OXNARD, Calif. – One last time, let's take a look at an unpadded practice.
The Cowboys went through their second-straight unpadded practice on Friday, before the real fun begins on Saturday. Just like Thursday, there was plenty worth watching despite the slow-paced nature of the practice.
Here's a look at my notes:
- Maybe we need to give Tavon Austin more credit for his receiving ability. Austin, working against Chidobe Awuzie, completely lost his balance, falling to the ground. Dak Prescott made the decision to throw the ball in his direction regardless. Austin, tracking the ball, popped up off the ground but was falling backwards. Just at the last moment, he managed to reach up and somehow get both hands on the ball for the reception. It was an incredible play that left Awuzie shaking his head in disbelief.
- For those of you that wanted Ezekiel Elliott to get more opportunities in the passing game, it was a good day for you. Elliott, working against Jaylon Smith, did a good job of attacking him where Smith was left flat-footed trying to defend him across the field. Prescott showed solid touch by throwing ball out front of Elliott as he separated from Smith
- During the draft, I thought one of the best traits of Leighton Vander Esch was his ability to cover. He had a drop in coverage where he was in perfect position to force Dak Prescott to have to throw the ball over him to get to Tavon Austin. I believe that Vander Esch allowed Austin to catch the ball to avoid the contact.
- I like what I saw from Jourdan Lewis coming from the slot as a blitzer. He has a real feel for how to get home unblocked. His disguise and timing is outstanding. There was one snap where Dak Prescott had no chance to react as Lewis bore down on him for the sack.
- I have noticed a couple of throws where Cooper Rush has just thrown the ball to the outside and it has ended up not even close to the target. It happened Thursday and again on Friday where it was as if he and the receivers were not on the same page. The passes have no pace or direction and just end up falling short.
- It's not often that you see a tight end lined up wide and thrown a slant, but that happened with Blake Jarwin on Friday. Jarwin was working 1-on-1 against Donovan Olumba and was able to beat him to the inside with a nice release off the line using his hands to separate and finish the catch.
- Speaking of tight ends, Rico Gathers had a well-executed corner route working between Kyle Queiro and Kam Kelly. Mike White, off play action, was able to get the ball to the outside just as Gathers was making his break.
- In Thursday's practice, Scott Linehan had plenty of snaps where he was in a single-back look. Today was a little bit different story, where fullback Jamize Olawale featured into the action. Olawale was able to help in pass protection, but he was also able to get out as well in the route if needed.
- Terrance Williams returned to practice and it didn't appear that, by watching him work, there were any issues with his foot. Williams showed a burst when he tracked a deep ball down the field, with full extension to almost make an incredible circus reception. Williams later was the furthest player from the ball and sprinted across the field in order to put himself in position to throw a block for Tavon Austin on the reverse. Both times, Williams was in full sprint.
- Off day for Tyron Smith meant that Cam Fleming got the call at left tackle. Fleming might not be as smooth as Smith as a pass blocker, but he was able to handle himself well while working against Tyrone Crawford, who never takes a play off. Fleming played right tackle in the Thursday practice while Chaz Green manned the left side but today the staff switched that up. This will likely be the way we see them operating going forward using Fleming on that left side.