OXNARD, Calif. – Some thoughts from the film room in Oxnard:
- DeMarcus Ware is clearly ready to put last season behind him. His offseason condition work clearly paid off early in this camp with some of the reps when he was going against Tyron Smith in the Team and Team Blitz periods. Ware has always played with quickness but that hamstring injury that slowed him down last season appears to be a thing of the past. He beat Tyron Smith and Gavin Escobar on an inside rush on an explosive move that would have been a sack on Tony Romo. His shoulder appeared solid when he was fighting Smith in the running game which was a nice, physical battle between the two.
- On my live view of practice and what we were able to show you on Training Camp Live, Dez Bryant was also in good form. There were some nice reps on the "4" route or In's where Bryant was able to gain separation quickly with good technique off the line. Bryant also had a play up the field where he was able to get vertical for the ball at its highest point which gave the corner no chance. Where Bryant had to really work hard was on the slants that he was running. There were a couple of reps where the linebacker's depth gave him some problems. He will get a better feel for how to adjust that route to avoid the trash inside.
- Lance Dunbar received the majority of the reps as the backup to Murray and he took advantage of the situation with a solid day both running and catching the ball. Matter of fact, all the backs I thought had solid practices. Phillip Tanner caught the ball well along with Joseph Randle, who I did observe step up on pass protection and work his man to the outside and away from the quarterback. The quicker that Randle can make those types of adjustments, the quicker he can battle for more playing time because these coaches will gain that confidence in him.
- When tackle Edawn Coughman lined up at guard on Sunday, it was the first time that I had seen the rookie there this year. Coughman is having to play because of the injuries to Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary, and his effort was very good even though his technique did struggle some, but that was to be expected. He was beaten up the field for a pressure off his right shoulder by Jerome Long, which caused Kyle Orton to have to move to his left and the result was an interception by DeVonte Holloman. But for his first time of playing the position, he hung in there well. Guard Ray Dominguez is also getting plenty of work and what you notice about his work is that he does a nice job of playing with power on his run blocks. He really has nice size but good feet as well. It wasn't always pretty, but these guys are getting the opportunity to play and holding down the fort.
- I wrote about Dez Bryant earlier and the type of day he started off with, but a guy that also caught my attention with a couple of solid grabs was Eric Rogers. With Rogers, the size is there but the blazing speed is not, but he does manage to work himself free in the route and make the sure-handed catch. His body type is that of a player that can fight for the ball in traffic and make the play. He has outstanding length but his best trait is that he doesn't fight the ball when it comes in his direction. He plays like a natural catcher and it's rare that you see him allow the ball to get to his body. A good example of this was during the 7-on-7 period when he fought through the traffic and snagged the ball on the "In" at the right depth and proper spot. For the first day in a crowded group, he did things to get noticed. [embedded_ad]
- It was a tough blow to the depth of the defensive line when Tyrone Crawford went out with his season ending injury. How they look to replace him, whether it's a veteran free agent or within, is something this front office has to now deal with. If at this point they look within, keep an eye on Cameron Sheffield, the third year man out of Troy. There were times during the OTAs and minicamps where he flashed for the scouts his upfield play. He was mainly lining up on the weak side on Sunday, which means that Kyle Wilber switched to the strong or left side. Sheffield at 268 pounds doesn't have the power of Crawford at the point, but he does have better quickness and can attack the edge which is required in this scheme. Sheffield and Monte Taylor will be the guys that will get the call until this front office can decide how they want to move forward.