OXNARD, Calif. -- Some observations from the film room in Oxnard:
- Running backs coach Gary Brown, has really done a nice job of teaching the backs technique when it comes to pass protection. In work against the linebackers on Thursday, Brown's group did a much better job on their pickups than they had the time before when they ran this drill.
It's always fun to see
DeMarco Murrayand Sean Leego at it one-on-one in these situations because neither is willing give an inch. Murray was on top of his game, while Joseph Randlecontinues to make progress on his technique because he is more than willing to step up and stick his nose in there. Lance Dunbar's effort level continues to be good, but there are times when he is in very good striking position and his height limits his effectiveness. This is something that the coaches are going to have to consider when they put him in those types of situations going forward.
- Rookie center
Travis Frederickcontinues to get work at right guard, and I do not have a problem with that now because of what has happened injury-wise to the position. I have always believed the best five should play, and as this line sits right now – Frederick at guard and Phil Costaat center -- it means that the best five are currently playing. David Arkinhas improved but not enough to say that he is my starter at that spot. With Livings once again out, this means more reps for Ronald Learyat left guard which to me is a great opportunity to see if he can handle the job full-time. I just have trouble moving Frederick because I can see progress at center. It appears to be his most natural position, but for the overall good of the offensive line, he might have to see more action there until Mackenzy Bernadeaureturns. I do not feel like the staff would be putting Frederick in a difficult situation to learn two positions. It’s just on tape and through my live looks, he has a much better feel for center than he does guard, but what I believe and the staff believes could be two totally different situations. But I do understand the problem they are in currently. Dez Bryantwas back on the practice field Thursday, and he appeared to have not missed a beat. His day started off in the walkthrough practice with some good mental work going through plays with Romo and the other receivers. There was one sequence where Romo checked the protection, which adjusted the route for Bryant. After running the route, Bryant, walking back to the huddle, told Romo why he made the check from the look that he got pre-snap. After hearing his explanation, Romo gave him a big grin and a pat on the back. During the afternoon practice, he threw a route at Claiborne in the one-on-one that he had not seen. Bryant drove hard inside getting Claiborne off the ball, then planted his foot in the ground and drove like he was running the out. Claiborne over-played the inside move and was late to react to Bryant who was already adjusting to the ball in flight. Overall Bryant was moving around well after giving his quad soreness some rest.
- From what I observed in the film room, it was a good day for
Kyle Wilberat the backup defensive end spot. Wilber was active in both the run and the pass, but he was also more physical than what I had seen before. In the second team run period off the goal line, he did a really nice job of putting pressure on quarterback Nick Stephenswhile in the end zone, which would have resulted in a safety. Randle tried to step up and take him on, but Wilber put his head down and just powered through him. This knocked Randle off balance and he struggled to recover. In the past, Wilber would have tried to throw a move and work around the block, but it was a good show of force on his part. Wilber looks much more natural and comfortable playing as that weak side end, where he can use his athletic ability and now occasional power.