Scout's Eye: Banged Up CBs Fight Back; Longshots Surfacing

  • During one of the first days of training camp Stephen Jones in meeting with the media talked about his believe that this team would run the football despite what people believed that offensive play caller Scott Linehan might choose do. The direction that Jones was going with this thought and I do agree with him here is to find ways to protect this defense during games. Jones is not calling for a run only attack not with the weapons of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten available.

What Jones believes and now what many of us that are observing practice every day is that with this offensive line, tight ends and DeMarco Murray, it could become the strength of this team. What I like about what Bill Callahan, Frank Pollack, Mike Pope and Linehan have done is take advantage of the mobility of guys like Tyron Smith, Doug Free and Zack Martin. The scheme is getting the ball quickly to the edge with men out front but also using down blocks by the other linemen and tight ends to seal off the other defenders.

This group has done a nice job of playing on their feet coupled with DeMarco Murray's patience running style and Lance Dunbar's explosive quickness to put this defense in some pretty bad situations when dealing with playing the run. Stephen Jones knew something was in the works that we are all just now learning.

  • If you had a chance to view our Training Camp Live program from Thursday (Video above), you were able to see the wide receivers and cornerbacks go at it in the red zone. What was impressive about that period to me was the way in which a shorthanded group of cornerbacks were able to battle a veteran group as well as they were able to do.

It was a positive sign to see young guys like Terrance Mitchell, BW Webb, Tyler Patmon and Dashaun Phillips have the type of day that they did. I was especially impressed with Patmon because I thought it was the first time since those practices in the spring where he really looked confident and comfortable in the way that he played. He was aggressive and he played with a burst. He was physical when he needed to be and when he got in a little trouble, he was able to recover and rally on the ball to make a play.

DB coach Jerome Henderson should be proud the way that these kids responded when no one else was there to answer the bell and I tip my scouting cap to them in the way they fought through practice.   

  • Earlier in camp, we were seeing more opportunities for guys like Mackenzy Bernadeau and Zack Martin to take snaps at center with the second offensive group. What I am noticing now is that Bernadeau and Martin are taking fewer snaps there and these coaches are working with rookie Ronald Patrick more in that spot.

Where Patrick has shinned in my view is what he has been able to do during the one-on-one periods where the line works against the defense in pass rush drills. Patrick has been able to show the ability to play with foot quickness and nice lateral slide. He physically doesn't look like a powerful man but at 310 he has been able to hold his own when dealing with stronger guys like Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop. He has done a nice job of getting that off hand in position then quickly getting his snap hand up to control the rusher. He manages to keep his body in [embedded_ad]

position and can sit down on the rusher to control. Mentally he has looked fine in the team periods with no major mistakes or problems when it comes to handling scheme or calls.  His play has been steady and the coaches are showing more confidence in his ability to handle more of the snaps.

  • During practice I noticed that the defensive coaches gave rookie linebacker, Joe Windsor at shot as a rusher during the one-on-one period. Windsor did not fare well in his pass attempt but I understand what they were trying to do here. There are going to be these preseason games where they are going to be playing guys like Windsor, Dontavis Sapp and Keith Smith where they need to know what these players can and cannot do in certain packages.

When Windsor has been asked to play in coverage, he has shown up. I have observed him carrying Ryan Williams up the sideline on a wheel route while he maintained perfect position the entire time, not giving Dustin Vaughan any opportunity to place the ball in a window. Windsor is not the biggest guy matter of fact he looks like safety. The strength of his game is his quickness along with the ability to play with range. It was good to see him get more opportunities to show if he can do other things for this defense.     

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