My job allows me to go to several different training camps and a lot of games in the league. I started out this season with Dallas and will be here through Sunday then back for some more of their camp after. Here are my observations from day 1.
Tyron Smith: Let's start with our first round pick, Tyron Smith. He saw a whole lot of Ware today. Now remember he is a rookie with no minicamps or OTA’s under his belt yet. Ware put him up for a test today and got the better of him. It was a very interesting dynamic, with Ware talking with him after and in between plays and on the side lines. Will get with some of the folks later to discuss, but it looked to me like Ware was really coaching this kid and helping him. While Smith struggled with Ware we need to remember that he has had no off-season and goes up against the best in the league. I was very impressed with Smith pulling and covering downfield for run plays and getting out for screens. He seemed to know the playbook and boy is this kid fast getting out there. I have no doubt in my mind that Garret drafted a RKG and a long time starter in this league.
Oline: We did not have a lot of starters on the line so it was manned by a lot of young guys. They did show some skill. Holland came to camp out of shape and not prepared. He started bad and just plain got worse through practice. Knowing Garrett, he will not be on the roster when the season starts, the young guys looked so much better than he did. I personally think the Boys will pick up Dahl on a 2 year contract, but we may see some of the young guys spelling Dahl, Gurode and Kosier during the season and developing. One guy to watch is Letuli(?): kid has a mean and nasty streak to him. With him, Young, Arkin, Nagy and Costa we can see the future of the interior line.
Dline: We lost Bowen and I think Hatcher, have not seen the latest news. What I saw today was Ryan wreaking havoc. Forget the positions of NT, DE and OLB. They will move around and it is confusing. Ware was the only one who lined up consistent and he was on Smith. This will change during the season but I think JG and RR know he has the playbook down and wants to challenge Smith.
DB’s: Not happy at all here. Newman is a pro and did good. AOA was getting burned and seemed very over matched. He went out with a cramp or something but I feel he just wanted to stop the bleeding. Church did not look to bad. Jenkins looked good at times then just quit on some plays. Our younger guys showed some flash and looked pretty good but our receivers were on fire. Will get to that later. I think we see some new veteran safeties in there but I am not sold on Jenkins at all.
LB’s: James, Brooking and Lee looked good. Cannot wait to see Carter in the mix. No concerns here at all. A great mix of inside blitz and dropping back in coverage. Look for those inside guys having some picks and sacks this season.
QB: Lets start the rest of the offense with our starting QB, Tony Romo. I thought he started the first few plays a little flat. Not surprising considering the time since his last start. Then he started on fire. I saw no problems with mechanics, technique or anything else. He looked game ready. I was very impressed with him.
Receivers: Austin looked great. Dez is like night and day from where he started last season. He is in shape but I thought he may have had a little hamstring issue when he started. He got it stretched out on the sideline and I was worrying but he came back out and showed he is a starting receiver in the NFL. The only mistake that showed out was one play where it looked like Romo called an audible at the line possibly and Romo called Heat and Dez ran Smoke. Other than that both Austin and Dez were catching everything. Witten and Bennett looked very good. The young guys came to play some ball. Those on the roster last year and the UDFA’s knew the playbook and played great. The only bad thing I saw was Teddy Williams who just looked out of position and outplayed by the other receivers. Look for a good old fashion fight for spots on this team. These young receivers came to play.
Running Backs are hard to judge without pads and tackling but they looked good in this type of practice. Having 2 tackles that can pull out and block opens the playbook up for Garrett.
Coaching: The new guys are different. Robinson was talking with Dez all of the time. I think this is a very good thing. While our number 1 and 2 are very good, do not look at a huge drop from the number 3 through practice squad. Ryan is a hands on coach. Saw him on the field even showing Ware how he wanted him to cover when dropping back in coverage. My two concerns are the Oline and secondary and I am not a fan of Houck, Campo or Maxie. I think we have some good players but bad coaches here. Lets see how Garrett handles this.
Leadership: Make no mistake that Romo, Ware, Witten and Rat are leaders with many more emerging. Never listen to Warren Sapp who only lead the team in beating his wife and getting in fights. That is not leadership.