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Scout’s Eye: Three Young Players Who Stepped Up
IRVING, Texas – Having spent the night with the Baltimore tape, I wrote up a short list of standouts from the preseason loss. All three of these guys either newcomers or fringe guys trying to earn a roster spot. On Saturday night, they put their best foot forward.
- Jamar Newsome started very well when we opened training camp in California, but there was a period where he struggled to make plays. Against the Ravens, he was back to his playmaking self. I have always been impressed with his physical makeup. No disrespect to guys like Cole Beasley or Steve Smith, but when you have a player that can make plays on the outside by going and getting the ball wherever it’s
thrown, that’s the guy I want on my team. Newsome is not the type of player that will ever run away from a defender, but when you have body control and balance, it makes all the difference in the world. Where I thought that Newsome really showed up was in his ability to make the contested catch. There were several snaps where the defensive back had position on him, but he was able to make a slight adjustment with his body to finish the play. It didn’t matter which quarterback was in the game, they smartly put the ball in his direction.
- Zack Minter was not on this roster when the week began, but I promise you if you watched this game against the Ravens, you know who he is now. I will say this about Minter and his game: It did not start well for him. As a matter of fact, he was simply not very good at all when the Ravens opened the second half on that drive where they gashed the Cowboys defense. He looked slow and out of shape in the way that he took on blocks entirely too high and without any leverage at all. Coming off the field after that drive, I saw a player that looked like he had no business on a NFL roster. I was starting to doubt myself in what I had seen from his Bears tape of 2013. In those games, his pad level, effort and overall power was noticeable in a positive way. I don’t know what clicked for him after that initial drive, but whatever it was, he was a different player. That player from the Bears tape showed up in a big way and has now put himself in a position where these coaches will continue to play him to see if he can make this 53-man roster.
- Devin Street might be a rookie, but he is becoming a very fast learner. He has had his days during these practices when he has been outstanding and others when you would have never known if he was on the field. What I have really enjoyed in watching these receivers play for Derek Dooley is how they have all unselfishly become tough guys when it comes to blocking. I have been waiting for Street to take his turn when it comes to the job that no receiver wants to do, although the great ones are more than willing to put their helmet in the center of a defensive back and try to spring a teammate on the edge. Against a group of cornerbacks that like to play press coverage and mix it up, Street put on his big-boy pads and got a little dirty with two solid blocks that initially appeared to be small positive gains, but after his effort, resulted in much larger gains. When the receivers all gather on Monday morning to watch the tape, Devin Street will not have had a reception, but when those plays are reviewed by his coaches and teammates, he will have their same respect as if he had caught 10 balls.