IRVING, Texas – Three questions about the Cowboys as they begin practice for the Titans:
- With Justin Durant most likely out an extended period of time, who is his replacement?
This is where the depth at linebacker will actually help the situation. The coaching staff did a nice job of having players play several spots at practice – especially at linebacker. Bruce Carter has lined up at both outside linebacker spots. Kyle Wilber has started games on this defense at outside linebacker. Anthony Hitchens and Korey Toomer might lack regular season game experience, but both are capable of stepping in. I really do like what I was able to see from Toomer in his work from Seattle. I have a feeling that Carter will go back to Will and Wilber will step in at Sam. There was some talk after the game against the 49ers that the coaches didn't feel like they played Wilber enough on defensive snaps.
- How do you feel about Zack Martin after his first time out?
There are few draws in this league that are tougher than defensive tackle Ray McDonald, and for the first time out, I liked the way Martin battled him. After watching him go against Miami's quick pass rushers, my concern about Martin was that he was going to struggle with McDonald's quickness and power. I was also concerned about him and Doug Free handling the twist stunt on that right side when you get him and Ahmad Brooks on the same side. There were no issues in the game and Martin was able to match McDonald's traits with his own. It was positive to see Martin not struggle in the game. He was solid with his technique, and when he was put in a bad blocking position he was able to recover and maintain his balance and sustain. This week against the Titans he is going to see more twist stunts and another talented player in Jurrell Casey on his nose.
- Which defensive player surprised you the most with the way that he played? [embedded_ad]
I honestly didn't believe Jeremy Mincey was going to have the strong type of game that he did at right defensive end. Against an outstanding offensive tackle in Joe Staley, he more than held his own. There were even some snaps as a pass rusher where Mincey put Staley in some off-balance blocking situations, and he was able to take advantage and get some pressure on Colin Kaepernick. Mincey has shown the ability to play with power at the point -- which helps in the running game -- but I like what he was able to do with his pass rush moves. He was able to show some quickness off the snap and body control getting around the corner. If he continues to play with that type of effort and ability it will allow the team to slowly bring another potential rusher along without forcing the issue.