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Scout’s Eye: Dez’s New Move, Smith Vs. Lawrence, More

Posted May 27, 2014



  • It was unfortunate what happened to Sean Lee during team period when he was working to his left to defend the screen. On the play, Lee cleared J.J. Wilcox, who was coming forward in coverage. As Lee moved to the outside, he started flying when he read that DeMarco Murray had the ball and was cutting it back inside. Lee tried to hit the brakes and come back inside, but both feet ca off the ground -- then his left heel hit the turf and buckled his knee. It’s at that point where it appears the injury took place. With Lee’s left knee bent and his right leg straight, Zack Martin engaged him on the block and stumbled over Lee, falling to the ground. There was nothing dirty about the play on Martin’s part and to think otherwise is not correct. If it was a game situation, Martin would have cut that defender, instead he engaged Lee high, but Lee was so badly off balance there was nothing he could have done to prevent the injury. 
  • I really liked what I saw from Dez Bryant during this first practice when it came to his route running. We all know that teams like to play Bryant with a defender underneath and one over the top. To beat that first defender is the key for getting into the route and having success in making it work. There was a time where Bryant would physical try to beat up on the defender off the line, regroup, and then get into the route. What is different about Bryant’s game now is that he is using better foot work to get a clean release. By using his feet, he can quickly adjust off the line, but also maintain better body position as he goes up the field. He is not off balance and this will allow him to attack the safety on the move. This is a new wrinkle to his game that he and Derek Dooley have been working on in the off season.
  • No Kyle Orton, no big deal through one practice of OTAs. I thought it was a positive day for Brandon Weeden when it came to throwing the ball and working with the first offense. When he can get to his fifth step in the pocket and plant his foot, he can let it fly. He showed nice accuracy and touch, whether throwing the ball over the top of Brandon Carr to Terrance Williams along the sideline or hitting Dez Bryant on the in cut. There were a snap or two where Weeden did a solid job of climbing the pocket and stepping up to make a throw. If there is a weakness to his game: the throws outside the pocket on waggles are not his strength. This was also a trait I noticed while studying his film for the Browns. The more that he has to move, the harder it is for him to have to make an accurate throw but overall, it was not bad for his first time out for this coaching staff.
  • There was a really nice battle between Tyron Smith and rookie DeMarcus Lawrence during this practice. I have to give Lawrence a great deal of credit because he did not wilt when it came to his matchup with Smith. What Lawrence learned quickly is that if you allow Smith to get his hands on you, the rush is over and there were a couple of times where this happened. Where Lawrence was able to make some headway against Smith was not so much with quick pass rush moves but some actual brute force. Lawrence stayed active and worked hard to fight up the upfield shoulder of Smith – then, when he became engaged, he was able to push Smith off balance, which caused him to become overextended and off balance. This made Smith have to reach for him as he went by him. What Lawrence is going to have to learn is that when you play the reach block, going back door on the blocker will usually not work because of how quickly the ball gets to the outside. But it was encouraging to see how well DeMarcus Lawrence was able to play with some power. It was a good day for him to learn.  
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