Some thoughts from the practice field Wednesday here in Oxnard:
• For those of you that tune into our daily radio show, "Talkin' Cowboys", you know my love, hate relationship with Orlando Scandrick. I have always respected his ability to be assignment sound and have at times, seen him physically make plays in coverage that most corners would never be able to pull off. In these first few days of camp here in Oxnard, he has been outstanding. Whether he has been in the nickel or running behind Claiborne with the two's, he has done his job well.
What I always have liked about his game is that he has played with a chip on his shoulder and an edge but there have been days, where he hasn't been at his best. I have never questioned the talent level but I needed to see the play making ability more consistently. In this camp, he has done a much better job of putting himself in position in routes to make plays but more importantly, he has been able to finish them. For Scandrick, it has not mattered who the receiver he has had to face, he has shown the ability to defend the ball. He has been challenged plenty early in this camp and he has responded well and that is a strong sign for these defensive coaches.
• Have been impressed with what I have seen from Gavin Escobar since he has taken over the role as the second tight end for James Hanna in this "12" personnel package. Escobar has done a solid job in his route running in regards to clearing space to create routes behind him but also managing to work himself when he has been the primary receiver in the route. He has shown dependable hands underneath but down the field as well. He took a big hit from Barry Church during practice on Tuesday in the 7-on-7 period and managed to secure the ball.
His hands have been outstanding and his blocking on the move has been good. Where he will need to get better is learning how to position his hands inside, not to allow any separation with the defender. The really good tight ends in this league know how to hold and that is something that he will pick up. What might be Escobar's best trait at this moment is that the game has not looked too big for him. He has look comfortable and for a rookie with a ton on his plate, that is at times difficult to do.
• There has been plenty of buzz on the practice field in regards to Dez Bryant and the type of camp that he is having at the moment but the scouts I have bumped into on the field have asked me if I have been noticing what rookie wide receiver Eric Rogers has been doing. You don't have to be a trained scout to see what Rogers has accomplished so far in this camp. His size is impressive but where he has really made his mark has been the consistency in which he has caught the ball inside and up the field. Rogers is not blessed with the quickness or speed as some of the other receivers on this squad but if the ball is near the frame work of his body, he is going to make the catch.
The way he runs his routes is that he will lull the corner to sleep off the line but as he gets up the field, his stride helps him cover the ground. His height and reach is what makes him difficult to defend and corners have to almost climb him to get the ball when he goes up. It's been a really good start for him these first few days and he is doing what he needs to do to try and grab a spot on this 53 but like all rookies, he will need to continue to fight through these practices when things mentally get tough and he becomes sore. If he can manage to hold it all together, he will make this front office and coaches have to make a decision one way or another.