Breakdown of Dallas Cowboys Blue and White Scrimmage

On Saturday night, the NFL inducted six deserving players, including quarterback Brett Favre, into its Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Meanwhile, in Oxnard, California, more than 2,423 miles away, the annual Dallas Cowboys Blue and White scrimmage took place. Thousands of fans piled in for the highly anticipated showing. However, the festivities in Canton were televised on ESPN and the NFL Network. They overshadowed what was truly a treat for any Cowboys fan. That being said, below is a breakdown of the Cowboys scrimmage.

Breakdown of Dallas Cowboys Blue and White Scrimmage

Televised live locally on KTXA channel 21, the Cowboys scrimmage turned out to be an in-depth look at an actual Cowboys practice session hosted by resident broadcasters Bill Jones and Bryan Broaddus. The duo provided great commentary throughout the telecast as they alluded to a few position battles and exchanged some ideas regarding the recent injury to backup quarterback Kellen Moore, who suffered a fractured ankle about a week ago.

Seven on Seven Session

Practice started with a spirited seven on seven session. Quarterback Tony Romo flashed a bit of brilliance when he connected with wide receiver Terrance Williams on a tight sideline pass. Williams snared the pass in bounds, and finished with a sweet toe-tap. Dez Bryant hauled in a pretty-looking deep ball from Romo over Brandon Carr shortly after Carr had broken up an earlier pass, knocking Bryant’s helmet off in the process.

After seven on seven, the team began what Broaddus referred to as a “Thud” session. During a thud session there is no live tackling. Ball carriers are touched and grabbed but remain upright throughout the play. The thud session gave viewers a good look at the defensive group for the team. Linebackers Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens also showed plenty of explosion and aggressiveness, reading and reacting to the backfield activity.

Running Backs

Running back Alfred Morris took all of the first team offensive reps with rookie runner Ezekiel Elliott out with a sore hamstring. Elliott did flash across the screen while rehabbing the injury in his full uniform. Other injured players were seen on the sideline in their practice jerseys and shorts. The starting defensive line that everyone is concerned about looked pretty decent against the Cowboys starting offensive line unit.

Second year defensive end David Irving started in place of the suspended Demarcus Lawrence and performed very well. On the other side, rookie Charles Tapper stepped up in place of troubled speed rusher Randy Gregory. Tapper was impressive in pass rushing drills. He was able to use his speed to outflank backup offensive linemen on a number of occasions.

Defensive tackles Tyrone Crawford and rookie Zach Wood are quick and long. Both have the ability to get off blocks and pursue the football very well. Despite holding the ball too long a few times, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott made some nice throws during the thud session. Quarterback Jameill Showers looked confident in his ability, connecting on a few check downs during the session.

Final Scrimmage

The final 30 minutes were set aside for the real scrimmage and for the most part the Cowboys did not disappoint. Showers took all of the snaps at quarterback during the scrimmage period. Romo and Prescott were able to rest on the sideline along with the majority of the starters and second team players. Showers didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers during the period. Receiver Rodney Smith had a few tough catches after an early drop. Middle linebacker James Morris lowered the boom on Smith one time.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli dialed up a few blitzes that the young defenders executed beautifully. Defensive lineman Rodney Coe plugged holes along the defensive front. Broaddus also pointed out that Coe’s motor doesn’t always run at a high level. The Cowboys defensive coaches are encouraging Coe to work on that if he wants to earn a spot on the final 53 man roster.

Big Plays and Big Breaks

Receiver Andy Jones made a gorgeous grab on a slant route late in the scrimmage to set the offense up at the five-yard line. On first down, running back Rod Smith took a hand-off from Showers. Smith was stopped for a one-yard gain by defensive end David Irving. On second down, Showers threw a strike to the corner of the end zone, where cornerback Dax Swanson made a break on the ball.

Swanson was able to knock the ball out of Rodney Smith’s hands. Irving was credited with a sack on the play, so the pass would never have happened. NFL referee Ed Hochuli called a tight game, flagging Showers for a delay of game on what would have been third down and goal from the four yard line. On third down, Hochuli flagged offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann for holding, forcing the offense to settle for a field goal.

Results

The final score wasn’t important. What was important was the fact that a lot of the Cowboys young players got some much needed work in live situations as they prepare to head into the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Other standout performers were veteran defensive back Brandon Carr, young tight end Geoff Swaim, and veteran slot receiver Cole Beasley. Both of the team’s young quarterbacks looked good. However, it appears the Cowboys are going to give Showers every opportunity to outshine the youngster Prescott.

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