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Scout's Eye: Tavon Austin In The Red Zone, Dorance Armstrong's Learning Curve; More


FRISCO, Texas –Just like that, OTAs have come to a close. 

The Cowboys finished their ninth and final OTA practice on Wednesday afternoon. They have a three-day minicamp next week, and then we'll settle in for the month-long wait until training camp.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, here's my notebook from a spirited Wednesday practice, as we saw the offense and defense go back and forth on a number of different occasions.

  • I like how the coaches are trying to get Michael Gallup the ball on the move. One of his best traits coming out of Colorado State was his ability to separate during his routes. Gallup took Byron Jones completely across the field, which forced Jones to really have to hustle in order just to keep up. Dak Prescott put the ball in a perfect spot that allowed Gallup to continue up the field without breaking stride.
  • Jihad Ward continues to be difficult for Connor Williams to have to deal with. Williams has issues when he misses with his hands, and this causes him to have to lean on Ward in order to slow down his charge. The great equalizer for Williams is that he's such an athlete that if he gets overextended, he can still recover and not many linemen can do that.
  • Dorance Armstrong is going to learn that in this league you cannot have success rushing these tackles down the middle. Armstrong played right into the hands of La'el Collins several times before he actually tried a move to the edge where he didn't have to deal with Collins' upper body strength. Collins has been hard to defeat regardless who has been matched up with him.
  • I would never think of Tavon Austin as a red zone threat due to his size, but this coaching staff is sure trying.  They're moving Austin around in order to create some 1-on-1 matchups to take advantage of his quickness. Despite working in a small area with bodies around him, Austin was able to make a nice hands catch from Prescott and split two defenders to get into the end zone. 
  • Noah Brown showed a little quickness to get inside of Jourdan Lewis down in the red zone. Brown made a sharp break about seven yards down the field that bought him a little space. Lewis tried to rally to cover the spot, but he just couldn't get his right hand on the ball to knock it away. Brown snatched it head-high from Cooper Rush before Kavon Frazier arrived on the scene.
  • Mike White waited too long to hit Darius Jackson on the swing route. Jackson was open in the flat with no support to his side. By holding the ball, it gave Donovan Olumba and Duke Thomas the chance to react in coverage. If he hits him earlier -- it's a walk-in touchdown.
  • Well-played red zone route by Justin March-Lillard defending Blake Jarwin. On the route, Jarwin drove hard on March-Lillard, who stood his ground. In the pocket, Dak Prescott determined that he had a small window to try and fit the ball in on the "In" cut. Prescott let it fly just as March-Lillard crossed Jarwin's face, extending his right hand to knock the ball away.
  • I'm surprised that Damien Wilson and Kavon Frazier didn't play Blake Jarwin's touchdown catch in the red zone better. It appeared that Frazier was focused on the outside while Wilson had the inside. Wilson over-played the route instead of staying more to the middle of the field where Jarwin ended up with the ball. It was a pretty throw by Cooper Rush to get the ball over the top between the two defenders.

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