Scout's Notebook: Big Day For Rookie DT, Veteran Guard


  • I honestly understand where Morris Claiborne is coming from because of the frustrations of his career at this point, but his actions on Saturday during practice do not reflect the type of player I believe he is.  I have done nothing but talk about Claiborne all spring long -- about the chip on his shoulder that he has been carrying -- but that doesn't mean that he has to lose his self-control and composure on a teammate. There is no question that Claiborne is feeling the pressure of putting his past behind him and dealing with today. You can see that in how he is has physically remade his body to prepare himself in every way

possible to maintain his health for an entire season. His movement is back, as well as his confidence. He has accepted the challenges of battling Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams to try and make himself a better player, but that is where his focus needs to be. There were several nice plays that Claiborne made and one that he didn't on a vertical pass to Bryant that he couldn't have made if he had a stepladder. Claiborne was in outstanding position, but Bryant was that much better. What is a shame is that no one is talking about the type of day Claiborne had overall, which in my opinion was outstanding technique-wise. Instead the buzz is about his disagreements with the receivers on this team. As positive as it was to see Morris Claiborne show the emotion and passion for the opportunity to compete on the field, it would have been better for him to show that though his play and not his mouth. Hopefully that will be a lesson learned.

  • Depending who you talked to since the arrive of Rolando McClain, the thought was to bring him along slowly and allow him to learn the scheme in the classroom and watching initially, then throw him into the mix once he was ready. Saturday morning we got our first look at McClain as the squad went through a special teams walkthrough practice. McClain was wearing a scout team jersey most of the morning helping give a picture to the starters on the special teams. In the afternoon practice, you could see that he was a bit winded during the drills but was able to keep pace and fight through than surprisingly in was put in the 9-on-7 drills at the Mike and later during the Team Period. There was even a snap where the offensive formation shifted and he had to make the defensive adjustment, doing it with a hand signal. McClain looked comfortable playing at the point of attack, taking Lance Dunbar to the ground, then later on a middle of the field zone drop where he was in the right place. When the ball went to the outside, you didn't see that burst I had seen before in his games, but believe that was due to a lack of conditioning. I would have to say that it was a good and unexpected start for the amount of work he received. 
  • As good as Henry Melton and Tyrone Crawford looked Saturday on the defensive line, rookie Davon Coleman was right there with them. Coleman had been lining up all over the line but in this practice he saw the majority of his action playing as the three technique next to Terrell McClain. McClain spent most of his time as the one-technique after taking majority of his snaps during the spring at the three in place of Melton. Coleman physically looks much wider and stouter than he does tall when you stand next to him. There were several times during the practice where he would beat a block on the front side and end up in the backfield near the ball or use a spin move on a pass rush to throw the blocker off balance, working his way to the quarterback. It was impressive that every time I looked up, he was making some type of [embedded_ad] disruptive play -- which was no different from what we had seen on his college tape at Arizona State. For a young player, he plays with surprisingly good hand use and awareness in how to try and free himself from blockers. He really fits the scheme well in how he gets up the field and disrupts things. He needs to keep building on this type of practice.
  • With Ronald Leary most likely to be out until at least Tuesday with the slight hamstring injury, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Uche Nwaneri have been getting work on that left side. We all have an understanding of who Bernadeau is and how he plays, but Nwaneri was the player of the two that caught my eye and it wasn't because Bernadeau was playing poorly. Nwaneri had some quality pass sets and was able to anchor down on a rusher or two and not give any ground. One of the issues I observed in his game was his inability to sit down on his man and not get pushed back. On Saturday, he played with some upper and lower body power but more importantly he was able to extend his arms, keep his head out of the block and control his man. When it comes to passing stunts and playing against twisting defensive linemen, you can see the experience that he has in handling these situations. There were several snaps where he and Darrion Weems were able to sort things out and provide the necessary protection for Brandon Weeden or Caleb Hanie in the pocket. It was a nice start for him.
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