OXNARD, Calif. – Here's a review of Wednesday's practice here at training camp, which includes more position battles from the backup running back spots to the down-the-line receiver positions.
- In the ongoing battle between Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams for the third running back on the roster, give the nod to Randle on this day. If you were able to see out Training Camp Live segment, Randle was doing what he does best and that is catch the ball in space and make someone miss. Williams had his
troubles on this day where in prior practices I thought that he showed more in this area and the way that he was running the ball in during the team periods. Randle showed nice initial quickness and a burst. Where there had been some stiffness in his play he appeared loose and free in his running style. The power was there on the edge running over Tyler Patmon who came up to try and take him on. His blocking on the blitz pickup was solid and he was in position on his fits. This is an area that both he and Williams have to improve in and we are beginning to see signs of that being the case with both players. Neither guy is letting the other get too far away in these practices which is a good sign for this front office and coaches.
- You might not know the name of Dartwan Bush the rookie out of Texas Tech but he plays a position that we all have talked about the last two days. My first exposure of Dartwan Bush was during the rookie practices after the draft at Valley Ranch. He was brought in as a tryout guy who in my view surprisingly played well enough that I wrote that I thought he should have been added to the roster much like the route that Ben Bass took a few seasons ago. Bush was signed much later and now finds himself, getting snaps on both spots at defensive end. He is physically not the most impressive player when you stand next to him on the field but he does play with several traits that gives him a chance to succeed. He is relentless when he is coming off the ball. There is a burst along with initial quickness. He can get on the blocker quickly and his technique has improved since his first days on the squad. You see him work combinations with his hands as he is moving up the field. At this point, he is a much better player against the pass than he is the run but for a defense that is looking for healthy bodies to line up and play, Dartwan Bush has opened a few eyes with his play so far.
- Receivers coach Derek Dooley is all about consistency when it comes to the play of his guys which is way you do not see them have many up and down days. LaRon Byrd has been consistent in his play since this camp has opened but on Wednesday, he took it up a notch with his play on the field. Byrd was my favorite to win the job if this front office decided to keep a sixth receiver on the roster but he has been a bit out played by Jamar Newsome and the rising Dezmon Briscoe. During the 7-on-7 drills, I thought he really did a nice job of using his size and route running ability to his advantage. When he can gain separation, his hands have been solid and dependable. He is not the quickest guy off the line and there are snaps where it takes him a little time to get going but once he is at full song, he is up the field. You can see the power in which he [embedded_ad] plays. He is a hard matchup because of his size. Defensive backs have trouble getting through him to defend the ball. Working with Dooley, you can see that he has developed to be a better route runner than his days in Arizona where he was primarily used just inside the hashes.
- The first time that I had seen rookie guard, Brian Clarke was the day after he signed his free agent contract with the Cowboys post draft. I had gotten some insight from the scouts before the draft to sit down and study some tape because he was a player of interest. Physically Clark is not going to make you forget of Larry Allen matter of fact he looks lighter than the 305 that he is listed at. Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com even commented on Wednesday to me that he is built more like an athletic center than a guard which is many cases appears true. Where Clarke has caught my eye has been in his ability to stay square, anchor down and handle these rushers during the one-on-one periods. It is rare that you see him off balance and he has such a tight grip on the defender that when they try to adjust on him, Clarke goes right with him, sometimes even to the ground. He does a really nice job of maintaining that contact balance both run and pass. Been fan of his body control on the block. There is some finish to his game. Has been getting snaps at center as well but in my view, really more suited to just play as a guard. Hasn't fallen on his face in this camp and is playing like he clearly belongs coming from a smaller college program.