After a week of hard practice, the Dallas Cowboys roster hopefuls had a chance to show a little of what they could do in game situations as the team held its annual Blue/White scrimmage. Coaches, reporters, players and fans have all anxiously awaited this moment, the first one where the competition gets truly turned up a notch. Instead of individual one-on-one battles, we get to see the teams go against each other head-to-head. Here’s what stood out to me.
Anthony Brown continues to look very good. He covered Cole Beasley out of the slot with aplomb and confidence. Beasley is famously tough to cover and Brown was very successful on both him and the others he lined up with. Andy Jones also continues to turn heads with good routes and the ability to win contested throws. Lawrence Okoye had good penetration and disruption from the inside while David Irving and Charles Tapper both showed some pass rush off the edges, Irving garnering credit for a sack that helped push the offense back out of the red zone (along with a couple of penalties). Geoff Swaim had a couple of nice routes and drive sustaining catches. Darius Jackson showed some of the wiggle and burst that got him drafted.
But some of the vets got to show out as well. Terrence Williams looked fast and agile, with good hands catches. Jason Witten and Tony Romo had their usual ESP. Brandon Carr broke up two passes to Dez Bryant but Dez got his revenge, absolutely blowing by Carr on a stop-and-go for a big touchdown and a throwing of the "x". Sean Lee was all over the place in run defense and Anthony Hitchens played well at Mike linebacker, too. But the young guys like the aforementioned Irving and Okoye as well as Michael McAdoo got to run with the first team defense for a while and didn’t look overwhelmed. Dan Bailey had an unusual miss, hitting the upright on his first field goal attempt, but backing it up by kicking a 54-yarder right down the middle into the wind on his next attempt.
In one-on-one drills, we got to see more shine from Andy Jones and Anthony Brown, as well as nice pass rushes from Irving, Tapper, and Jack Crawford. Irving and Crawford were notable in that they were going against Doug Free and Zack Martin, respectively.
But the question on everyone’s mind is backup quarterback. Both Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers had some success in their drills. Prescott made some nice decisions and good throws but was a hair slow and got sacked a couple of times. He also had a chance to hit Andy Jones for a nice gain, but pressure from Tapper caused him to throw with his right foot in the air and he was wide of his mark. Showers, on the other hand was crisp with his decisions and his passes and moved the two minute offense well on both occasions he had the ball. All three quarterbacks had noticeable zip on the football, and on more than one occasion Tony Romo brought some real heat on a throw. Prescott had a very nice throw in seven-on-seven, leading Andy Jones and "throwing him open", trusting him to make a nice grab, which he did. Showers capped a really nice drive on his first possession with a nice midrange throw in the middle of the field to Andy Jones, getting the team inside the 10-yard line, though two penalties and the David Irving "sack" would move them back outside the redzone.
No one seemed worse for wear and Rod Smith seemed to take the brunt of the tackling, as bringing down non-running backs seemed verboten. So, like a good preseason game, we got to see some competition, some veterans got some rust loose, while others got rest (Cedric Thorton and Gavin Escobar were the most glaring absences I noted) and no one got hurt.
One week down, one week to the Rams.