Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Cowboys wake-up call: Day 6
By Todd Archer
OXNARD, Calif. -- Every day of Dallas Cowboys training camp we’ll offer up a wake-up call that offers a quick review of the previous day and a preview of the current day.
Today’s schedule: The Cowboys return to the practice field at 3:45 p.m. PT/6:45 p.m. ET. Jason Garrett will have his news conference at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.
Quick thoughts on two padded practices:
What I’m watching:
- The Cowboys have attacked down the field offensively. Dez Bryant has run a ton of go-routes already and the percentages have been pretty good. But it’s not just Bryant. Terrance Williams has a deep reception. Jason Witten is working the seams. If this keeps up, there is no doubt Tony Romo's yards per attempt will be a lot better than last year’s figure: 7.2.
- Through the first couple of days the Cowboys have excelled with their nickel runs. I’ve long believed DeMarco Murray is better out of 11 personnel or even 12 if the tight end is flexed. It just creates more lanes for him.
- I keep waiting for one of the backup cornerbacks to step up. Sterling Moore had an interception of Romo on Sunday, but it came in part because Devin Street slipped. Terrance Mitchell showed up well in the minicamp but has been a little quiet so far. Tyler Patmon and Dashaun Phillips have had a couple of moments. Still waiting for B.W. Webb to come around.
- Bryant gets so much of the receiver attention, but one guy that has caught my eye is Jamar Newsome. He spent time on the practice squad last season. He fits what the Cowboys want size-wise at receiver at 6-foot-1, 206 pounds. He can run through defenders. He has made some contested catches. It’s early in camp, but could he have staying power?
They said it: “We’re out here for just over three weeks and the weather obviously is significantly better than it would be in Dallas at this time, so we feel like we can come out here and just get our work done. I do think there is a bonding opportunity whenever you’re away and you’re just working together. We’ve talked a lot about shared commitment for a common goal, and if you think about that in your lives, whether it’s in sports or out, if you’re involved with someone or a group of people and you have a shared commitment for a single purpose, somehow, some way working through those good times and those bad times helps bond you. I think that’s what training camp is all about and what it’s been about for a long time, and I don’t think that’s any different right now.” -- Jason Garrett on if it is necessary for teams to get away from home for camp these days.
- Practices can always be a little sloppy after the first day. When the Cowboys did not have a morning walk-through for the first time last week, the practice was not as crisp in the afternoon. Coming back from a day of rest, it will be interesting to see how the players respond.
- The Cowboys have talked a lot about their hopes for a defensive line rotation in 2014. I want to take a look at those guys fitting in the rotation, like Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain, Ben Bass and second-rounder DeMarcus Lawrence. For a young player, Lawrence plays with good power. I want to see Kyle Wilber in pass-rush drills. In the nickel defense he comes off the field as a linebacker, but he could have a pass-rusher role with his hand on the ground, too.
- Scott Linehan is a big focus of this camp. I want to look at how he works the practice from his quarterbacks to receivers to tight ends to backs. A lot of players speak highly of his work.