2013 Dallas Cowboys Blue/White Scrimmage

On Sunday, just seven days before playing Miami in the Hall of Fame Game, the Cowboys conducted their Blue/White scrimmage in Oxnard. A recap of the scrimmage.

Non participants:
TE James Hanna, WR Cole Beasley and WR Dez Bryant. Not serious injuries but they sat out to get ready for the preseason games.

Things started off with a bang for the Cowboys first offense as Romo hit Witten for a TD on the first play of red zone plays. Romo effectively faked a run to the right then hit Witten cutting across the field from right to left. I expect to see Witten, and the other TEs too, featured more in the redzone. The Cowboys are clearly going to more two TE sets.

Orton was QB of the second group against the 2nd defense as they had a nice gain on a screen pass to Dunbar. It is clear that Jason plans to feature Dunbar in the offense with passes out of the backfield. Dunbar displays nice quickness and speed which will make him difficult to tackle in the open field.

Nick Stephens and Alex Tanney shared time at QB with the 3rd offense and they both struggled to have enough time to pass as the 3rd offensive line was turning people loose all over the place. Tanney did manage to hit WR Jared Green on an out pattern. Last season the Cowboys only kept Romo and Orton at QB so it will be interesting to watch Stephens and Tanney battle for a possible spot on the roster. They should both see lots of action in preseason games.

Rookies on offense:
First round pick center Travis Frederick ran with the first string offense and his shot gun snaps were solid to Romo. There has been talk of Frederick playing guard but it appears he will start at center. Frederick looked pretty solid in the scrimmage over all.

Rookie WR Terrance Williams caught a slant from Romo during the scrimmage. Williams is looking better each practice, but I would say he is behind Harris in the 3rd spot.

RB Joseph Randle had a really nice run on a draw play in the 2 minute drills. His ability to stop and cut were making tacklers look silly. The refs ruled Randle down short of the goal line but I’m not so sure any defenders tackled him on that play. Randle got off to a slow start in OTAs with a thumb injury so at this point I think he is the 3rd RB behind Murray and Dunbar.

With James Hanna out with an injury, rookie Escobar ran with the first offense but was quiet today. He struggled to block during run plays. He still has ways to go.

Through out camp talk was that Ware couldn’t be blocked and I saw some of that tendency in the scrimmage. It appears that new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is getting Ware to play like a beast. I look for ware to have a big season.

LB Bruce Carter was all over the field on run and pass plays as he appears to be very at home in the new 4-3 defense. Carter could really have a nice season this year.

During the two minute offense, CB Brandon Carr made a nice play on the sideline as he kept Harris from making a catch. Carr’s size and strength will serve him well in the Tampa 2 coverage.

The Cowboys defensive line often seem to get the best of the offensive line in this early measure of development. QBs were often hurried and sacked as officials were quick to blow the whistle for sacks.

Rookie defenders:
CB B.W. Webb covered the slot WR with the 2nd defense and managed an interception late in the scrimmage.

Rookie safety JJ Wlicox played with the 2nd defense and looked solid for a rookie. It appears Wilcox is a starter on the punt team.

Rookie LB Devonte Holloman did a nice job on a blitz pressuring the QB into a hurried throw.

Final Take:
I came away feeling better about the Cowboys moving to a 4-3 defense. The offensive line still concerns me a great deal. It was a big weakness last season, I feared enough hadn’t been done in the off season to improve it, and after watching the scrimmage I’m still concerned.

I was impressed with Dunbar’s ability to catch out of the backfield and I think the Cowboys LBs will be a real strength of the team.