I did a rundown of stories yesterday from the first day of the Dallas Cowboys minicamp, but the only problem with that is that the media doesn't always talk about things I am interested in. So I looked back at what I saw coming across in the Twitterverse, and combined that with what has been published to pull up some things I see trending at camp.
Is Mackenzy Bernadeau pulling ahead of Ronald Leary?
Bernadeau at LG, Frederick at C and Martin at RG for full team.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) June 18, 2014
The LG position is the only question on the offensive line. Once Zack Martin was drafted, the general consensus was that Leary would keep the starting LG job and Bernadeau would become a backup, but I have always thought that by the end of 2013 Bernadeau had made up ground and was no worse than even with Leary. The fact Bernie plays multiple positions should not really affect who is the backup and who starts. You always want to put the best man on the field first. The good thing is that I don't see a bad outcome here, since both were playing fairly well last year.
The Cowboys (particularly Scott Linehan) are serious about moving the weapons around.
Since the OTAs began, there have been observations about how the team is lining up players differently, and this has continued into minicamp. The main things that the team seems to be trying to do is to get Dez Bryant into the slot, use Gavin Escobar in a wide receiver role, and find out if Cole Beasley can create as well split wide as he can playing the slot.
Beasley says lining up outside means less space for his quickness. But: ‘I can do stuff out there. It’s just a matter of opportunities.’— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) June 18, 2014
I am hoping that this does not go the way of the 12 personnel package last season, because I can see some real headaches for the opposing defense. Ironically, one of the objectives here, to get a big, athletic receiver taken with a second round pick more involved in the game, is what 12 packages were supposed to do.
Speaking of Pablo . . .
All indications are that Escobar is living up to his second round selection.
I refuse to buy into mini camp hype. But it's pretty undeniable that Escobar has been a big part of these practices. Catches everywhere.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) June 18, 2014
Part of it seems to be that he has really reshaped his body. Part of it is probably an increased level of comfort with him. The fresh outlook of Scott Linehan is also a big factor, I'm sure. One of the possibilities for his quiet rookie campaign might have been that he got lost in the state of disarray that afflicted the Cowboys offensive playcalling last season, and it is looking like that may be a pretty good assessment.
We need Bruce Carter to come through - and it looks good so far.
There were multiple compliments for Carter's work in pass coverage, including work against Jason Witten, master pass route technician. And he picked off Brandon Weeden. If Carter becomes what we all thought he would a couple of seasons ago, things should go much better on defense this year.
And maybe Morris Claiborne is gonna show up, too.
He is also getting some nice reviews. Yes, I know it is still minicamp, but the writers covering the Cowboys have not been shy about remarking on bad play in the past, and this year they just don't have a lot bad to say - so far.
Don't expect the answer at MIKE to come before August.
The coaches are still working multiple candidates. Today, Justin Durant, Anthony Hitchens, Orie Lemon, and Dontavious Sapp were the group getting instruction in the position. Interestingly, DeVonte Holloman was working with the OLBs which has always seemed a better fit for him, at least to me.
Terrance Mitchell has arrived.
He was unavailable until this week due to still being enrolled in Oregon, but he arrived with a bit of a splash (appropriate for a Duck, I suppose).
Terrence Mitchell forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Rookie making plays— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 18, 2014
Demarcus Lawrence is not just a pretty face.
They asked DeMarcus Lawrence, as is tradition, the first thing he's going to buy with his signing bonus. He said, 'Financial adviser.'— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) June 18, 2014
Dez Bryant is still doing Dez Bryant things.
And I mean that in a totally positive way. He lined up to receive punts while the special teams were working, and even though there are no plans to use him in that capacity, he ran all the way back up the field (with the coaches screaming at everyone to get away from him and let him run for fear of a freak injury). He was making his presence felt in other ways as well.
88's fired up. Dez after Terrance catches a pass in the back of the end zone during 7-on-7: "That's what I'm f----- talking about, T-Will!"— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 18, 2014
If you do not respect his passion for the game, you need stand a little closer so I can knock you up side the head.
Tempers flared up a bit - and I think that is a good sign.
PRACTICE FIGHT IN 7V7 WOOO! Apparently it was Frederick and Crawford.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) June 18, 2014
Tyrone Crawford said he felt he was getting disrespected out there because he is having to go at less than full speed as he works back from injury.
Just know this about @TCrawford_40...he has a chip on his shoulder. He is motivated to play well coming off his injury. He is a fighter— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 18, 2014
And that, folks, is something the team can use in mass quantity.