IRVING, Texas – It was an unpadded practice in the middle of May, but we got to watch the Cowboys work for two hours Wednesday at the first media session at the team's OTAs.
Here are my 10 biggest impressions from what we saw on the fields at Valley Ranch:
- There was talk before last season of moving Brandon Carr from left cornerback to the right side to help him not have to deal with as many passes. The thought was to move Orlando Scandrick to the left, but then he was lost for the season and the plan was scrapped. At least for this camp, Carr has moved to the right side with Morris Claiborne seeing action on the left. Another note is that Josh Thomas is filling in as the nickel back again while Scandrick continues to recover.
- The first defense during Blitz period was Randy Gregory at right end, Tyrone Crawford as the three-technique, Casey Walker as the nose tackle and Ryan Russell at left end. Walker is a little bit of a surprise, especially with a healthy Terrell McClain back on the practice field. When the group went to Team period, Cedric Thornton was the starter at the nose next to Crawford.
- Memorable play: Terrance Williams was able to gain separation on Brandon Carr on a vertical route. Tony Romo put the ball right where it needed to be before J.J. Wilcox could arrive to make the play. Tyron Smith and La'el Collins passed a stunt off between Randy Gregory and Maliek Collins to make sure Romo had enough time.
- In a show of power, Ryan Russell got into Zack Martin's body and drove him back in the pocket, right at Romo's feet. Martin ended up on the ground after getting tangled up with Travis Frederick, but nevertheless, it was a nice sign to see Russell capture that much ground on the All-Pro guard.
- Veteran tackle Charles Brown tried to set short on Benson Mayowa, but like Russell, Mayowa put his head in Brown's chest and took him back into Kellen Moore. On the same play, Damien Wilson was able to carry James Hanna up the field and to the outside, not allowing Moore a place to go with the ball.
- Alfred Morris looked decisive in the way he was running the ball – there was more quickness to his game than what I had seen in Washington. He made some really nice cuts with vision but also exploded through the hole.
- I didn't know much about Mike McAdoo before the start of this camp, but he flashed some at defensive end. He is a bit undersized weight-wise, but he is extremely quick off the ball. At 6-7 he has a rangy build, but there is something to work with here.
- Keith Smith looks comfortable playing fullback. There was a snap where he led Darius Jackson through the hole and was able to sort things out with the blocking upfront to find his man. There was no hesitation at all with his path and his finish.
- Cole Beasley had a nice day catching the ball. His best play of the day came on an inside route out of the slot where he and Jason Witten crossed. Romo appeared to want to hit Witten going to his right, but the route opened up perfectly for Beasley -- who had a step on Josh Thomas. Romo threw the ball a little high, but Beasley was able to come down with it.
- Hearing some whispers from those in the know that through two days of OTAs – Jameill Showers has been the second-best quarterback on the field. In watching him during practice, I thought his accuracy and poise were outstanding in the opportunities he received.