* (Editor’s Note: At the end of each day here at training camp in Oxnard, the staff writers will each provide their own personal observation, ranging anywhere from a particular player who is standing out, a position that needs an upgrade, or even their own personal experiences regarding the daily rigors of camp.)*
*Rob Phillips: *Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said at-the-line communication is one area Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers are working on, and Prescott had four straight completions to the Cowboys’ most prominent pass catchers in the two-minute drill: Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. The drive resulted in a field goal attempt, but the rookie did a nice job of moving the ball up the field in a hurry-up situation. “He’s getting some really good work with those guys,” Wilson said. “He’s handling the mechanics of playing the quarterback position and throwing the ball each day with a lot more accuracy.”
David Helman: One-on-one drills are inherently biased toward the offense. Without any outside help, and without knowledge of the play, it’s a tall task for any defender to cover a receiver alone. That said, it was still pretty awesome to see Jason Witten put on a clinic against Byron Jones in the Compete Period of practice. Witten is a 14-year veteran at one of the game’s most physical positions, and it’s obvious he’s lost a step or two. Meanwhile, Jones is one of the most athletic and intriguing talents on this entire roster. None of that helped the youngster when Witten hit him with a double-move, creating four yards of separation. Witten was so incredibly wide open, it wasn’t even a hard throw for Dak Prescott to make. It was a nice reminder that all the athleticism in the world can’t negate the value of 14 years of NFL experience.
*Nick Eatman: *Injuries and suspensions have created openings for the defensive ends on this team and David Irving has absolutely taken advantage. Irving will likely be the Week 1 starter at one of the defensive end spots, especially with Lawrence suspended. In Tuesday’s practice, Irving again dominated the 1-on-1 drills, especially going up against rookie Ryan Mack. Irving is relatively new at the end position, having played mostly tackle last year. But he’s made quite a transition and is looking more polished by the day.
*Bryan Broaddus: *It’s always a treat when you get a little LIVE goal line work mixed into the practice. The offense was able to punch the ball in on the first two attempt but from the point on, they were able to only score one other time. The defensive “Win” in large part was due to the play of their linebackers. Anthony Hitchens, Mark Nzeocha, Derek Akunne, James Morris and Deon King all had a big hand in keeping the offense out of the end zone. Down after down, these linebackers consistently defeated blocks and when it came time to finish, they were in position to make the tackles. Technique wise this group was outstanding, whether it was filling at the point of attack or scrapping along the line – they were square to the ball and attacking which is exactly where they needed to be.
Check out some of our favorite images from day 9 of training camp in Oxnard, California.