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Scout's Notebook: Defense Shines In Final Practice Of Training Camp

FRISCO, Texas – Here are my notes from the Cowboys' final practice of training camp.

  • I continue to like what I am seeing from Orlando Scandrick playing the run, and hopefully this carries over into the season. Scandrick, playing in the slot over Cole Beasley, was able to beat him inside off a Darren McFadden draw play. The hole opened up nicely for McFadden and there was a chance for a large gain, but Scandrick read the play all the way and came flying from the inside to meet McFadden before he had a chance to get going.
  • Maliek Collins was able to penetrate on the twist stunt, which allowed Stephen Paea the freedom to loop around the corner and right into Dak Prescott for the sack. Collins got such a push inside that Prescott had to attempt to flush to his right to avoid him. The coverage downfield also played a factor in the sack. Nolan Carroll had Terrance Williams. Orlando Scandrick was on Cole Beasley and Jaylon Smith was allowing Jason Witten no space. Prescott had no choice but to eat the ball.
  • Beautiful execution of the fade from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant, working against Anthony Brown. Bryant had slight separation from Brown in the corner as he began to track the ball. Bryant had adjusted his body to catch the ball, positioned facing to his left. In midflight, he realized that he had to adjust his body back to the right in order to high-point the ball. Brown tried to adjust with him -- and without looking, he took a swipe at the ball but was unable to. Bryant secured the pass and rolled out of the end zone for the score.
  • It wouldn't be a practice if Jason Witten and Dak Prescott didn't hook up in the red zone. Witten, once again working down the middle of the field, cleared Chidobe Awuzie in a zone drop and set up right in front of Jeff Heath. From the middle of the pocket, Prescott threw a strike to Witten with La'el Collins nearly in his lap. The ball was in a perfect spot, and Witten was able to haul it in easily.
  • Xavier Woods was able to pick off Kellen Moore as it appeared the offense was in position to score points. Moore tried to hit Brian Brown on the out, but Woods was right there, reading the play the entire time. Moore was successful getting the ball over the top of Marquez White, but not through Woods -- who was able to undercut the route. Woods was in better position to take the ball in and was able to do so, finishing off the drive for the defense.
  • Charles Tapper showed up in this practice with a couple of different pressures of Kellen Moore and Cooper Rush – both of which would have resulted in sacks. On both plays, he was able to get around Byron Bell, who really had his struggles with him. His best rush came during the team compete period when he was able to set Bell up with a spin move that left him off balance and reaching. It is the type of traits we've seen from Charles Tapper before, but up until this point not nearly consistent enough.
  • Impressive dip move and balance by Maliek Collins to get around La'el Collins for a pressure. Collins, working with David Irving, twisted from the inside to outside behind the penetrating Irving. La'el Collins felt what was happening and attempted to get to the outside to stop him. Maliek Collins was at the level of Dak Prescott, so he dipped his right shoulder toward the ground and underneath Collins' hands. Prescott just managed to get rid of the ball to Jason Witten before Maliek Collins was right on top of him.
  • When Jerry Jones spoke on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan, he talked about Jaylon Smith and Justin Durant as one player while filling in for Anthony Hitchens. I believe that we're going to see Smith on early downs and Durant on passing or nickel situations. At this moment, Durant is a better cover man than Smith -- and by that I am talking about awareness. Durant has a feel for where he needs to be in coverage and a great example of that was when he was waiting on Noah Brown on a crossing route. Durant had an idea that he was going to get Brown underneath by the bunch formation the offense was in. Once Brown crossed, all Durant had to do was step up and knock the pass from Cooper Rush away. It's these types of plays that lead me to believe this is going to be how they play the Mike linebacker spot.
  • Well played by Sammy Seamster, defending the fade against Andy Jones. Jones works up the field, but Seamster was right there -- not allowing any space. Cooper Rush gave his receiver a chance with a high pass, but Jones couldn't extend due to Seamster's coverage. Seamster tracked the ball and was able to knock it away, forcing the offense to have to run another play -- resulting in a Charles Tapper sack.
  • Uzoma Nwachukwu might not make this roster, but he's surely putting himself in consideration for a practice squad spot. Nwachukwu made another nice reception during team period when he was able to adjust to a low ball thrown Kellen Moore along the sideline. Nwachukwu, facing zone coverage, found some space between Sammy Seamster and Jameill Showers for the catch. Moore wasn't able to get much on the pass due to pressure from Lenny Jones, but it was just enough for Nwachukwu to get his hands under the pass and keep his body in bounds.


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