FRISCO, Texas – As we wrap up this final week of OTAs, I filled up another notebook with observations from the practice fields.
Here’s some thoughts on what the Cowboys worked through on Wednesday afternoon:
- Talk about having the ability to put a bad play behind you. Amari Cooper had an uncharacteristic drop of a perfectly thrown Dak Prescott slant. How’d he bounce back? With an unreal, one-handed reception over the top of Jourdan Lewis, who was in perfect position. Cooper, tracking the ball the entire time, felt that it was going to be a little short and slowed up. Lewis was late getting his left hand up to defend the play, which allowed the ball to cradle right into Cooper’s left arm. Somehow Cooper managed to hang onto it as Lewis hung his head in disgust.
- It’s not often that young guys get the chance to work with the first units, but Reggie Davis took advantage of his shot. Davis was thrown into the mix with Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb and executed a “go” route with Donovan Olumba hanging all over him. Prescott was outstanding, holding Darian Thompson in the middle of the field and giving Davis the space he needed for the reception. Olumba tried to play with his off-hand, but he didn’t catch enough of the ball to knock it away from Davis. It was a perfect throw by Prescott and a tremendous finish by Davis.
- I haven’t written much about Jameill Showers and his comeback from his knee surgery last season, but he made a heck of a play on Dalton Schultz in coverage. Schultz was lined up wide right and went vertical at the snap, with Showers following him one-on-one. Showers was running step-for-step with Schultz, never looking back for the ball. At the same moment that Schultz put his hands up, so did Showers -- knocking the ball away. This is a make-or-break season for Showers, who doesn’t have any practice squad eligibility left with the club.
- I noticed a nice use of Chris Westry as a safety on a fourth down attempt just outside the red zone. Westry lined up in the deep half just off the goal line. When the ball was snapped, he took three steps back and waited. Devin Smith went on the out-and-up to try and get behind him, but Westry read the route the entire way. When Cooper Rush attempted to throw the ball to Smith, Westry was in perfect position to high point it and knock it down.
- Speaking of “Hail Mary” plays, Jon’Vea Johnson almost pulled in a pass from Mike White that appeared to bounce through a sea of hands. There were seven defenders in the end zone when White let the ball fly. Donovan Olumba was first to touch the ball, but instead of knocking it to the ground, it glanced off his hands toward Johnson, who was standing in the back of the end zone. Johnson did his best to grab the deflection but he just couldn’t quite adjust to it.
- Give Donovan Wilson some credit for paying attention during the individual portion of practice. Every day, Kris Richard has the defensive backs working on punching the ball loose from the receiver and then making the recovery. Fast forward to team period, where Jon’Vea Johnson caught a deep curl and was heading up the field as Wilson came to meet him. In one quick motion, Wilson punched the ball out of Johnson’s arm and managed to get on top of it for the turnover. It’s the result of a simple drill that turned into a big play.
- Tony Pollard continues to impress folks with his quickness carrying the ball. I also noticed another trait Pollard displays and that’s his vision. Pollard took a handoff from Mike White and was dead to rights with Chris Covington and Nate Hall sitting in the hole, unblocked. Instead of just finishing out the play and getting tackled, Pollard put his right foot in the ground and exploded around the left end. Hall tried to chase him down, while Covington got caught in the trash. What looked like a sure negative run turned into a seven-yard gain.
- With no Joe Looney or Connor McGovern at practice, that meant Adam Redmond had to take the entire practice at center for both the first and second offensive lines. Redmond was able to hold his own with the high volume of snaps and appeared no worse for wear. He looked just as solid passing off stunts to Xavier Su’a-Filo and Cody Wichmann as he did to Zack Martin and Connor Williams. It was a good day overall for Redmond with the work load.