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Defense Has The Upper Hand On Minicamp Day 1

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FRISCO, Texas – Like we said last week, the dirty secret of minicamp is that it’s fairly similar to OTAs.

Yes, these three practices are mandatory – but they essentially follow a similar script to what we have already seen. There’s no tackling and there’s no one-on-one matchups, which means there’s not as much intrigue as we get used to seeing at training camp.

That said, there’s plenty of information to gather at minicamp, and it’s interesting to chart how these players have progressed since OTAs started back in mid-May.

Here’s my notebook from Tuesday’s opening act:

  • Great, quick decision by Dak Prescott to find Geoff Swaim right over the top of the ball on a third down during team period. Swaim was able to release wide and then settle down between Jaylon Smith and a driving Xavier Woods for the first down. I felt like Woods had a chance to make it a contested catch if he could have reacted a little quicker. He saw what was happening just a tick late.
  • Cole Beasley, working on the outside, was able to sneak inside on a curl against Byron Jones. Beasley made the catch two yards short of the sticks but was unable to extend for the first down, as Jones was right there to wrap him up. The tackle at the spot was able to get the defense off the field.
  • Smart play by the rookie Dorance Armstrong, who stayed at home on the waggle by Cooper Rush. Armstrong’s discipline forced Rush to throw the ball wide to Blake Jarwin. Damien Wilson wasn’t fooled on the play either and was right there in tight coverage on Jarwin. Rush had nowhere to throw the ball.
  • Marchie Murdock and K.D. Cannon tried to work an exchange route, but Duke Thomas and Donovan Olumba jammed them both at the line of scrimmage -- thus killing the play. By the time Cannon was able to escape, it was too late and Mike White was sacked by defensive end James Hearns as he was trying to get the ball out.
  • I liked what I observed from Kadeem Edwards and Cameron Fleming going to their left in order to get Rod Smith around the corner. Edwards had a beautiful kick out on Anthony Brown, as Fleming curled back to the inside to block Tre’von Johnson. Smith had clear sailing on the play.
  • Tremendous job by Dak Prescott, moving Jaylon Smith with his eyes to allow Geoff Swaim to run across the field to an open space for a first down. Smith had dropped straight back in zone and was waiting there until Prescott moved him off the spot. With Smith gone, Swaim worked around behind him into the spot he vacated for the catch.
  • I saw a really nice recovery by Joe Thomas today, as he rallied to carry Allen Hurns from his linebacker spot. It appeared that Hurns was wide open when he broke to the inside, then back out. Thomas had to hustle covering ground to prevent Cooper Rush from getting Hurns the ball. Rush was forced to check the ball down to Jamize Olawale instead of hitting Hurns for a big gain.
  • Cooper Rush tried to fit the ball inside to Cedrick Wilson on a slant, but Duke Thomas didn’t allow him inside. Thomas was able to jam him along the line, leaving Wilson in a poor spot to get himself in position to collect the pass. Charles Tapper knocked Chaz Green to the ground to apply late pressure on Rush.
  • What a good backside cut off block by Kadeem Edwards on Joe Thomas to give Bo Scarbrough space to run the ball. Blake Jarwin was able to pin Damien Wilson to the outside in order to create a lane. I thought this was the best Edwards has practiced in the opportunities we’ve had to watch this past month.
  • A nice slot blitz by Anthony Brown got home before Prescott could get the ball out. Swaim was open too late and it appeared that Prescott wanted to go to Cole Beasley first -- but he couldn’t make it happen. The blitz was well-timed by Brown to get there unblocked.
  • It’s not your normal formation, but it’s interesting to see Cole Beasley and Tavon Austin both on the field at the same time -- with neither of them playing in the slot. Beasley and Austin are the shortest of the receivers and were lined up wide on the outside.

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