For those of you who didn't have the opportunity to read the report from Tuesday's practice: At training camp, I made the acquaintance of a die-hard Cowboys fan (and frequent BTB reader) who was going to continue on to San Diego to watch our star-wearin' chums scrimmage with the Chargers. I asked him if he would be willing to file a field report on the goings-on in America's Finest City. He willingly agreed, but under conditions of anonymity. When he got there, he discovered that the practice was closed to all but Chargers season ticket holders; however, our intrepid friend called upon some connections, and sent me the following from a Chargers season ticket holder who is also a Cowboys fan.The following is what he sent me.
Before we continue, I want to extend a warm thanks to our insider(s), who have gifted us with two excellent reports; above and beyond the call, gentlemen!
The practice today was the same timing, setup and schedule as the day before, only today some of the team drills were red zone and two minute.
First, one observation from yesterday's practice that did not make it in my previous write-up. I observed a stunning change of direction from Cole Beasley, that looked so smooth and easy that I don't believe many others notice. Beasley was running a five yard out from the slot. He was just past the numbers when Romo let go of the ball. Beasley was able to stop his progress to the sideline, and actually come back and meet the ball to protect it from a charging defender. This 180 change of direction demonstrated the quickness and body control that could help Beasley make this team. I have mixed feelings about Beasley. He quit. But I don't know what his family situation was and the interviews with him were inconclusive as to the reason for his quitting. But the ghosts of Danny Amendola can still be heard. And since the Cowboys have such difficulty evaluating their own players, who knows who they will keep out of these wide receivers. We should hope, however, that the Cowboys don't keep six receivers because they can't decide who is better between Nos. 4, 5 & 6. This just means that they are keeping one extra player with marginal NFL ability. They need to choose; let's all hope they choose right.
What else transpired from Chargers' Park? Make the jump to get all the details...!-Speaking of the wide receivers, they and Felix Jones must be reading BTB because they all showed up with a passion today. Danny Coale created separation all day and made several tough catches, including a sliding catch of an underthrown out by Orton, a tough goal line catch in between defenders, and the final touchdown catch (and pass) of training camp up the sideline on a beautiful throw by Romo. Despite what you may have read today, Coale had two feet down despite being hit (I was standing in the end zone about 20 feet away). You may have also read about the hit Dwayne Harris took. Most important, he held on to the ball. Because of the limited numbers at the position, the receivers all rotated with ones, twos and threes; David Little was even taking reps with the 1s at times. Finally, despite his small size, Harris does have the ability to play the outside some, with the ability to drive off corners and come back to the ball. Just not sure he is good enough at any one thing - he doesn't have extraordinary quickness - to make up for his small size.
-Felix was putting forth more effort today. He ran hard and through shots from the Chargers that slowed him to almost a walk the day before. (To explain, even in "live" action running backs normally are not taken to the ground. All the running backs, even when they are stopped at the line of scrimmage and the play is essentially over, still run 20 yards down the field. In fact, early in camp in Oxnard, the rookies were yelled at by Vickers and Peete for failing to "complete" their runs. When the running back runs by LBs and DBs when completing their run, the defensive players finish the play as well by giving a chuck or pulling at the ball.).
-I saw some tweets about the hitting today, and I don't have much to add except the Chargers are just a nastier, more violent bunch than the Cowboys.
-Callahan really works the offensive line. In the "team takeoff" segment, where the first, second and third team offense each run a play and then all players in that group, including Romo, sprint 20 yards into the end zone, Callahan got on the offensive line for not running hard enough. Every spare minute he drills the O'line and teaches technique. He is a passionate, detail oriented coach. Yesterday and today, Livings ran with the 1s and Dockery with the 2s.
-I was able to get into the end zone of the far field to observe more of the defense today. Notwithstanding a tweet I saw from Bryan Broaddus, who is great to follow, I observed Matt Johnson, who worked with the twos, looking like someone who had not played football in awhile. In cover two, he took a bad angle on a seam route and allowed the receiver to catch a ball deep, even knocking the corner (Smith) off the route. He then couldn't break down on a tight end and I'm not sure he would have made the tackle if it would have been a live play. He just seemed a step late and to not have very good field awareness.
-Carter got beat in red zone play on swing route by the RB (I could not see who) for a touchdown, but later made two good plays to break up a pass in seven on seven. CJ Wilson, who can play and is better (but older) than Mario Butler, had a nice pick where he broke hard on an out.
-The D-Line really listens to Leon Lett. Before practice, I was a few feet from Coleman talking to Lett about a move he made in yesterday's practice. In Oxnard, I observed Lett working with Geathers on the sled after practice for over 15 minutes. Lett was trying to get Geathers to generate power from his hips, which despite his massive size, dedication and hard work, Geathers has been unable to do.
-Finally, I like the fact that Romo is showing some emotion. The touchdown pass to Coale came at the end of a two minute drill. At the beginning of the two minute drill, the offense really struggled and one of the receivers (I think Harris) may have run the wrong route. When Romo was sacked (not actually hit), he slammed the ball into the ground. You don't want the QB to lose his cool, but anything that causes Romo to get into the grill of his players is a good thing and I believe a necessary part of getting twenty-something men to perform at their highest level.
Many thanks to our Cowboys-lovin' friends for their superb work. They put an exclamation point on the best Cowboys training camp coverage found on the Internet. Great job, men.