OXNARD, Calif. – While Tuesday’s practice was spirited, highlighted but several big plays on both sides of the ball, the attention shifted rather quickly after practice when owner Jerry Jones addressed a host of topics about his team.
But it wasn’t just contract talk, Jones was asked about payers standing out and he named off four youngsters who have caught his eye here in these three weeks of camp.
“I’ve liked (Dorance) Armstrong,” Jones said. “I think he’s absolutely … the trick is as a young player to get as much out of every day, every rep you can. He’s really impressed me.”
Jones stayed on the defensive line to talk about his top pick – second-rounder Trysten Hill.
“And I like Trysten. I think he’s making the most of his opportunities,” Jones said. “You certainly see that going against the kind of competition that he’s going against is different for any of these college players but for him as well. So I like those guys right there.”
Despite the injury to Luke Gifford, who will probably be out for a few weeks with a high-ankle sprain, the rookie made enough plays to get noticed, as has Tony Pollard.
“I like the Nebraska linebacker. I think he’s showed up really good. And certainly 36,” Jones said. “I don’t want to put him on the spot but you don’t have to be a trained eye to see that he’s got a lot special. What is impressive is I don’t know when I’ve seen a rookie come in and grasp his assignments and how to execute them. It’s one thing to basically understand it in the classroom, but to go out and execute it on a full-speed level is impressive. He will go early for us – he will play early.”
And Jones added wide receiver Jon’vea Johnson to the mix.
“I like what we’ve seen out there from this 81, the young receiver,” Jones said. “I really like what he’s into, I like the way he’s competing. And I like that some of the veteran players are giving him a big’ ol vote of confidence, 81. They like him, they think he’s made of the right stuff.”
- Two of the best catches of training camp occurred in the afternoon practice. Veteran tight end Jason Witten snagged a one-handed catch over the middle during 7-on-7. Running a crossing route, Witten just plucked the ball out of the air on the move.
- On the final play of practice, cornerback Jourdan Lewis made arguably the best catch of camp, especially by a defensive player. On a goal-line drill from inside the 5, Lewis dove for a pass from Mike White and picked it off near the goal line. He quickly got up and raced to the other end zone.
- Wide receivers Devin Smith had a couple of touchdown catches in the team period and Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup were impressive in the 1-on-1 drills.
- At one point in the team period, the entire second-team defensive line was all rookies - Jalen Jelks, Ricky Walker, Daniel Wise and Joe Jackson. Second-round pick Trysten Hill worked with the starters with Maliek Collins sitting out.
- Some familiar faces were on hand at practice on Tuesday. Longtime former O-line coach Hudson Houck was in attendance. Former Special teams linebacker Matt Vanderbeek (1993-94) was at the second practice, while former Rams head coach Mike Martz visited the morning practice. Martz was on the Lions staff with Rod Marinelli and coached Jon Kitna.