FRISCO, Texas – It was a hot day to be outside in North Texas, but it didn’t look like it bothered the Cowboys too much.
Even in just the one week since we last watched a Cowboys practice, there was a lot to observe in Wednesday’s OTA – the fifth one of this offseason. Here’s my notebook from this afternoon’s work:
- Need an example of Jaylon Smith moving well? Coaches tried to set up a situation to get Ezekiel Elliott one-on-one in the flat against Smith. The plan was to try and pick Smith with Blake Jarwin by running him inside. To Smith’s credit, he was able to avoid the contact and quickly face up Elliott, giving Dak Prescott nowhere to go with the ball.
- We’re starting to see Cole Beasley playing more on the outside, instead of the slot. What Beasley has been able to demonstrate is that, even on the outside, he still has that quickness to separate. Beasley was able to defeat Duke Thomas with a good, quick move to get inside. Thomas had no chance on the play once Beasley made his first move by exploding off his right foot. It was an easy pitch and catch from Dak Prescott.
- Dak Prescott had a tremendous play fake to Ezekiel Elliott that drew Tyrone Crawford down inside, which left the outside completely open. Crawford was all over Elliott as Prescott smartly sprinted to the outside, untouched for a large gain. Give Elliott some credit for selling the fake as well.
- Things have been going well for Connor Williams while working with the first unit at left guard. There was a snap where I don’t know if Williams missed an assignment, but Datone Jones went right around Travis Frederick like Frederick was expecting help from Williams. Williams ended up double-teaming with Cam Fleming while Frederick went up on Joe Thomas, leaving Jones unblocked. After the play you could see Frederick and Williams have a little chat discussing what had just happened.
- Jourdan Lewis got away with a tug on Michael Gallup’s jersey on a crossing route. Gallup would have had Lewis beat out of the slot if not for that pull. The play still had a chance, but the pass from Cooper Rush was much too high and gave Gallup no chance for the reception.
- It was nice to once again see Darius Jackson back in a Cowboys uniform -- but his first play was forgettable. Jackson was lined as a single back and took three quick steps to his right at the snap. The problem was his path was much too wide and Mike White couldn’t get him the ball. White had to follow him around the corner trying to get what he could. This was the only rep that Jackson got all day.
- Outstanding recognition by Justin March-Lillard of a screen working to his left. Trey Williams sold the fake as he was blocking well, but March-Lillard wasn’t fooled. As soon as the ball hit Williams’ hands, March-Lillard had beaten the block of Damien Mama quickly and was in the position for the tackle. March-Lillard has shown up well in these two practices that we’ve been able to watch.
- Well-executed pulls by Chaz Green and La’el Collins to get Ezekiel Elliott to the outside. Green was able to trap Taco Charlton to the inside, which allowed Collins to take care of Jeff Heath on the outside. Elliott went untouched for 20 yards before Xavier Woods was able to track him down. I like the way these coaches are using the offensive linemen on the edges and in space. It puts these defenders in a bind to have to deal with these big blockers.
- Allen Hurns had Anthony Brown beaten across the field, but Prescott’s pass was a little too wide for him to haul in. It was a good sign that Xavier Woods was in position on the play, driving from the middle of the field in order to lend a hand to Brown -- who was in chase mode.
- I think that Cam Fleming had a New England Patriots flashback during the two-minute drill today. With time running down and the offense close to the goal line, Tom Brady would run a quarterback sneak. It appeared that Fleming thought they were going to run a quarterback sneak. Fleming dove to the ground and then regained his feet to get in his stance. Instead of a sneak, Cooper Rush spiked the ball which allowed the field goal team on to kick the game- winning field goal. I believe the officials missed the call of illegal motion. After the play, Paul Alexander ran up to the line of scrimmage to say something to Fleming about what he had just done.