Some quick thoughts from my day in the radio booth:
- Thought the Red Zone period with the first offense was outstanding. This offense staff has done a much better job of taking advantage of Jason Witten in his ability to make plays down in that area. Just by the alignment, Romo knew that he had Witten in the middle of the field and it was going to be a big play. Miles Austin also had a nice play with a solid route down near the goal line out of a bunch formation. Witten and Williams were able to clear in front of him and Austin to the flat where Romo showed outstanding touch to get the ball on the line and in his hands.
- Defensive tackle, Jason Hatcher played with some purpose today. With Ratliff on the sideline, Hatcher took reps at the under tackle while Sean Lissemore played on the nose. Hatcher attacked Nate Livings today, several times getting pressure up the field but it was when he was drawn off sides on a Tony Romo hard count where he became a one man wrecking crew. Hatcher played with the power and quickness that we have seen from him before but this time he managed to sustain it throughout and finish the drive which is something that he had struggled with in the past. Hatcher under these defensive coaches, is playing like a man that wants to be more than just a situational player. There have been too many times in his career where he starts a game with some fire only to fade throughout. His work today could be more of what we see in the future. [embedded_ad]
- Like what I saw from these cornerbacks on this defense today. As a group, I thought that Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker had them ready to play. I always expect Brandon Carr to show up and he did driving on a ball to the sideline for a breakup but backups, B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore, and Brandon Underwood were on top of their games. Webb received a nice dose of work in the slot on the second nickel. It was on a third down play where he played the route perfectly driving underneath a pass from Kyle Orton to secure the interception ending the drive. Sterling Moore continue his fine work in camp by once again, physically playing the receiver on the route but also getting his hand inside to deny the ball on several opportunities. Brandon Underwood is a player, I had not mentioned much in this camp but on this day, he was able to use his length and positioning on Tim Benford to keep him from making a catch in the end zone.
- Tight end Anthony Smith continues to find ways to make plays as a receiver. Smith physcially looks more of the style of a boxy blocker but he has shown the ability to get up the field and make catches with soft hands to secure the ball. He did struggle one time in the running game against Kyle Wilber who beat him inside for a pressure but overall, he has been finding ways to handle blocks off the edge but this able to catch the ball and work up the field, is something that I didn't know was part of his game.
- Have to say that I was disappointed in the way that guard Kevin Kowalski played this afternoon. With he and Phil Costa in the middle of that second offensive line, I really believed that they would anchor these two young tackles, Darrion Weems and Edawn Coughman but that wasn't the case at all. From my live look, Kowalski wasn't at his best today and the line play suffered for it. Up until this point, his play had been rock solid but it didn't matter who he was matched up with, it was a struggle. He was beaten with quickness from Ben Bass and power from Nick Hayden and Jerome Long. There were too many reps today where Kowalski was reaching, off balance and just in bad football position. To his credit, he took a ton of reps and fought through it but I had honestly seen him play so much better this last week. It will be a good tape for him to see and learn from because I have seen him play better and I know he can. There was a play where Tyron Smith was beatten for a sack by DeMarcus Ware to end a drive but from my spot in Jones Tower, I liked what I saw from Smith today. I thought he did a much better job of taking the fight to Ware who on several reps this week, had his number. This scrimmage was more of what I expected from Smith in regards of blocking in this zone scheme off the edge but handling a big time rusher like Ware. You have heard me say this a much but when Smith has trouble, it's usually with quickness inside which is one of Ware's strengths but today, Smith slammed the door on him with some nice power, with a hard step inside. Smith also was able to get some quality movement when they went to the team run period on Ware which allowed Murray to skate the edge. Overall for Smith, he was the type of player in this practice that I belived that we all envisioned him to be. The sack from Ware was a nice play by him, so you tip your cap but when Tyron Smith needed to get the job done today, he was able to close the deal.