Today was the scrimmage as promised. The first part of practice was some light drills to get loosened up, but the bulk of practice was a controlled scrimmage. Sometimes they ran situational stuff, and sometimes it was open drives from the offense's 20-yd line. Also, no hitting the QB. The play-by-play is below, but some observations first.
-- After the defense caused havoc for a lot of the practices I watched, today the offense did a good job of giving Tony Romo and Jon Kitna time in the pocket. There didn't seem to be as many blitzes and controlled chaos from Rob Ryan's charges in the scrimmage. Whatever the case, the offensive line held up well until things got sloppy later in the scrimmage.
-- When the Cowboys are down around the goal line, look for a three-reciever "bunch" formation on the left side of the line. They ran this formation a lot at the goal line. Usually it was two WRs with a TE in a "bunch" formation.
-- A few guys made an impression. Lonyae Miller was running hard, and he showed some good moves in the open field. He was impressive. Also, Alex Albright has made plays every practice I've seen, and he continued to do it in this scrimmage. Granted, it usually came against the second or third-string, but still, he's taking advantage of his opportunities.And for the first time that I can remember, Brandon Williams made a series of good plays.
-- Stephen McGee still seems slow in making decisions once he's dropped back in the pocket.
-- Tyron Smith looks like he's the real deal. Once he gets his hands on a defender he usually doesn't lose the battle. His main deficiency so far has been recognizing blitzers (especially from the secondary) but that should get better with experience. So far, impressive stuff from the rookie.
On to the scrimmage...
Note: All of the yards gained and yards-to-go for first downs are approximations, things were moving fast.
The first session was with the offense starting at the defenses 25-yard line.
Romo 1st-10) A dump-off to Felix that turned into a 20-yard gain. 1-5 at the goal line) Hatcher batted down a pass at the line. 2-5) Austin caught a hitch pass but slipped to the ground. 3-6) Felix was slow to get his head around on a quick pass to the endzone and the ball bounced off his hands. 4-5) Buehler hit the chip-shot FG.
Romo back to the 25-yard line: 1-10) The defense came on a blitz, Romo hit Dez on a hitch, Dez faked-out Scandrick and outran Ware to the endzone. TD!
Romo back to the 25-yard line: 1-10) Felix eluded Sean Lee in the backfield and made a nice run for 13 yards. 1-10) Felix Run up the middle on a trap block with Gronkowski leading the way for 4 yards. 2-6) Romo had all day to throw but botched a pass to a wide open Dez in the endzone. Smith had a terrific block on Ware on this play. 3-6) A little swing pass to Lonyae Miller turned into a TD.
Kitna at the 25-yard line: 1-10) A short run by Miller, Victor Butler was stout at the point of attack. 2-8) A hot read to John Phillips who wasn't ready for the pass. 3-8) Kitna had to scramble as Hatcher got around Sam Young, got roughly 3 yards. 4-5) Bailey missed a 37-yard FG.
Kitna back to the 25-yard line: 1-10) A negative run with Butler and Orie Lemon stuffing it. 2-11) Danny McCray broke up a pass intended for Phillips. Lissemore was held on the play but it wasn't called. 3-11) Delay of game penalty. 3-16) Sam Young false start. 3-21) Bennett with a catch for roughly 10 yards. 4-11) Buehler missed a 39-yard FG.
Kitna back to the 25-yard line: 1-10) A screen to Bennett for three yards. 2-7) Frank Warren runs for 2 yards. 3-5) A pass intended for Raymond Radway in the endzone, pass interference on Mario Butler. 1-1 at the goal line) A penalty on the defense. 1-1) Time out by the defense. 1-1) Jason Pociask tried a middle run but was popped by Lissemore for no gain. Garrett called an end to this particular session.
Now the offense started at their own 30-yard line, down by 6 points with 1:52 left on the clock.
Romo 1-10) Witten makes a short catch. 2-5) Witten makes another short catch for 6 yards. 1-10) Short pass to Dez. 2-8) Ogletree catches one in front of Scandrick. 3-3) Dez catches one on the sideline beating Chruch for around 20 yards. 1-10) A pass was too high for Ogletree. 2-10) Ogletree catches one for 8 yards. 3-2) A draw to Felix that barely picks up the first down. 1-10) A heavy blitz, Romo steps up and tries to hit Witten but in heavy traffic with Abe Elam the primary defender, incomplete. 2-10) Ogletree catches one for roughly 20 yards over the middle that sets the offense up at the 6-yard line. 1-6 at the goal line) Romo overthrows Austin in the corner. 2-6) Witten makes a short catch and gets out of bounds. 3-4) With 4 seconds left in the drill, Witten beats Elam in the endzone for a TD.
Offense now starts at its own 40-yard line down by 3 with 1:32 on the clock, Kitna is the QB:
1-10) A screen to Miller who makes a nifty run for roughly 25 yards. 1-10) A blitz, Kitna hits a hot read to Bennett who picks up 15 yards. 1-10) A short run by Miller. 2-9) Bennett makes a catch for 15 yards. 1-4 at the goal line) Holley gets a pass inteference call on Josh Thomas in the endzone. 1-1) Miller takes it up the middle for a TD.
The offense starts at their own 2-yard line down by 4 with 1:15 on the clock, Romo takes over:
1-10) Gronkowski with a short run. 2-7) A dump off to Felix who jukes Bradie James badly and breaks it for 31-yards. 1-10) Garrett must have decided he really wanted to see a punt, that the drill was more about just getting the ball off their own goal line because he called three successive runs and then they punted the ball. McBriar got off a good punt, Dwayne Harris returned it for roughly 10 yards.
The offense gets the ball at their own 20-yard line with no time limitations. The rest of the sessions were like this, with Kitna running three, then McGee running three.
Kitna: 1-10) Brandon Williams stuffs a run in the backfield for a 3-yard loss. 2-13) A draw to Phillip Tanner, B. Williams and Kenwin Cummings shut it down for a short gain. 3-9) Mario Butler breaks up a pass intended for Holley. 4-9) Backup punter Chris Jones shanks a terrible punt, AOA was supposed to receive it but didn't get a chance.
Kitna: 1-10) Frank Warren run but Cummings stuffs it. Jose Acuna got a holding call. 1-20) Kitna holds the ball too long and Lissemore and B. Williams converge for a sack. 2-27) A short pass to Miller with McCann making the tackle. 3-22) A completed pass for about 10 yards, but Hatcher should have gotten credit for a sack. 4-12) Once again, Jones shanks a terrible punt.
Kitna: 1-10) Gronkowski makes a catch for 6 yards. 2-4) Warren runs for 5 yards, Clifton Geathers makes the tackle. 1-10) B. Williams stuffs another run. 2-10) Phillips beat Andrew Sendejo for 12 yards. 1-10) A Miller run but a holding penalty is called, I think on Gronkowski. 1-20) A screen to Holley but Chris Randle made the quick tackle. 2-16) Holley makes a catch with tight coverage from Mario Butler. 3- 2) Miller runs a draw for 8 yards and delivers a lick on the defense. 1-10) Miller makes another nifty run avoiding two tackles and gains 9 yards. 2-1) Orie Lemon crushes Warren behind the line. 3-3) A short pass to Ogletree but Josh Thomas closes quick for a 1 yard gain. 4-2) Bailey makes a 47-yard FG.
McGee: 1-10) Tanner gets stuck by Isaiah Greenhouse after 3 yards. 2-7) Alex Albright bats down a pass. 3-7) The pocket collapses and Geathers and Lissemore meet for a sack. 4-7) A good punt by McBriar to Harris, Josh Thomas has good coverage.
McGee: 1-10) Tysson Poots catches one over the middle for 17 yards. 1-10) Warren runs up the middle for 6 yards. 2-4) Albright grabs Warren's jersey on a run to slow him down while others converge for the tackle. 3-3) An overthrow intended for Leong. 4-3) Jones finally gets off a good punt, AOA makes a fair catch.
McGee: 1-10) Leong catches a slant for 11 yards. 1-10) Tanner has a tough run for 5 yards. 2-5) Mike Balogun shoots through on a blitz untouched for a sack. 3-12) Pass interference on Ross Weaver. 1-10) Tanner runs for 3 yards. 2-7) A Tanner run with Albright making the initial hit and Orie Lemon cleaning it up. 3-5) A McGee scramble with Alex Daniels in hot pursuit, they gave him the first down yardage. 1-10) A short pass to Tanner, but the play should have been called dead because of an Albright sack. He could be seen complaining afterwards he didn't get credit for a sack since he pulled up because you couldn't hit the QB. 2-7) A Tanner run. 3-5) Pass interference on Sendejo. 1-10) A pass to Jason Pociask with Albright making the tackle. Tanner had a great blitz pickup on this play. 2-7) A Tanner run with Albright making first contact. 3-6) False start on Bill Nagy. 3-11) Martin Rucker beat Sendejo for roughly 20 yards. They decide to go for a FG with the 46-yard boot being good.
That was the end of scrimmage, and the end of my time in San Antonio. Thanks to everybody who contributed money for the trip. I'll have a roundup of what I saw at camp later tonight or tomorrow.