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Scout's Notebook: Beasley's Return; Heath's Role


FRISCO, Texas – Football is back in Frisco. The Cowboys are settling into a training camp routine out here at Ford Center at The Star, and there was still plenty to glean from Tuesday's practice even though the team worked in shells for the second straight day.

On to the notebook:

·     Terrance Williams continues to show up when his number has been called. He was physically able to push Byron Jones aside off press coverage and create separation on the slant. Dak Prescott, dealing with a poor snap, managed to gather control of the ball and fire it in Williams' direction. The pass was high and forced Williams to fully extend his hands to make the catch high above his head.

·     Good to see Cole Beasley back on the practice field after dealing with a groin injury that forced him to miss time during the Oxnard portion of camp. Beasley appeared to once again play with an explosive quickness that's been such a major part of his game. Down on the goal line, Prescott missed an opportunity to get him the ball while he was running that return route where he goes outside, plants then comes back to the inside. Prescott instead had his eyes to the other side of the field and took a sack from DeMarcus Lawrence.

·     Tremendous athletic catch by Geoff Swaim as Prescott broke the pocket avoiding the rush. Swaim was able to stay active, moving with Prescott until he found space by running away from Sean Lee. Swaim somehow went full extension with his hands in order to catch the back of the ball before going out of bounds.

·     Michael Gallup is getting the real gist running routes in the NFL. Gallup was asked to clear space for Lance Lenoir behind him and he was able to do just that. If Gallup was lazy off the line, Byron Jones or Kavon Frazier could have reacted to play coverage. Instead, Gallup was able to occupy both defenders to allow Lenoir to run the out, which Prescott was happy to throw for the first down.

·     Well executed rub route by Mekale McKay to get Lenoir up the field. McKay is one of the club's bigger receivers and was able to drive inside, getting just enough of Anthony Brown to allow Lenoir a free run behind him. Prescott put the ball over the inside shoulder of Lenoir, who adjusted to make the reception.

·     Nice pass defense by Jourdan Lewis to knock the ball out of Williams' hands when it appeared Williams was going to make a huge reception down the sideline. Prescott's pass gave Williams a chance to extend his hands, but Lewis, running with Williams, managed to get his right hand in there just before Williams was able to pull the ball down.

·     Rookie linebacker Chris Covington got some work with the first defense during practice. The staff really likes his ability to run and play in coverage. He missed a lot of practice time dealing with an illness but has been able to make up ground during the practices since his return. Covington has been lining up at SAM.   

·     This Xavier Woods injury hurts this defense on a couple of different fronts. Woods was showing signs of a dependable player that plays error-free football as a deep safety. It's never good to lose that type of player. His injury also means Jeff Heath will have to play more deep safety, which I think hurts this defense. Sure, Heath can play in that role, but he's so much more valuable being around the line of scrimmage with his ability to finish. He has such a feel for where to position himself and that allows him to be a tremendous finisher. His fits in the running game are like a linebacker – he's just as instinctive as a Sean Lee in this scheme.

·     Give Chidobe Awuzie some credit for not losing concentration on his interception of Prescott during 7-on-7. Prescott tried to look Awuzie off, but he just wouldn't bite. He maintained his inside position on Gallup, which also helped him track the ball. When Gallup stumbled slightly, that was all Awuzie needed to come down with the ball for the turnover.

·     Cooper Rush tried to fit the ball to Lenoir between Lewis and rookie safety Tyree Robinson, but Robinson came away with the interception. It was going to be a tough throw for Rush given the positioning of Robinson near the sideline in a two-deep look. Robinson had plenty of help to the inside with Lee picking up Swaim. That allowed Robinson the opportunity to fully see the route develop to his left and react to it well.