IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys' first week of OTAs has concluded, with the third practice of the week wrapping up on Thursday afternoon.
With six days until our next opportunity to watch practice, I've got a handful of leftover impressions from Wednesday's session. Here are four things I'll be thinking about as the team prepares for its second week of organized work.
- In watching Greg Hardy work on Wednesday, it reminded me of a Major League Baseball pitcher getting ready for the season during spring training. He already has a wide range of pass rush moves, but you could tell that he was having a good day of working against Tyron Smith and trying out some different ideas. What is also impressive about watching Hardy live is how quick he is off the ball and into the blocker. There are no wasted steps or movements when he is rushing the passer -- which makes him rare.
- There has been much said and written here lately in the media about Joseph Randle's comments in regard to DeMarco Murray and leaving yards on the field. My feeling is that Randle did not intend for this to be mean-spirited but an honest assessment of what was fact. It is no secret that Murray is not the most gifted running back when it comes to a burst and extended speed. There were plenty of snaps I scouted myself during the season where if Murray would have had an extra gear, those five-yard gains would have been eight-to-10. Where Murray was at his best was finishing runs in a physical manor, but the film showed that every week there were some opportunities for bigger plays and Randle was not off in his comments at all for as much as people want to be critical to him for making them.
- It was only one practice, but DeMarcus Lawrence already looks very comfortable playing on that left side. He has physically added more weight to his frame, which has translated into more power. He had a rush off the edge where La'el Collins tried to kick outside to stop him and he wasn't even close. Lawrence took a direct path to Brandon Weeden and even if Collins was able to get in front of his I believe he would have had a difficult time slowing him down for how well Lawrence got off the ball and his body position on the rush. So far it appears to be a natural fit for the second-year player.
- There was some talk during the off season that we might see Brandon Carr move from left corner to the right side and Orlando Scandrick might make the switch to the other side. For the practice that we got to observe on Wednesday, Carr was on the left side like he is normally is. The thought was that they'd be able to take pressure off of him having to deal with the opponent's best receiver lining up across from him due to the fact that most offenses are right handed and it is easier for a quarterback to throw the ball that way. There was also the thought that the move would help with Carr's confidence, which at times he struggles with. As noted on Wednesday in my 12 Thoughts, rookie Byron Jones lined up at both spots and in the slot as well while Tyler Patmon was on the right side. Carr might get that work on the right side in the practices that we are not allowed to watch just to see how that fit might work before using it in training camp.