OXNARD, Calif. – This was a fantastic preview of what I hope we'll see during the Cowboys' scrimmage on Sunday.
Between the goal line period and the skirmish during pass rush drills, Saturday was an intense day of practice. It showed in every facet of the Cowboys' practice, and there were a lot of impressive performances.
Here are my notes on what went down from the practice fields:
- What a tremendous effort by Bo Scarbrough to lower his shoulder and run through Joe Thomas to score on the first offensive play of the goal line period. Scarbrough could have had a second touchdown on the day if he had read his block a little better and stayed to the outside instead of trying to work the ball inside. Zack Martin, La'el Collins and Geoff Swaim had the edge secured, also with the help of a nice kick out block from Dalton Schultz. Scarbrough will study the film post practice and be kicking himself for missing that opportunity.
- One thing you should never question about Kavon Frazier is his toughness. Frazier used that toughness on two separate occasions to help his teammates with a goal line stand. Frazier set the edge against a Zack Martin pull block, which forced Bo Scarbrough to stay inside where he was tackled by Antwaun Woods and Joe Thomas. Scarbrough couldn't bounce the ball to the edge. Next play, Frazier played off a block by Blake Jarwin, sliding down inside to tackle Jordan Chunn before he had a chance to get into the end zone.
- Nice tackle by Tre'von Johnson on Jordan Chunn to prevent a score -- but he needs to buy a steak dinner for Charles Tapper and Tyree Robinson for giving up their bodies in order for him to make the tackle. Tapper drove David Wells into the backfield and Robinson took on Jamize Olawale, which opened up things for Johnson to finish.
- Can't remember the last time I saw a middle linebacker carry a slot receiver some 50 yards on a route, but Jaylon Smith did just that. In a two-deep look, Smith had the middle of the field and somehow he was able to run stride-for-stride with Cole Beasley to knock the ball away. Smith did a great job of not only staying off Beasley but tracking the ball as well.
- Impressive battle between Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence during the pass rush drill. Lawrence made good on his promise to face Martin the next time he had a chance. Both players are technically sound and physically strong, which makes it an even battle. Lawrence tried to attack Martin with his first step, but Martin set him a little short -- which forced Lawrence to have to restart his rush. Once Martin made him do that, Lawrence had to go to his second plan of attack, which was trying to work the corner. That also failed when Martin just worked his feet in front of him and sat down on him, which put Lawrence down his middle giving him no chance to win.
- Terrance Williams showed some good power pushing off of Byron Jones to buy some separation along the sideline. The ball from Dak Prescott was wide, but Williams went full extension to get his hands on the ball, which he was able to secure. Williams managed to get both toes down before landing out of bounds.
- Cole Beasley has caught everything in camp, but today he had an untimely drop of a beautiful pass from Dak Prescott. This might have been the best pass that Prescott has thrown all camp. It was a shot on a direct line to Beasley between Jeff Heath and Jourdan Lewis. Heath, driving hard from the middle of the field, likely got the attention of Beasley and for a split second forced him to take his eye off the ball.
- Really nice day for Charvarius Ward. His interception of Dak Prescott during Compete Period was well-judged as he tracked Michael Gallup down the field. At the snap, I thought Ward didn't have a chance, but he did manage to keep up with Gallup and when Prescott left the ball a little short, he was able to adjust his hands in order to get them in position to secure the ball.
- Give Antwaun Woods some credit. It's not easy to put Travis Frederick in a poor blocking position -- but he did. Woods, who received snaps with the first-team defense, got lower than Frederick and was able to drive him back with power. It appeared that Frederick said something to Woods after the play that set him off. Woods, instead of just walking away, gave Frederick a two-hand shot in the chest, which started the fight among the offensive and defensive linemen.
- Jourdan Lewis took some snaps with the first-team defense in the nickel playing in the slot. He held up nicely on one particular play where he had to carry Cole Beasley out of a bunch formation. Beasley tried to sell an outside route to get Lewis to overcommit, but he didn't bite. Beasley broke to the inside, but Lewis managed to stay with him and work himself in position to actually undercut the route to force Prescott to have to deliver the ball wide.