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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Report: Pounding The Rock

A play-by-play review of part of yesterday's 11-on-11 practice from Cowboys training camp in Oxnard.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After reviewing the first part of yesterday's sixteenth practice in a post earlier today, here is a play-by-play summary of some of yesterday's 11-on-11 practice.

This breakdown covers the team drills that were conducted from about the offense's 20 or 30-yard line. All of the plays were executed from roughly that area, regardless of how big a gain was made on the previous play. Note that all the distances quoted below are approximate as I was standing at midfield and couldn't always see the exact distance each play gained.

  • Playaction: Romo fakes a handoff to Murray, then drops back and finds Miles Austin for a nice gain in the middle of the field. Jason Hatcher jumps up and almost swats the ball away.
  • Delayed handoff to Murray who gets a couple of yards upfield before getting stuck in a mass of blue defender uniforms.
  • Quick pass to Witten on the right sideline. Will Allen is in coverage but couldn't do anything about the completion.
  • Witten motions left. On the snap, Smith pulls out behind Witten while Witten effectively engages and blocks DeMarcus Ware with a little help from Ronald Leary (the blocking of the DE by the TE has been a daily emphasis in the TE position drills in camp). Romo tosses the ball to Murray who runs towards the edge with Tyron Smith running ahead of him as a lead blocker. Smith manages to engage both Carter and Church in one block, but Justin Durant (who has run all across the field) slips by Smith and heads off Murray. Orlando Scandrick is also in on the tackle from the other side: Dez Bryant wasn't able to maintain his block on Scandrick long enough. Net gain, two or three yards.
  • [I miss the next play as my camera and I disagree on what the autofocus should focus on]
  • Romo with a 15-yard completion to Dez Bryant on the hash tags. Bryant has about a 2-yard cushion on Brandon Carr and immediately turns upfield after the catch. Bearing down on him at that moment is Barry Church, who would have delivered an enormous hit in a real game, but pulls up just in time to avoid a major collision.
  • Bryant_church_medium

  • Another playaction play. The entire line pulls to the left as Romo turns left and fakes a handoff to Murray. Romo spins and runs up the right side as the defense tries to re-orient itself. On the run, Romo looks downfield but doesn't find a target and dumps the ball to James Hanna, who is waiting underneath. Eight-yard pass that results in a 15-yard gain by the time McSurdy and Holloman gangtackle Hanna.
  • Kyle Orton comes in. Dante Rosario motions left and lines up across from Kyle Wilber. The defense is rushing five, so LT Darrion Weems blocks DE Ben Bass and LG Dennis Godfrey blocks George Selvie. That leaves Wilber one-on-one with Rosario, whom he simply pushes out of the way and now has a straight line to the QB. Orton sees him coming and hurries the ball down the field but misses a waiting Dwayne Harris. Hard to say whether Wilber would have had a sack in a real game, but it would have been a QB pressure for sure.
  • Orton tosses the ball to Dunbar who tries to get around the edge on the right side for a short gain.
  • Kyle Wilber jumps offsides and the entire second team unit is yanked for the third team unit.
  • Handoff to Tanner. Weems and Godfrey get good push and open up a hole in the middle which Tanner hits for a five-yard gain.
  • Alex Tanney comes in (this is the second day he's been running the third team ahead of Nick Stephens. Has he created enough separation against Stephens to get the third-team snaps in Saturday's game?). McSurdy and Magee blitz, but get caught in an offensive line pulling left on playaction. Tanney fakes the handoff to the left and then spins to the right where he finds Gavin Escobar completely uncovered. Escobar catches the ball at the line of scrimmage and runs upfield for a 12-yard gain before stepping out of bounds to avoid the onrushing Jakar Hamilton and DeVonte Holloman.
  • Toss to Joseph Randle who takes the ball to the right edge for a gain of about five yards.
  • Handoff to Joseph Randle on a run to the left. Cameron Lawrence meets Randle in the backfield, but Randle stiff-arms him and turns the edge for a short gain before Hamilton stops the run.
  • Romo is back in the game. At the snap, Mackenzy Bernadeau explodes hard out of his stance, Hatcher sidesteps him and Bernadeau stumbles across the LOS, leaving Hatcher with a free path to the QB. DeMarcus Ware has gotten lower than Tyron Smith and simply pushes him aside en route to the QB. Fortunately, for Romo, the play is a run, and Romo hands the ball off to Murray before either Hatcher or Ware get to him. Murray runs right between the onrushing Hatcher and Ware to the left edge where Church pushes him out of bounds after about a 5-yard gain.
  • Ware_hatcher_murray_medium

  • Another handoff to Murray who runs up the gut for a short gain.
  • Tony Romo fakes a handoff to the left to Murray and then connects with Dwayne Harris who takes it from the LOS for a 15-yard gain up the right side.
  • Orton comes back in and hands the ball off to Murray, who is stuffed for no gain on the left side.
  • Handoff to Dunbar, who runs into a big pile of humanity for a three-yard gain. In the melee, Arkin's helmet suddenly comes off, as there's a little pushing and shoving going on, but tempers quickly cool again.
  • Handoff to Tanner who also gets stuck two or three yards up the middle.
  • Nick Stephens comes in and hands the ball off to Randle, who takes it for four yards inside the left tackle.
  • Pitch to Joseph Randle. Jermey Parnell and David Arkin pull to the right and lead-block for Randle, who runs for a gain of about 12 yards.

The Cowboys take a short break, and play resumes with specific down and distance situations and 18 seconds left on the playclock. The offense is behind by two points, 21-23. You can watch the remaining snaps on, starting at 7:57 in the video in this link.

Key highlights include:

  • An angry LB Sean Lee shouting at Terrance Williams after Williams blocked him on a running play. In the ensuing melee, Murray flipped a ball at Hatcher, and quickly took off running when Hatcher turned his way.
  • A Murray run in which ran to the right then cut back inside and may have been gone for a long TD.
  • Another scuffle between Nick Hayden and Ronald Leary.
  • Lots of pretty big hits, including a big hit by Will Allen in pass defense against Jason Witten that had the Senator gasping for breath on the ground and hushed the practice field immediately.


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