Some thoughts from the practice field in Oxnard:
- Nate Livings is once again going to miss some time with knee soreness, which puts this offensive line in a bind as it works toward the Hall of Fame game. Livings joins Kevin Kowalski, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ryan Cook on the sidelines as the team once again scrambles for healthy bodies not only for these games but practice as well.
- In his afternoon press conference, Jason Garrett gave praise to rookie running back Joseph Randle for his work on the goal line period on Tuesday. Randle has been solid in the work that was has been able to get in this camp. Where he really caught my eye was his blitz pickup on the goal line after a play fake by Kyle Orton that resulted in a touchdown to Dante Rosario. We have been seeing more from Randle in this area which is something that young backs struggle with when first coming into the league.
- I am caught between whether this squad keeps five or six receivers on the roster. I believe that if they keep five it's Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley. If they keep six, it will come down to Anthony Armstrong, Eric Rogers or Tim Benford. This is something that I struggle with everyday and I know the front office does as well. As we work our way through this camp, injuries could play a huge factor in whether they are able to keep that sixth man. The front office might be forced into going long at a position in order to get through the first couple of games. The receiver I am starting to worry about is Danny Coale and until he gets back, I cannot put him into my plans because the other receivers are practicing.
- A cornerback that has flown under the radar in this camp but is worth mentioning, is veteran Brandon Underwood. Despite playing five years in this league, I was not that familiar with his game but each day he has done one or two things where I remarked to someone standing next to me that he just made a solid play. He is built like a NFL cornerback with long, rangy features. He is not blessed with the best speed or quickness but when the ball does go in the air, he has been in position to make the play more times than not. In a group that has made it's share of quality plays, he has done his job but he is figthing a numbers game now with Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb. I believe that the front office will just carry five at this position but if they only went with four safeties, he would be a strong consideration if they went six corners. [embedded_ad]
- Like Underwood in the secondary, a player along the defensive line that has shown up well in this camp is Jerome Long. Where Long has done a nice job is playing inside at tackle but like so many of these players on this line, he has shown some flexibility to also play at end. At the point he has been physical and when paired with other teammates, he has done a solid job working the twist games as the penetrator allowing the looper to get home. It has not mattered who Long has worked against, he has shown up on film. In this game on Sunday night, Long, Monte Taylor, Jeris Pendleton, Landon Cohen and George Selvie will be receiving plenty of work against the Dolphins but this is not a bad situation for these players because of the need for backup defensive linemen on the roster.