Monday, July 30, 2012
Camp observations: Tony Romo opens 19 of 29
By Todd Archer
OXNARD, Calif. – If you’re scoring at home, Tony Romo completed 19 of 29 passes in team and seven-on-seven drills during the Cowboys’ first training camp practice of 2012.
Romo completed 10 passes to wide receivers, with Dez Bryant his favorite target, five to running backs and four to tight ends.
Backup quarterback Kyle Orton completed 11 of 15 passes and was intercepted once.
On to the observations:
** On the first play of the fourth period of team drills, LB DeMarcus Ware was unblocked and was able to make a stop of RB DeMarco Murray behind the line of scrimmage. Murray tried to spin away but Ware would have made the play.
** Murray can be an effective receiver in the screen game. On a throw to the left, he had the perfect balance of speed and patience before jetting away from LB Dan Connor, and allowing his linemen to get on their blocks.
** Rookie CB Morris Claiborne knew he would get some work from the offense early in camp and he wasn’t disappointed. He was beaten on a post by Dwayne Harris, but Romo’s pass was a tad long. His best play of practice came on a deeper Romo throw to Kevin Ogletree in which he fended off the wide receiver by making Ogletree widen his route.
** LB Victor Butler had a would-be sack of Orton after blowing by rookie TE Andrew Szczerba, but overall the pass protection from the offense was not bad.
** With S Gerald Sensabaugh sitting out the afternoon practice as he works back from knee surgery earlier this month, Danny McCray worked with the No.1 defense alongside Barry Church. Brodney Pool would have figured into that spot had he passed the conditioning test.
** LB Orie Lemon had an interception of Orton, stepping in front of TE John Phillips on a hot route. Lemon will be fighting for one of the final inside linebacker spots. He spent last year on the practice squad.
** WR Saalim Hakim had a rough start to the rookie minicamp with some drops but he has started to catch some eyes. He made a nice grab on a crossing route on a throw from Stephen McGee, snatching it away from a defender, and then sprinted by two defenders for a nice run after catch. He might be the fastest receiver on the roster.
** New offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan put his linemen through an interesting drill in which they held taped-up towels under their arms as they shuffled from side to side. The thinking is for the linemen to keep their arms inside so they do not get extended, which can lead to holding penalties.
** K Dan Bailey started training camp the way you would expect him to with five made field goals. Bailey connected on kicks from 20, 25, 35, 38 and 41 yards. Bailey even handled some heckling at the close of the first-team offense’s final drive by nailing a long kick while LB Sean Lee was yelling, “Timeout, timeout.” Delbert Alvarado, who is also doing some punting, went 4-of-5, missing from 41 yards.
** P Chris Jones got off to a rough start with several side-footed punts and short kicks. The Cowboys’ decision to not re-sign Mat McBriar will put more eyes than normal on Jones, who did a decent job filling in for McBriar last season for two games.
** DE Kenyon Coleman chose not to wear cleats or tennis shoes to the morning walkthrough. The veteran wore five-toe shoes, like a glove for his feet, which must be comfortable if not adding much support.