helping offensive linemen or being used in blitz pickup. If you do not block, you do not play, it’s as simple as that.
SAN ANTONIO -- The young offensive linemen had one of their better days here early in camp for the Cowboys.

Since Jason Garrett put the pads on the players on Saturday, Sam Young, Tyron Smith and David Arkin have been much more productive than when the team was just working in shells. In the 9-on-7 drill, which is all running and an advantage for the defense, this group was able to get push at the point of attack, allowing the backs to make simple reads attacking holes and creases.

On the first play of the series, Young was left one-on-one with weak side linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who we all know as one of the better run defenders because of his ability to fire his hands inside, control the blocker and shed to make the play. On this play Young was able to fire off on the snap, engage Ware, keep his pad level down and not allow Ware to shed the block until Felix Jones was able to get the ball outside the edge and into space for a nice gain.

Another example of this group’s work was in the specialty period when Garrett had the offense working with limited time and trying to work the ball into field goal range. Young and Smith were left to deal with Ware and Spencer rushing off the edge. Both were able to hold their ground, play technique and not allow any type of pressure on Tony Romo. In this situation, pressure or a sack equals failure and neither surrendered.

*Wide receiver Dwayne Harris is just a football player, plain and simple. In college film there was nothing flashy about his game and watching him practice the last several days it is consistent with what I had observed.

By no means is Harris a burner or gifted quick, but he manages to buy a little separation in route and when the ball is thrown his direction, even in traffic, he can make a secure catch.

He played the slot in college for East Carolina and is getting the opportunity to do the same with the Cowboys. Really like the way he is carrying himself on the practice field here in the opening stages.

The one thing rookie receivers must handle as camp wears on is hitting the wall mentally and physically. It gets difficult when the legs get tired and there are too many plays in the brain. The good ones are able to fight through all of the issues, continue to grow and be productive.

Harris will also see action as a punt returner as well. It was an area that he had a nice feel for and something I am sure this staff would like to see him handle.

*With Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray not practicing because of leg injuries, Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner are making the most of their opportunities to showcase their talents for the front office and coaches. I have been impressed with the ability of both of these backs to run the football.

Miller in scouting terms looks a little “high cut” -- long legs and short trunk. Tanner is more square and powerfully built. Miller can get the ball to the outside with a surprising burst, while Tanner can take the ball right at you with some explosiveness. Have seen both backs receive the handoff, search the hole and make a cut through traffic.

Both have been used in the passing game to catch the ball on screens and checkdowns with some success.

If there was an area of concern on one play for me, it was when Tanner missed a blitz pickup on the outside that would have been a sack on the quarterback. The one thing you can not do as a running back when given the opportunity to play is to miss assignments in the passing game, because you will find yourself on the bench or on the inactive list each week.

Backs that are complete players are able to do all three. Carry the football, catch when needed and protect in the passing game when it comes to helping offensive linemen or being used in blitz pickup. If you do not block, you do not play, it’s as simple as that.