Here are some thoughts from Wednesday's Cowboys OTA:
The way that Rob Ryan and his staff are working their blitz packages is putting a lot of pressure on the offensive line and the running backs with their pickups. I don't see this as a bad thing at all. It's good that Tyron Smith and Nate Livings are working on passing stunts because they have never worked together before. I have no problem with DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner trying to block Victor Butler or Orlando Scandrick coming off the edge. Teams that can blitz and blitz pick up can create havoc on both sides of the ball.
I have enjoyed watching quarterback Kyle Orton work these last two weeks. There is a certain calm to his game and the way he conducts the offense. There is no feel of panic when things break down. The ball seems to go to the open receiver down the field or to the tight end underneath. He has been accurate and on time with his passes. Thought there might be some struggles with his mobility but he shows he can slide enough to make the necessary throw. Had a beautiful touch pass down the middle of the field to Kevin Ogletree for a touchdown that ended practice on Wednesday. Ogletree was able to gain a little separation but the pass was in perfect position to make the catch.
On defense, Victor Butler and Jason Hatcher were playing with a purpose on Wednesday. Both were difficult to block with any consistency. On one rush, Hatcher exploded off the snap and was to Tyron Smith's corner before he could even react, which is difficult to do because Smith is so good away from the line of scrimmage. On that same play, Butler beat Phil Costa inside which would have resulted in a sack. Later in the blitz pickup period, Hatcher and Butler ran a twist on Smith and Nate Livings that got a sack. Hatcher got such a push on Livings that when Butler came around inside, Smith was off balance to help, as was Livings, which allowed Butler a clean path to Romo.
All during the off season, I had heard how much of a better player that Clifton Geathers had become. In going back through my notes of Geathers during the 2011 season, I remember how unimpressed I was with his play. I viewed a player that at times was way too tall and struggled to disengage from blocks. I have to say that the two LIVE looks that I have had of Geathers, he has done a much better job of playing with his pads down and getting push. There was an example Wednesday where he walked Bill Nagy back into Kyle Orton's lap, causing Orton to have to move quickly to his right as the rush closed down on him. The day before, Geathers beat tackle Taylor Dever inside for a pressure during team period. There is no doubt of Geathers' strength but can he carry it over into games when given the opportunity, which he should have plenty of this summer.