- I really like what I have seen from the safeties covering out of the slot. In the way that Scott Linehan is putting
Jason Wittenand Gavin Escobarinside, J.J. Wilcoxand Jakar Hamiltonare having to match up for the defense. One of the most difficult things for a safety to have to deal with is covering a player that has the physical makeup like a player such as Jason Witten. His size presents such a problem, because if you try and play him tight, he is going to come off the ball and try to hammer you. Wilcox was faced with that problem during the practice and he didn’t allow Witten to bully him for space. Wilcox was able to hang in there, stand his ground and not allow Witten to separate which is his goal. It would be very easy for Wilcox and Hamilton to be intimated due to their lack of experience of dealing with a player like Witten but that hasn’t been the case at all. Cole Beasleyhas been getting a ton of work out of the slot in “11” personnel, but I thought Tuesday was his best practice since OTAs opened two weeks ago. It appears that he is developing more game than just a one-trick pony. Linehan has worked him both on the inside and the outside and he has responded well. In typical Beasley fashion, he was working out of the slot, and, pre-snap, Brandon Weedennoticed that he appeared to be uncovered where in reality, Barry Churchwas trying to disguise his coverage from the middle of the field. Weeden and Beasley made eye contact, and at the snap, he ran a wheel route to the sideline. Weeden took the snap and fired the ball to the outside. Church tried to react but Beasley was up the field for eight yards before Church was able to get to him. Beasley also had a couple of nice plays from the outside where he drove hard inside, set up, than secured the ball for some nice gains. He has always had that stop-start quickness but there are some open field moves in his game as well.
- Another receiver that had a solid day was
Devin Street. There have been times where I have been critical of how Street has been inconsistent in route-running and securing the ball. But his work was textbook in the morning session. Street was good enough that the offensive coaches gave him an opportunity to run with Dez Bryantand the first offense. He made a nice adjusting catch going away during Blitz Period where he was running a route from his left to the right and the ball was thrown so wide I thought he had no chance -- but he was able to extend his hands and make the catch getting both feet down. On the Cole Beasley wheel route that I mentioned earlier, he threw an outstanding block on Morris Claiborne, working him to the outside, giving Beasley the opportunity to cut the ball back inside. Street didn’t have those moments in practice where he had the bad drop or he was struggling to get open.
- When you work on both Blitz Period and Team Pass, there are going to be opportunities for the defense to work on twist stunts and games against the offensive line. There were several times where the offense was up to the task and were able to handle what the defense was attempting to execute. But there was one stunt where
Ben Bassand Tyrone Crawfordwere able to pull off a rush that got Crawford home for a sack. Bass and Crawford were working against Doug Freeand Zack Martin. On the snap, Bass was playing the three-technique and worked hard to his left, with Martin carrying him to Free. Crawford delayed just a count, as Martin stayed with Bass, leaving a gap for Crawford to charge through. Martin, seeing what was happening, tried to pull back from Bass, but it was too late. Martin knew he made a mistake and just could not handle the quickness of Crawford -- who had a free run inside for the sack. It’s those types of experiences in practice that will help Zack Martin better understand how you need to quickly pass your man off, then look for that defender coming inside. It was outstanding execution by Bass and Crawford.