Saturday, August 4, 2012
Calvin Watkins' practice report
By Calvin Watkins
OXNARD, Calif. -- Here are some thoughts from the rainy Friday practice:
*Dez Bryant is simply fantastic out here. He has just two dropped passes in four days of practices and made a wonderful one-handed grab over Orlando Scandrick in the afternoon session. It seems Bryant is having no issues with his routes or assignments. One thing of note is the noise. Bryant is quieter than he's been in the first two seasons in the league. Maybe his pending legal issue is humbling him a bit or he's just focused on not making any mistakes.
*There was a nice battle going on simultaneously between a pair of players. Left tackle Tyron Smith knocked DeMarcus Ware down on a pass rush move off the edge and Mario Butler, yeah, Mario Butler locked down Bryant in tight man coverage. On the ensuing play, Ware was slowed up again by Smith, and Bryant -- probably still upset over the previous play -- head-slapped Butler as he tried to get into his route. Butler also made a nice pass breakup on a throw to Miles Austin.
*With Anthony Spencer out with a hamstring injury, Victor Butler is getting snaps with the first team and he picked off a Tony Romo pass that bounced off the umpire. "Tell the ref to get out of the way," Romo yelled after the play was over.
*We've finally seen Adrian Hamilton make a play. He stopped Lance Dunbar for a loss. If Hamilton is to make this team, he's got to produce against the backups and when given a chance on special teams, make tackles.
*The steady rain might have led to a botched snap from David Arkin and Stephen McGee also miss-handled a throw when he picked up another fumble after a bad snap.
*Andre Holmes' first practice was fine. He did have one drop, but continues to run good routes over the middle. Yet, when running down the sidelines, he allows the cornerback to push him away from the field. When this happen he doesn't give himself room to make leaping catches. Brandon Carr locked him down along the sidelines for a deep pass. Holmes jumped up and made a catch, but landed out of bounds because he didn't give himself enough room.
*Good to see linebacker Orie Lemon make back-to-back pass breakups against McGee. Both throws were to tight ends Andrew Szczerba and James Hanna. Lemon later had an interception. It was his best day of training camp.
*Scandrick is a good slot corner, but outside, he struggles. His lack of height, 5-10, against taller receivers hurts him, too, as was the case when Bryant jumped over him to make a catch. Bryant beat Scandrick down the field by just out running him along the sidelines for another deep reception. In the slot, Scandrick has more control in a tight space so this is where he succeeds.
*Pat McQuistan did a good job at tackle Friday. He handled a charging Aston Whiteside on a blitz by knocking him to the ground. And when another defender came inside on a blitz, McQuistan's hand placement allowed him push him aside.
*Brodney Pool got some early work with the third and fourth teams defenses but he was eventually moved up to the first and second units.
*Before he was cleared to practice by passing his conditioning test, Gerald Sensabaugh got some first-team snaps wearing his helmet and shorts while the rest of the group was in fullpads. The early portion of practice was at half-speed.