IRVING, Texas – A handful of leftover observations from our chance to watch the team's OTA session on Wednesday afternoon:
- I could write about Zack Martin every opportunity we get to watch practice, but I would just be repeating myself in what I see from his play. Where I will focus is on his ability to line up and play with whomever is next to him at right tackle. If you were to ask Martin point-blank, you might not get him to admit it is different, but in conversations I have had over the years, it does make a difference. Martin in his rookie season worked very well with Doug Free and then later in the year with Jermey Parnell. Martin hasn't taken many snaps with Darrion Weems or La'el Collins, but you would never notice this as he works through his techniques in the running game or passing stunts from rushers with these tackles. The transition has been smooth and on point. Where Martin doesn't get nearly enough credit is with the stoutness that he is able to play with. It is difficult for a defender to get movement on him, which makes it difficult for the twister to get around the corner. It's rare to see a stunt work to his side because he doesn't allow the twist to come off clean due to his power.
- I honestly didn't give Keith Rivers much of a chance to make this roster, especially after adding other pieces through the draft -- but I have to say I am impressed with the number of snaps that Rivers is getting with the defense as a nickel linebacker. I know that this group is down health-wise and Rivers has had to pick up the slack during practice, but his play has been more than respectable. In going back and checking my notes when he was signed, I wrote that I thought one of his best traits was his ability to play with intelligence and use those smarts in coverage. There were several snaps where Rivers was exactly where he needed to be, position-wise, to keep the ball from being thrown underneath. Where Rivers is going to struggle -- and I put this in my notes, as well – is that I just don't see the quickness or the technique to be an effective blitzer and that was the case on Wednesday.
- Seeing some stories floating around about Jeremy Mincey now getting some work inside at defensive tackle. This is really not a big deal for him, and in reality it could be a very good fit for him as a pass rusher. By putting him closer to the quarterback, it will allow him to take a shorter path to the passer but it will also allow the defense to have a player with power and strength that could push the pocket inside. Mincey is one of the best bull-rushers on the squad and once he gets going he can be difficult to stop. What was special about Mincey is that it didn't matter the competition that he is facing – he is going to give you his very best, whether that's in the first quarter or the fourth. Before Mincey arrived in Dallas, he had played inside with the Jaguars and Broncos, so this is nothing new and a scheme we should see often especially in nickel situations.