IRVING, Texas – It's pretty surreal to finish up this final notebook of the 2016 offseason.
Not only did we just wrap up the final Cowboys practice at Valley Ranch – we just concluded our final practice before training camp. That means the next time I break down a Cowboys practice, we'll be right in the thick of our preparation for the 2016 season.
Here's my notebook from the final minicamp practice of the offseason:
- From the field it appeared that Terrance Williams beat Deji Olatoye on a beautiful "Stutter-Go" for a touchdown during team period. After going back and taking another look at the play, Tony Romo would have been sacked by Andrew Gachkar on the blitz. Gachkar timed his rush perfectly after Tyrone Crawford was able to tie up La'el Collins and Travis Frederick, which allowed Gachkar to get home clean to tag off Romo.
- It was a nice practice for Chris Brown at wide receiver. Brown was able to make two catches where he had to extend for the ball over his head. The first one came during team period in the red zone, where he ran a slant against Arjen Colquhoun and Dak Prescott delivered the ball high -- but Brown was able to come down with it. Later, in the 2-Minute portion of practice, Brown executed another slant, this time working between Damien Wilson and Deji Olatoye. Jameill Showers threw the ball into a tight window and Brown was once again able to make the catch going away.
- Defense was able to come up with a key stop on 4th-and-4 to end practice in the 2-Minute Drill. The offense went with a bunch formation of Ed Eagan, Chris Brown and Rico Gathers on the right side. On the snap of the ball, Brown and Eagan broke hard to the right while Gathers went to the inside. Kavon Frazier and Jerimiah McKinnon were able to sort the routes out with Frazier running with Gathers. Jameill Showers made his mind up that he was going to Gathers, who had a step on Frazier – but just as Showers let the ball go, Frazier was able to burst to make up the ground and knock the ball away from Gathers to get the defense off the field.
- Charles Tapper had some quality pressures off the edge during the 2-Minute Drill. The rookie was able to beat Ryan Mack and Jared Smith off a twist-stunt with quickness. He did it again versus Mack to flush Jameill Showers out of the pocket. Tapper continues to get work on both the left and right sides in order to find his best spot at defensive end.
- I like the toss play that Scott Linehan has come up with out of the "Pistol" formation. Alfred Morris was lined up directly behind Kellen Moore, and on the snap, Moore wheeled and pitched the ball to Morris going wide. Geoff Swaim did a nice job of sealing the edge while Charles Brown, Jake Brendel and Joe Looney pulled to the edge. With the edge secure, Morris was able to get around the corner with no problem. I could see this play being a go-to call to get the ball to Ezekiel Elliott in space.
- Tony Romo found a lot of ways to get Cole Beasley the ball in these practices. Working out of the slot, Beasley broke up the field against Anthony Brown, selling him hard to the outside before exploding inside and throwing Brown off balance. Beasley wound up running along the end line with no defender in the middle of the field. Seeing that, Romo stepped up in the pocket with his eyes on Beasley and hit him with a strike as Beasley went high in the air, managing to somehow come down with both feet in bounds for the score.
- Another nice pick up by Alfred Morris on a blitzing Jeremiah McKinnon off the edge. Morris was able to contain McKinnon, which allowed Kellen Moore enough time to hit Vince Mayle on a drag route in front of Anthony Brown for a nice gain. Morris continues to show a willingness and understanding to execute his assignments when it comes to pass protection.
- Right before we filmed "Mini Camp Live" – I had a chance to stand across from Orlando Scandrick as he went through the defensive back drills and I have to say he looked ready for camp. I am sure the plan is to work him back slowly, but the quickness, movement and confidence were all there. He wasn't dragging the leg or grimacing with each plant. I am also here to report that it appears that his ball skills are better. He was catching the ball better and cleaner – he wasn't fighting it which was a trait that we had seen in the past.