The first day of “real football” came as the Cowboys put on the pads and the offense and defense went against each other.
- Jason Garrett informed the media that Ronald Leary will be out until at least Tuesday, if not longer. This does not bode well for Leary and going into camp, I thought that he had only a slight edge over Mackenzy Bernadeau for the starting guard spot. The more time missed, the more that gap closes. Bernadeau’s versatility may still mean he’s best served as a backup to both spots, but if he continues to build continuity, that trumps the value of the versatility.
- Speaking of the offensive line, they showed their potential Saturday. Tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free dominated all comers, not allowing a sack all day. Frederick looked every part of a rising star and while Zack Martin had some initial losses one-on-one, overall he more than handled his business as the day progressed. If these guys can be what we all expect, it’s a scary thought but this offense could easily take the next step to greatness.
- Romo came back to participation Saturday and while his throwing was minimal, he did go 9 for 12 in team and seven-on-seven drills. The offense showed a throwback type of mentality under new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, attacking downfield for big plays on three of the twelve attempts.
- The continual maturation of Bryant has continued as Linehan has been giving Dez a lot of work in the slot to start camp. These certainly seems to be by design as Bryant only has thirteen career catches from this position. Moving Bryant all around the offense should provide more opportunity for one-on-one match ups which can only be beneficial to the offense.
- Lastly, a few positive reports are due on the defensive side of the ball as well. Henry Melton has looked better than expected at this point, coming back from knee surgery that caused him to miss mostly all of the 2013 season. While he is easing his way back into the fold, much like Romo on offense, he’s looked fresh and quick. Melton himself has mentioned how good he feels and that he plans to stay the course when it comes to his workload. If Dallas can get 90% of Henry Melton in 2014, the defensive line is instantly upgraded.
- Morris Claiborne showed a lot of moxie Saturday, not to mention the talent that caused the Cowboys to pay a king’s ransom to get him in the draft two seasons ago. Constantly harassing Terrance Williams and playing physical enough to get into the second year wide out’s head, Claiborne really stood out. Whatever is necessary to light the fire for him, I’m all for. Like it or not, Claiborne’s play will be a huge factor in the success of this team this season.