OXNARD, Calif. – Here are some various thoughts from Sunday's Blue-White scrimmage.
Was impressed with the way that cornerback Brandon Carr was able to play in coverage today. Working on the left side, he was outstanding and it didn't matter who he had to face, he played with solid technique. Where Carr gives receivers fits, is when he can get his hands on them going up the field. Carr doesn't allow the receivers to get separation on him, nor does the quarterback get a window like he does with other corners. Where Carr has improved in camp this week is in his ability to carry guys like Dez Bryant inside be physical with him in route and defend the ball. Carr is a longed armed player and when he is in position, he can get his hand between the receivers hands. Carr was good in the red zone as well working on coverage with Orlando Scandrick in covering Andre Holmes and Jason Witten to his side.
During this off season I had been critical of the play of cornerback Orlando Scandrick because I didn't feel like that he played last season with near enough aggressiveness. I thought he was too cautious and allowed receivers to take the fight to him. With these injuries to Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins, Scandrick has had to take the majority of the reps at the corner opposite Carr and play inside on the nickel. Scandrick doesn't have great height and teams will try and take advantage of him in this area but in the practice on Saturday and the scrimmage on Sunday, he was able to play the ball in the air at the highest point against Dez Bryant. What makes Bryant so dangerous to cover is his ability to get down the field and go snatch the ball out of the air. On two separate occasions Scandrick was able to time his leap and defend the ball from Bryant keep him from a touchdown. Good aggressive plays on his part.
Of the players that usually get Blue practice work during the week, the standout from my position on Jones Tower was defensive end Tyrone Crawford. When the coaches and scouts sit down tonight after dinner to watch the tape, they are going to see Crawford and really how disruptive of a player he was throughout practice. It didn't matter who he lined up against, he was finding a way to work up the field and get into the back field. I have said this before and I will now say it again, he is one of those defenders that is making moves as he is going up the field. His effort is outstanding but his technique is even better. Crawford is one of those defensive linemen that refuses to stay blocked.
Big news that Cole Beasley was back with the team today and it was nice to see receivers coach Jimmy Robinson go over to Beasley during stretching and pat him on the chest and say a few words which Beasley nodded to. As good as it was to have him back, other receivers stepped up to make the necessary plays to try and get themselves noticed by the staff. I really liked the scrimmages of Raymond Radway and Tim Benford. This is now three practices in a row where Radway has shown some ability to run effective routes but also make the necessary catches when the ball is thrown his direction. Radway is moving better and it doesn't look like he is carrying or dragging his injured leg. I was hearing from folks that he was dealing with some pain there but it looks like that is probably behind him. Benford plays much faster than his forty time and I respect the way that he is not afraid to take his route anywhere on the field. When he runs that "4" across the middle or carries the "9" vertical, he does it with confidence. Benford is also shown the ability to fight for the football with a defender on his body. These receivers have to deal with all kinds of coverage but today, Raymond Radway and Tim Benford were up to the task.
I haven't talked much about the quarterbacks in this camp but just watching Kyle Orton throw the ball around, I thought he once again showed a live arm but where Orton is really impressive is his ability to throw with accuracy but some good touch. Usually quarterbacks that throw with power, really have trouble with their accuracy but not Orton. He made several throws in the scrimmage that was spot on with not much room to work with but I want to go back to a throw on Saturday to Raymond Radway. During a red zone period, Radway is lined up wide left against C.J. Wilson, and as he heads up the field, Wilson carries him to the sideline, on the inside Kemp is running his route to try and hold safety Danny McCray in the middle of the field. It's a great route by Kemp as Radway manages to work up the sideline and into the end zone. Orton reads it all the way, and now so does McCray who now tries to get in coverage on Radway. Orton fires a strike to a leaping Radway, one step ahead of a driving McCray. It was a confident throw by Orton that only Radway could come up with and he did for the touchdown.