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Scout's Notebook: This Is Will Smith’s Chance To Impress
IRVING, Texas – A handful of leftover notes from the weekend game against Baltimore and Tuesday’s practice at Valley Ranch:
- I could easily see Jason Garrett having to rethink his plan for how he handles the last preseason game, against the Broncos, in order to get some injured starters some work. I believe that Morris Claiborne
and Henry Melton will most likely see a series or two in that final game. Coaches traditionally don’t like to play their starters past that third game, but he might not have a choice here in getting these players ready for the 49ers.
- Davon Coleman has been starting with the first defense at the three-technique these last two games, but I have a strong feeling newly added defensive tackle Zack Minter is going to get that opportunity. Minter is a veteran player, but these coaches need to see him step up in weight class and perform in order to see if he deserves a spot on this 53-man roster.
- From talking to folks that get the opportunity to watch practice, all appeared well with Brandon Carr and his return to his spot at left cornerback. Heard that his movement and conditioning were in order. Carr looks physically lighter to help him with his quickness.
- Rolando McClain practiced with the first defense on Tuesday, but later had to make his way to the locker room to deal with cramping issues. It was a struggle for McClain in the Ravens game as he continues to try and get his conditioning in order. That appears to be the major hurdle he has yet to clear.
- From my broadcast position on Saturday night, my Scout’s Eye is going to be focused on rookie Will Smith. Like these defensive backs, there have been a fair share of injuries at the linebacker position. Smith has been one of those guys that had been injured, but he is now back on the practice field and should get plenty of work these next two preseason games. I have always believed that, when the pads came on, Smith would be able to show these coaches what he is all about. He had some nice snaps in the Ravens game where he physically took on blockers and found his way to the ball. With the injury to DeVonte Holloman, there is currently a spot on that second defense that needs to be filled. This is a great opportunity for Will Smith to find his way onto this roster.
- With all these injuries in the secondary and a looming suspension, look for Tyler Patmon to play more of a role with the second defense in Miami. These defensive coaches have a pretty good idea what they have in Terrance Mitchell but not nearly that same feeling in Patmon. I could see a rotation where Patmon will be the first guy off the bench ahead of Mitchell to see where he fits in this mix.
- Jason Witten, James Hanna, Jordan Najvar and Asa Watson were the available tight ends during practice. Gavin Escobar was dressed for practice but sat out due to the shoulder injury that he suffered in the Ravens game. This medical staff will not rush him back and should take a cautious approach in handling his availability in order to get him ready. It’s clear that Scott Linehan and these coaches have a plan for him as he continues to develop.