The practices that Jason Garrett and this team had during OTA's and minicamps I thought were outstanding when it came to the ability of putting in a great deal of your offensive and defensive packages but also the way that the players were able to take that teaching and apply it on the field. In my 13 years as a scout, I have been around my share of practices but the pace and the concentration in which this staff was able to get these players to practice was impressive. In just what I observed, this team heading into camp is so much further along than what they had to deal with at this time last year. Where I think this team benefited the most was on defense. These camps allowed Rob Ryan and his staff to teach and just not coach. It allowed them to take game film from last season and practice film from these practices and put together on a daily basis to prepare these players and what I saw was a defense that had plenty of mistakes in alignment last season match up very well against an offense that was working on their own three and four wide receiver sets.
Will the battles at wide receiver cause this front office to have to make a decision on whether to carry a third quarterback? I think there is a real possibility there and I will tell you why I think that's the case. Going to Oxnard I have Austin, Bryant, Holmes and Coale as the locks to make the team. I know this can change but right now as I type this is how I feel. That leaves one spot for that fifth guy if they go that route or two spots for a sixth one. Now comes the question: if you are the front office, do you feel good enough about Stephen McGee's development to keep him on the roster and let somebody like Radway, Harris, Beasley or Benford walk? Jason Garrett had some positive things to say about McGee but there are things that he will need to also try to get better at like not holding the ball and waiting on routes to develop. The signing of Kyle Orton tells me a lot about Stephen McGee. I believe that if McGee was further along, then he would have been the second guy on the depth chart and you still add a Rudy Carpenter for the third spot. I think it's an outstanding move to add a player of the quality of Orton because I believe that if something were to happen to Romo, your offense might be a little different mobility wise but you still have the opportunity to win games. Let's be honest here, there is much more fear playing against Orton than McGee. The way I see it, there is a real good chance that sixth receiver could be your punt and kickoff return man. A third quarterback or sixth receiver or fifth safety that can be a factor weekly on special teams? Just something to think about.
Something you might want to keep an eye on this summer is the progress of punter Chris Jones. One of the great things about Mat McBriar is that you never had to worry about his performance in games. He was truly a special player, a weapon. There have been moments in watching practice where Jones has been outstanding but also times not so much. The one thing you cannot have at punter is an inconsistent one. This Cowboys' pro department does an outstanding job of tracking players on the street. I am sure along with Joe DeCamillis, they have a list of guys ready to go if Jones struggles. I am sure they also have a good idea where McBriar might be in his rehab as well.