Some thoughts from the Cowboys Rookie Mini Camp practice Saturday morning:
- Defensive coaches have already begun to get cornerback B.W. Webb ready for some slot duty this Summer. One of Webb's strength is his quickness and to play in the slot you have to have that along with the awareness of where the receiver might take you. This morning, Webb played more zone in the nickel then he did man and appeared to have no issues at all.
- Each practice a defensive linemen has shown up that has caught my attention. Yesterday it was tackle Nick Johnson, this morning it was Ike Ikponmwosa who is listed as a defensive tackle but during this camp has played mainly at end. There were several plays where he showed nice initial quickness off the snap but also playing with solid technique. There was a rush where he got his hands inside on tackle James Nelson and was able to work the corner on him. Later, he used a nice slap-swim move to get up the field, then showed some power throwing Edawn Coughman on the ground and getting in on the tackle. If he keeps making plays like this, I am going to have to learn how to pronounce his last name.
- In college when you studied linebacker DeVonte Holloman, he played mainly as a Sam linebacker at South Carolina. This morning the coaches had him line up inside and take some reps as the Mike. Out of this look, he did a nice job of carrying tight end Gavin Escobar up the field and across while staying in position the entire time. In run period, he showed some stoutness at the point in playing with his hands and getting off the block. The coverage part of his play surprised me because there were times where I didn't ever see him drop in coverage. Just a little something the coaches were working differently this morning.
- Safety Micah Pellerin was called out by Jerome Henderson for not being in the right place during 7-on-7 but he later made up for it when during team, he was in outstanding position on a route by the tight end and was able to jump underneath it knocking the ball away. It was a nice bounce back play on his part.
- There have been times where center Travis Frederick has done a nice job with his combo and reach blocks by getting in position to complete them but where he might struggle initially is when the man lines up in the gap and charges hard up the field. This morning Jerome Long was able to get the best of him in this fashion. Frederick likes to get really close when he blocks and doesn't often extend so when he can't get in this type of position, he tends to struggle. It's never easy to have to control these down linemen but in this scheme you have to find ways to push them past the play and not allow them to flatten you out or get up the field.
- I didn't feel like cornerback Adrien Spencer really had a nice day on Friday but this morning, he was much better with his technique and positioning on routes. He was really good when he played press coverage, getting his hands on the receiver, slowing them down in route and running with them. Spencer also did a nice job in zone coverage as well. He showed the ability to turn and bail keeping the receiver on the inside of him. Played with some good mirror skills as well.
- The highlight of the morning for Terrence Williams was in team when he ran a crossing route off a stretch action working through the zone. Williams who had some trouble with the depth of his routes earlier was spot on with this one. He managed to get behind the linebackers and Jakar Hamilton. On the play, J.J. Wilcox saw the route develop and tried to rally to get there but the ball from Stephens was in good position and Williams was able to make the catch.