Monday, June 2, 2014
Dallas OTA observations: Defense wins late
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- Here are some observations from the Dallas Cowboys’ organized team activities on Monday:
• The Nos. 1 and 2 defenses came up with wins in the two-minute drills against the offense. Linebacker Justin Durant broke up a fourth-down pass from Brandon Weeden to Jason Witten. Weeden was late with a third-down throw to Dez Bryant that could have been a big gain.
• The second-team defense had two would-be sacks to close out their two-minute drill. Martez Wilson came unblocked after the defense blitzed from the strong side.
• Linebacker Kyle Wilber showed some position flexibility by moving to left defensive end in the two-minute drills. He was at least able to battle to a draw with Doug Free.
• Cornerback Morris Claiborne took part in team drills after being limited to individual drills during the first OTA open to the media. With the Cowboys working mostly in their nickel defense, Claiborne got a lot of work on the outside, but Orlando Scandrick continued to work with the starters.
• Wide receiver Terrance Williams had two drops in the early part of practice but came up with a nice sideline catch on a throw from Weeden with safety J.J. Wilcox late with some help.
• Safety Jakar Hamilton came up with a nice pass breakup on a crossing route by Jamar Newsome on a throw from quarterback Caleb Hanie.
• Running back Lance Dunbar killed the backup linebackers in 7-on-7 drills. He ran away from Keith Smith on an underneath route. He lined up in the backfield, in the slot and even motioned wide. Dunbar has the look of a space player Scott Linehan has excelled with in the past in special circumstances.
• Jason Witten was a late arrival to practice because his son had minor surgery Monday. Witten said his son is fine and he was able to take part in all of the team work. Backup tight end Gavin Escobar did not practice because of a sore back. He said he banged his knee in practice last week but that is OK.
• Wide receiver Dwayne Harris did not take part in any offensive team drills but he did return punts during the special teams portion of practice.
• New defensive tackle Terrell McClain showed some burst up the middle to stop a run by DeMarco Murray while playing the three technique. He also played the nose tackle spot for a few snaps with Nick Hayden sitting out.