IRVING, Texas – A lot of the veterans took to the sidelines for the final day of Cowboys' minicamp – which is plenty of fun for football junkies like me.
With the big names out of the way, we got a chance to watch some of the lesser-known guys trying to make this roster. It was exactly the type of practice that's good to see on the last day of work before training camp.
Here are my final impressions from minicamp before we head off to Oxnard, Calif.
1.It was a vacation day on the practice field for Tony Romo while the other quarterbacks took the snaps in his place. I continue to be interested in the development of Dustin Vaughan, and each time that he gets an opportunity under center, it has my attention. There are always those throws where he looks confident throwing the ball, especially underneath, then others where he has to execute the touch pass to Lance Dunbar down the field and the ball is completely out of reach. I thought it was a mixed bag for Vaughan on Thursday, which was disappointing considering the number of extra snaps that he took. I am still hopeful that it will all come together for him in Oxnard.
2. No Devin Street meant that Cole Beasley received more work as an outside receiver in the base packages with Terrance Williams. As much as I want to believe that Beasley can line up and play wherever they ask him, he will never be as productive as he is inside playing out of the slot. The less chance he has to use his quickness and awareness as a route runner, the more it makes him just another receiver. Beasley is never going to punish a defense down the field like he does when he runs those inside routes
3. For not having many snaps together, La'el Collins and Tyron Smith did a really nice job of passing twist stunts during practice. Smith showed a great deal of confidence in Collins by shoving Greg Hardy hard down inside and to Collins, who was right there ready to pass his man off to Smith and make the exchange. The rookie guard showed some really nice awareness throughout the day.
4. I wish that Davon Coleman played hard on every play. There is so much talent there not to get his best. He can be a difficult rusher to block when he wants to be. There is size, quickness and power, but not always the desire. This was his best practice of all that we have had the opportunity to observe.
5.Byron Jones continues to practice like he has been in this league for five years. Not only does he have physical talent, but mental talent as well. In the red zone, he made a veteran play on a ball by jamming Terrence Williams on the line, realizing Williams was going nowhere and then adjusting his coverage by dropping back and making Brandon Weeden have to throw the ball over the top of him to Cole Beasley. Weeden was unable to get it there and the pass fell incomplete. Just a really nice heads up play by Jones.
6. I never get to write much about backup tackle R.J. Dill, but I have to say that there were three or four snaps where he did a really nice job blocking DeMarcus Lawrence off the edge. Lawrence had a difficult time dealing with Dill, who was technically sound on his pass sets. It was a nice day for him.
7. If there has been a defensive linemen that has been steady throughout these practices in his effort and results, that guy has be Lavar Edwards. We have written plenty about Lawrence, Hardy and Gregory, but Edwards has become somewhat of a forgotten man -- and that really shouldn't be the case. Edwards has won his share of battles no matter who he has faced across from him. He has been playing as a right end and giving this defense some juice off the edge.
8. I was disappointed to see Nick Harwell with a drop in the red zone during the team period on Thursday. Harwell has really done a nice job of getting open in these practices, because he is not the faster or quickest receiver on this team. But the one thing he can do is finish. I really like what I have seen from him, Lucky Whitehead and Deontay Greenberry.
9. Still waiting to see something from Chris Whaley inside at defensive tackle. Here's hoping that when the pads come on, he will make more plays. Right now he is playing too high and being controlled along the line of scrimmage.
10. Just my opinion, but Darrion Weems has a chance to be a much better player than what the Cowboys got from Jermey Parnell as that backup tackle. Weems is a better athlete and his football intelligence is improving with every snap that he is receiving. I also believe that he is a more consistent performer than Parnell, who could be too up and down. He's stable.
11. It was once again great to see Dez Bryant on the field, even though he wasn't practicing. The fact that he and Jerry Jones got to spend time together I feel is a positive situation. I know from experience that when both of those men speak to you, they are looking right into your eyes. I guarantee that was the case on that sideline. Just my two cents, but I feel that this deal will get done once the two parties get together. Both sides are well-represented at the table and that should give you hope.
12. I am off to a fishing boat in East Texas. Be good to each other.