OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys began their final week in California with a spirited practice that saw the defense come away with three takeaways.
On to the observations:
** Tony Romo was intercepted three times in team and seven-on-seven drills. His first pick came on a deep throw to WR Dez Bryant that Barry Church was able to play center field on, but DE George Selvie would have had a sack before the pass. The second came on a deflection off Jason Witten’s hands into Sean Lee’s arms in seven-on-seven. The third came on a forced red-zone throw that deflected off CB Brandon Carr to LB Bruce Carter.
**DT Jason Hatcher had one of his best practices. In the team compete period, he had a sack of Romo. In situational work, he had what appeared to be two tackles for loss on RB Lance Dunbar. Hatcher also had a pressure that led to Carter’s takeaway.
** On the day Romo went 14 of 19. He ended the situational work with a touchdown to Witten and had the offense in position for a game-winning field goal, but Dan Bailey’s attempt hit the left upright from 52 yards.
** TE James Hanna had a productive day with one nice grab on tight end screen that got him in the open field. He also made a terrific back-shoulder catch of a Romo throw after beating CB Brandon Carr at the line.
** Most of the time, practice field fights aren’t real fights since players break things up before punches get thrown. That wasn’t the case Sunday when RB Phillip Tanner and LB Tank Reed exchanged blows after a dustup in one-on-one pass-rush drills. Reed lost his helmet before the scuffle, which left him at a serious disadvantage. The animosity didn’t last long as the players slapped five after the drill ended.
** Backup QB Kyle Orton was sharp, completing 12 of 15 passes. He had two touchdown passes to WR Anthony Armstrong, who continues his push to make the roster. On the first, Orton found Armstrong with a back-shoulder throw that allowed the receiver to make an adjustment behind CB Micah Pellerin. The second was a bullet throw in zone coverage that Armstrong ate up.
** Offside penalties have been an issue in the two preseason games. They were Sunday, too. Landon Cohen (who has jumped offside in both preseason games), Ben Bass and Kyle Wilber all had offside penalties Sunday. Cohen and Bass were pulled after their infractions.
** Practicing for the first time since Aug. 2, WR Terrance Williams had a good day, beating Xavier Brewer on a deep ball in one-on-one work. He also showed he wasn’t afraid to go across the middle, catching a dig route from Romo while taking a pretty good hit from Church.