Some thoughts from the practice field at Valley Ranch:
- As excited as everyone appears to be that Doug Free is on his way toward a permanent move to right guard, It is still my belief, that the best five linemen position wise is Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Free. When this group practiced together the week before the Oakland game, it was the first time in all of training camp where they had consistent success running the ball with DeMarco Murray and the overall protection was starting to come together.
For anyone that watched the Raiders game, we all saw the type of time that Romo had in the snaps he played. The one sack, was on him for holding the ball when he had receivers open down the field. The way that Free has restructured his game at tackle this training camp, needs to be carried out in my view. What this front office is basing their decision on is how Parnell played last season but right now, he doesn't look like the same player.
Let me say it this way, if Parnell had come in and competed with Free, play for play from the start of OTA's and minicamps for the job and showed he was ready to take that job, then by all means move Free but that's not the case at all. Free was able to improve on what we have seen from him in the past and he should be the starter at right tackle when Ronald Leary returns. I have my view as the best five and from what I have seen, it's not Doug Free at guard. That's not a slam at Free but more of what I have seen with my own eyes.
- I have to give these defensive coaches a lot of credit for not shielding B.W. Webb throughout this training camp. When he wasn't exactly playing with good technique and confidence early in this camp, they have stuck with him and these last couple of weeks, he has improved.
There were too many reps where he looked unsure of how he needed to play routes but the interception he had against the Bengals out of the slot was played with perfect technique when it came to positioning and finishing with ball skills. Where he is going to need work is when he is in press coverage, he really has to physically fight the receiver up the field but play strong enough where they do not gain separation on him.
Webb has the foot quickness to run with any receiver he faces but his strength and his understanding of what receivers are trying to do to him route wise will need to improve.
- Count me as one of those that agreed with Jason Garrett on the way he handled the DeMarco Murray situation during the game against the Bengals. I was also pleased with the way that Murray handled the benched and how he responded after it took place.
For those of you that think that Garrett overreacted here, that is not the case at all. I remember asking Garrett the question in Oxnard after a walk through practice when three times he instructed Murray to secure the ball at three points. His answer dealt with how it was "Our Ball" and turnovers were unacceptable .
Garrett is absolutely correct in preaching ball security to his club and if sitting players such as Murray to get that point across is the right path to take. [embedded_ad]
- As the roster reductions loom for this squad, the one player that I am having trouble coming to grips with is Anthony Armstrong. There is plenty about his game that I have grown to appreciate and respect. He has developed into a reliable player on several different levels. He has athletic ability with a streak of toughness. I know that he can play on the outside but there is a side of me that with his quickness he can line up in the slot and handle the responsibilities there.
From what I have observed, he plays as the fastest receiver on this team. He can get vertical, work inside or catch the ball along the sideline. He is a willing blocker and plays like an aware member of the special teams. I understand that his age is working against him but I do not see much wear and tear on that body.
Of the many things I learned from Bill Parcells is evaluate players on what they can do for your club when you take them to the game on Sunday. Parcells would ask, how many plays am I going to get from this player? I believe what I am trying to say is that Anthony Armstrong is not a one trick pony and if he in fact makes this roster, it will be for good reason.