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Scout's Eye: Jeff Heath's Big Day, Andy Jones Stands Out; More Notes

IRVING, Texas– All of a sudden, there's just one practice left until training camp.

The Cowboys went through Wednesday's minicamp practice on the fields at Valley Ranch, which means they've completed 11 of 12 offseason practices.

Here are my top takeaways from today's work:

  • It's always fun to see Jason Witten and Byron Jones go at it during practice. On Wednesday, Witten was able to get the best of him on an inside move from the wide slot, but it took a perfect throw from Tony Romo to make it happen. Jones was in position to make the play but Witten was able to adjust to a ball that was thrown above his head. Later in the series, Witten was flexed wide to the right with Jones lined up across from him. This time, Witten tried to run a fade, but Jones was ready for him. Jones was able to get enough of Witten before he was able to get up the field. Romo was able put the ball in a position where Witten could adjust again, but this time the throw was too high and wide. Jason Witten tends to be very vocal during practice, but to no one's surprise, Byron Jones is not afraid to get right back in his face.   
  • Jeff Heath had one of those days where he was in the right place at the right time. He recovered a fumble from Andy Jones that was knocked loose by Derek Akunne. Later in the practice he had a "pick-six" where Geoff Swaim was too shallow on a route and his path took him in the direction of a curl being run by Ed Eagan. It was a mistake by Swaim all the way, but to Heath's credit he was in great position on the route and when Prescott let the ball go – you knew exactly what was going to happen.
  • Despite that fumble in team period, Andy Jones continues to do things to get himself noticed in a good way during practice. Jones has been getting looks with the first offense in multiple receiver sets. He had a nice curl on Brandon Carr where Romo delivered the ball before he even had a chance to turn. It was a pretty catch of a ball right on the money. The play of the day for the offense was his fade against Arjen Colqhoun in the left corner of the end zone. Jones released wide to the outside, which bought him separation from Colqhoun. Kellen Moore, like Romo from Tuesday's practice, put the ball in a perfect spot for Jones to get vertical and bring it down.
  • We saw a different look in the nickel, with Anthony Hitchens as the middle linebacker and Damien Wilson on the weak side. In the previous practices during the OTAs, it was Andrew Gachkar in the middle. Where this new combination showed up was during the red zone part of practice. As a matter of fact, I thought the back end did a really nice job of making it difficult on the offense with their spacing and coverage. The quarterbacks were having to hold the ball a tick or two longer than normal.
  • Jameill Showers continues to throw the ball well in the limited opportunities that he receives at practice. During the 2 Minute Drill, he made two tight window throws down the field to Chris Brown and Ed Eagan that had some pace to them. He also had a nice touch pass to Chris Brown, who did a nice job of selling the route to the point where Anthony Brown fell down. Showers continues to get the ball out of his hand quickly -- but more importantly, he does it with accuracy.
  • Deji Olatoye had a nice interception during the 2 Minute Drill run by Kellen Moore. Olatoye, who has been lining up at left corner, was able to jam Andy Jones enough to throw him off his route. With Jones off balance, Moore was still committed to Jones, but Olatoye was in perfect position and his ball skills just took over. Olatoye caught the ball easily, took three steps up the field then took a knee to kill the drive.
  • Chaz Green will not beat Doug Free out for his job at right tackle – it just will not happen. Where Green needs to focus is trying to beat Charles Brown out for that job as the swing tackle. Where Green has struggled the most is with his movement in these practices. I thought he was a much better foot athlete during his time at Florida, but he hadn't shown that until practice on Wednesday. Up until this point, his feet and hands weren't on the same page. He was often off balance and in poor blocking position. There were snaps where the rusher had managed to grab the edge on him and he was defenseless to do anything about it. But things came together for him both on the left and right sides, which was good to see. His balance and body position were not all over the place and he was tighter with his set which gave him a chance to be more competitive.


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