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Scout’s Eye: Ready To See Free At Guard; Vet Safety Impressive
ARLINGTON, Texas - Some thoughts from practice at AT&T Stadium:
- There does not appear to be any concern from Jason Garrett in regards to Jason Hatcher going from the under tackle to the nose once Jay Ratliff returns to practice. It’s Garrett's belief that because Hatcher has shown position flexibility throughout his career that the transition should not be a problem. What has to give Garrett and this staff confidence is how well Hatcher has played over all in this camp. I still will be interested to see how this switch goes.
- There is no doubt in my mind that we will see Doug Free lined up at right guard at some point and time in this game against the Bengals. If Free had been struggling at tackle during this camp, I believe there is no way the staff would have made this adjustment.
What my concern about with this move is not so much about Free but how well will Jeremy Parnell play at right tackle. Just from what I have seen, Parnell is not moving as well as we had observed from him last season. I don't if the knee is still bother him but he is just not bending well enough that area. What you need to watch for is if he doesn't sit lower in his set that he becomes over extended and that will be the sure sign that he will struggle with the rusher.
- Kevin Kowalski is back in the mix with the offensive line after missing several practices in California having suffered an injury to his knee cap. For Kowalski, I don't believe it's too late to make a run at a roster spot because the one position that I believe is unsettled is what this front office is going to do with backup spots along this offensive line.
In the practices since his return, he has been getting reps at both guard spots and center as well. At this point David Arkin is ahead of him but the flexibility of Kowalski is inviting for that last roster spot on the line. Arkin can play center but it’s not his best position matter of fact, I cannot remember him taking snaps at center where he played extensively in all of training camp last season. The one trait that Arkin has over Kowalski is his size and Garrett has made it clear that is something to note where comparing the players.
- On the injury front had a chance to visit with Morris Claiborne after practice and he was encouraged by the work that he was able to accomplish in the heat at Valley Ranch. He said that the soreness in the knee is going away and he was able to do some cutting on it which is a much better sign than what we had heard before about his condition.
Orlando Scandrick was back at practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday with a slight groin injury. Scandrick did not appear to struggle when turning or adjusting to movement in routes. There were even a couple of reps where he was able to handle Dez Bryant in the Red Zone period of practice and didn't appear to be favoring the injury at all.
The defensive coaches are still attempting to get as many reps as possible for B.W. Webb before these practices in training camp run out because once the regular season starts, he will most likely just working on the scout teams unless something changes with the other cornerbacks ahead of him.
- I am still continued to be impressed with the play I have seen from Will Allen. Through these practices there just appears to be a nice fit in this scheme for him but also in the way he is working with Barry Church.
Allen just plays with an air of confidence. There is no struggle to cover ground or wasted motion when asked to handle coverage. In the Thursday practice, he once again did an outstanding job of handling Miles Austin on a crossing route through the end zone where Tony Romo had no place to deliver the ball. Last week in the Arizona game, he was right there with Orlando Scandrick to knock the ball away on the goal line.
With Allen you are getting a steady, calm player that understands where he needs to position himself on the field whether it is as a single high player or a two deep man off the hash, he is finding ways to be in the right spot. Where this organization has struggled through the years, is finding a safety that not only showed range in coverage but was able to make plays on the ball. With Will Allen, they have appeared to taken a step in the right direction.