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Scout’s Eye: Notes On Standouts Vs. Denver, Roster Cuts
IRVING, Texas – A handful of observations from the game film against the Broncos. On top of the notes from the game, I’ve written down a few thoughts about what we can expect as the Cowboys prepare to make their final roster cuts this weekend.
- The complaint I had about Rolando McClain these last several weeks has been his football shape and conditioning. I really wasn’t sure how the coaches would be able to trust a player that has as much talent as any defensive player on the squad, but was unable to stay on the field long enough to make any type of difference.
To McClain’s credit, he is finally looking like that player I studied in 2012 while he was with the Raiders. He is not laboring in his movements. He has shown range along with lateral quickness. He is playing with much better body control and balance. When he comes on the blitz it is with power and a purpose. His stamina and durability has improved to the point where you are seeing more consistent plays in a row and not just every once in a while.
His reactions to the ball have been on point and he is not overrunning plays. The bottom line is that he is building more trust with this staff and his teammates. He is finally putting himself in the mix in a defense that needs every ounce of talent that he has.
- If there has been a silver lining to all the injuries along this defensive line it has allowed young players like Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop the opportunity to get plenty of snaps. When camp opened, this defensive staff had an idea of what kind of players Coleman and Bishop could potentially become.
Now with all this game action, they have a much better understanding of where these players are both mentally and physically along with how they might respond if they are put in roles where they have to start or where they fit in a rotation. Both Coleman and Bishop played the entire game against the Broncos and were just as strong and active in the fourth quarter as they were in the first when it came to playing with power and technique. They could have become tired and sloppy but that was not the case at all.
- I had a strong feeling before the Cowboys took the field on Thursday night that Uche Nwaneri was going to find a spot on this offensive line, but after studying the game I am not so sure that now the case. Nwaneri has been technique-sound for the majority of these games, but there were too many snaps where you saw the struggles when he faced opponents that played with power and quickness. His work against Kevin Vickerson looked more like those games that I observed while he was in Jacksonville -- which was not good enough.
- When these final cuts are made this weekend, this club is going to put three receivers that can all play on the street. LaRon Byrd, Jamar Newsome and Dezmon Briscoe did nothing but help themselves when other teams around the league study their game film. If you had a chance to review my report on DallasCowboys.com in regard to the signing of Byrd, you’ll remember how I spoke of the toughness in which he played with the Arizona Cardinals. He was always willing to block at the point of attack, which is a trait that most receivers tend to avoid. Where I believe that his game improved in this camp was his ability to go get that football no matter where it was thrown which is an area that I had not seen before. It might be a real stretch to see him back on this practice squad.