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Thursday, June 14, 2012
Camp observations: Dunbar, Beasley catch eye

By Todd Archer

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys closed the three-day minicamp at Cowboys Stadium and we will close out the observations for the offseason here with some thoughts. Fear not, the observations will be back when training camp begins.

Here we go:

** If there was an eye-catching player Thursday it was rookie RB Lance Dunbar. The North Texas product has speed and took the snaps that had been going to Phillip Tanner in the offseason. In one goal line run, Dunbar simply ran away from the defense to the corner of the end zone.

** WR Cole Beasley showed some toughness Thursday by practicing after hurting his knee Wednesday. He always made a nice grab down the middle of the field from QB Rudy Carpenter, slowing down slightly to use his body to create separation from S Justin Taplin-Ross. Maybe a pass interference penalty could have been called, but Beasley showed some savvy.

** Earlier WR Kevin Ogletree tried to do the same on CB Lionel Smith, but let a Tony Romo deep ball bounce off his hands for an incompletion.

** It was a struggle for QB Stephen McGee after putting together a pretty good Wednesday workout. McGee held on to the ball too long in red zone drills and was late on some throws down the field. In the two-minute drill he threw five straight passes to WR Andre Holmes and completed only one of them. The completion came on a fourth-and-long.

** On a fourth-and-short play, Romo forced a throw to TE John Phillips on a bootleg that was intercepted by LB Sean Lee. Bad throw? Maybe but given the situation -- they needed to score a touchdown late in the game -- it was an all or nothing play.

** On the third play of the team period, Romo was able to find WR Dez Bryant deep while being covered by CB Brandon Carr and S Brodney Pool. Carr looked to be in decent position but Pool was just off, allowing the completion. It might not have happened, however, in a real game with DeMarcus Ware bringing pressure off the edge.

** Rookie TE James Hanna seemed to come along well this week in the mini-camp, catching more passes in the three days than he had in the organized team activities.

** LB Victor Butler did a nice job of fighting off Tyron Smith on a screen pass to Phillips. If Smith makes the block, then the offense would have scored a touchdown.

** With Isaac Madison sitting because of a sore shoulder, fellow undrafted CB Lionel Smith worked with the first team nickel and dime packages and did a nice job. He was in position on a number of plays and was able to break up a pass in the end zone from Romo to Holmes in seven-on-seven drills.

** Injured rookie WR Danny Coale appeared to be talking about punting steps with kicking coach Chris Boniol at one point during practice. Coale did some punting at Virginia Teach. He also worked on some field goal holds, too.

** Secondary coach Jerome Henderson played catch with some youngsters who were on the field as part of a tour of the stadium while the players stretched.