Offseason | 2021

Practice Points: Parsing Through The Pass Rush

Practice-Points--Parsing-Through-The-Pass-Rush-hero

FRISCO, Texas – It was a bit of a quiet start to the final week of the Cowboys' offseason.

The team took the field for the first day of its mandatory minicamp on Tuesday morning. Strictly speaking, it was incredibly similar to the two weeks of OTAs. But at the same time, it felt a bit slower and more instructional than past practices.

The Cowboys put themselves through several situational aspects in this first minicamp practice. Despite that, there were several things worth noting over the course of the day.

Here are a few quick notes:

  • If there was one big takeaway to glean from things, it's probably the continued development of Micah Parsons. The Cowboys' coaches are bringing their first-round draft pick along quickly, as he's ranged everywhere from middle linebacker to edge rusher, flashing his capability all the while.
  • On Tuesday, Parsons made the most noteworthy play of the day during the 11-on-11 session, when he displayed his speed as an edge rusher. Lined up over left tackle Ty Nsekhe, Parsons got a great jump on the snap and was into the backfield before anyone could react. Obviously, he wasn't about to hit Garrett Gilbert in a practice, but it would have been an easy sack.
  • Earlier in the day, Parsons also made a nice read on a short throw to rookie running back JaQuan Hardy and jumped the pass, nearly intercepting it in the process.
  • Dak Prescott continues to show off impressive accuracy in his return from injury. Prescott isn't participating in full-team reps this spring, but he looks crisp in the seven-on-seven portions of practice.
  • Prescott had impressive completions to Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz and CeeDee Lamb in a span of a few minutes. The impressive part was that the defense's coverage was good, allowing little separation on the routes.
  • Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy did ramp things up in one aspect of practice, as the team work on Tuesday featured crowd noise. McCarthy had his staff pipe in artificial crowd noise on the speaker system, giving the offense some semblance of a game environment to work against.
  • There weren't any circus catches made during Tuesday's practice, but Anthony Brown did have something to add about last week's.
  • Lamb went viral at last week's open OTA when he skied into the air to haul in a 50-yard catch at Anthony Brown's expense. The catch made the rounds all over the NFL on social media, but Brown did want to point out that it wouldn't have stood.
  • "That would've been an incomplete pass if that was in a real game, but it is what it is.. The media is the media, whatever," he said. "It was a scramble drill, so I pushed him out of bounds a couple yards up the field before that catch happened."
  • It was an active day for the pass rush in general – albeit in a non-contact setting. In addition to Parsons' sack, Tarell Basham and Randy Gregory also pieced together nice rushes during the day. That trio, along with Carlos Watkins, Neville Gallimore and Brent Urban, accounted for much of the Cowboys' "starting" defensive front.
  • The Cowboys' receiver corps is continuing to deal with injuries. Amari Cooper, T.J. Vasher, Stephen Guidry and Malik Turner have been limited throughout the offseason. On Tuesday, Cedrick Wilson and Simi Fehoko also sat out. As a result, Tony Pollard got some reps to help offset the low numbers.
  • Injuries were the only reason for absences as Tuesday's practice – and even the players who couldn't participate were present at practice. The full roster was accounted for over the course of the day.

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