OXNARD, Calif.** – Having watched the tape from Sunday's Blue-White scrimmage, here are four big observations from the proceedings on the practice fields.
- Dez Bryant to the House: The offense was facing a second and four as Tony Romo brought the offense to the line. Scott Linehan went with "11" personnel on the field with a trips formation to the right with Jason Witten, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams. On the left side, Dez Bryant was lined up by himself with Orlando Scandrick lined up across from him. Rod Marinelli countered with his base package by putting Jakar Hamilton in the slot across from Beasley. What Romo read pre-snap was that J.J. Wilcox walked up into the box planned on blitzing from his left side. Hamilton blitzed from the right side, as well -- so there is no
safety in the middle of the field. Bryant, off the line, saw the same thing Romo saw and took three quick steps and drove hard on the slant. Kyle Wilber buzzed into the throwing lane, trying to replace the blitzing Wilcox. Romo pulled the ball down which allowed Bryant to cross behind Wilber and in front of Scandrick. Romo delivered the ball -- side armed -- with his feet wide open. The pass was all arm, but was perfectly in front of Bryant with Scandrick driving hard to try and close the gap. He swatted at the ball with his off hand. Bryant was able to snatch the ball with his left hand, then controlled it with his right, the whole time while going up the field breaking in the clear for the 65-yard touchdown. If we take a further look on the play, Romo had the time to get rid of the ball due to a crushing block by Zack Martin on Jakar Hamilton, who was blitzing on the play. It was perfect execution all around by the offense.
- Martez Wilson Pick Pocket: The defense had just given up a big reception to Devin Street with less than two minutes left on the clock. Brandon Weeden got the offense to the line with Lance Dunbar lined up on his left in a shotgun formation. Rod Marinelli decided to play coverage and rush just four men. Martez Wilson lined up to the outside of Jeremy Parnell, coming off Weeden's left side. At the snap of the ball, Wilson went inside on his rush then back outside, which makes Parnell hang inside for a tick as Wilson got to the same level with Weeden in the pocket. Parnell tried to adjust to the outside, but he was unable to -- because Wilson fought Parnell's hands off and worked his right shoulder past him and was heading toward Weeden. On the route, Weeden tried to get the ball to the outside for LaRon Byrd, who has driven Terrance Mitchell off the ball and is settled into a curl route. Weeden never saw Wilson behind him, as the ball is knocked out of his hand. Wilson alertly scooped the ball up and carried it into the end zone for a touchdown.
- Orlando Scandrick, Drive Killer:The offense was facing a situation where 11 seconds remained on the clock and the defense was holding a 19-17 lead. Tony Romo had just completed a pass to Jason Witten to put the ball on the 35-yard line. In this formation, Dez Bryant lined up far left with Jason Witten inside of him. Cole Beasley also lined up to the left, but before the snap, Romo moved Beasley from the left to the right across the formation. Defensively, Jeff Heath lined up over the top of Witten but to the outside. Orlando Scandrick lined up in press-man, up tight to Bryant. Before Romo even took the snap out of the gun, he made a hand signal in the direction of Bryant and Witten. Off the snap, Bryant and Witten made an odd route combination, which never really developed like I'm sure Scott Linehan and this [embedded_ad] staff drew it up. Witten went up the field almost like he was blocking for a screen, then started toward the flat. Bryant took two steps inside, as Romo appeared to be trying to throw the ball away. Scandrick was hanging to the outside as he saw the ball heading his direction. With his left hand extended, he jumped straight in the air and tipped the ball to himself, securing the ball and ending the drive. It was a clutch play from Scandrick, who at times has not shown the best ball skills. But in this case, he killed what appeared to be a game winning drive by Tony Romo and this offense.
- Ahmad Dixon Shows Physical Side: I had been waiting for rookie safety Ahmad Dixon to show up at this training camp and during the Blue-White Scrimmage, he finally did. I have never had a question about Dixon when it came to his ability to attack the ball, because we saw plenty of that when you studied his college tape from Baylor. The OTAs and minicamps are non-contact practices so on Sunday with the pads popping, he was able to show these defensive coaches what he could really do. Dixon is not my idea of a player that I would put in many packages where he has to cover -- unless he can keep the ball in front of him. Where Dixon is going to shine is on days where he can play near the line and knife his way to the ball. There were several opportunities where, when he came forward, he was able to make tackles in space right around the line with a good wrap-up tackle. As I watched this scrimmage, it was clear that these defensive coaches want to give fellow rookie Ryan Smith a good opportunity. But between the two, Ahmad Dixon won the battle in my book in the way that he went about his business.