The Dallas Cowboys continued their mandatory minicamp Wednesday and Thursday in hopes of laying a solid foundation to build off during training camp.
While these practices are not in pads, they do show quite a bit. It is hard to evaluate positions like offensive and defensive line or fullback, but you can gleam quite a bit from skill-position players.
The most noteworthy event during the last two days of the Cowboys minicamp was a scuffle that erupted in the trenches.
PRACTICE FIGHT IN 7V7 WOOO! Apparently it was Frederick and Crawford.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) June 18, 2014
Well after scuffle, Tyrone Crawford yelling at Mackenzy Bernadeau as both head to opposite sidelines.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) June 18, 2014
Tyrone Crawford was in thick of the skirmish along with a screaming match with Mackenzy Bernadeau. A fight every once in a while is not a bad thing. Often it keeps the team on edge and keeps the players focused. However, if this becomes a regular occurrence, it can signally divide the team. However, there is no reason to believe that this is happening.
Many fans and pundits (including me) have pointed to the fact that Ahmad Dixon is not very comfortable in coverage. However, it looks like he did an excellent job in coverage on at least one play.
Practice ends on an Ahmad Dixon interception.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 18, 2014
Anytime Dixon does well in coverage, it should be seen as a major positive for the Cowboys. If he can become more consistent in coverage and get better with his angles, then he could be a real contributor on the defense.
In more positive news, it looks like Morris Claiborne is improving off last year.
Bryan Broaddus says that Morris Claiborne hasn't given these WR's much space to work with. Showing good physicality, especially in the RZ.— Jordan Ross (@JordanRoss08) June 18, 2014
Mo Claiborne with a PBU in end zone against Devin Street in 7-on-7.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) June 18, 2014
Cowboys fans have been waiting for Claiborne to live up to his lofty expectations coming out of college. If Claiborne became more confident with his technique, then the Cowboys may finally see the Claiborne they expected to have when they drafted him.
Tight ends coach Mike Pope is using some unorthodox drills to help improve the tight ends.
Jason Witten said TE coach Mike Pope is always trying to keep things interesting. Had the group catching passes today with swim goggles on.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 18, 2014
Pope has been known for his unorthodox ways of teaching, and this goes right in line with that. This drill is supposed to help players watch the ball go into their hands and not allow them to use their peripheral vision.
The backup quarterback position will be one that is closely watched throughout training camp. While Brandon Weeden has had a good offseason by all accounts, he has struggled a bit during minicamp.
Brandon Weeden with three consecutive over-throws. Comes back to hit Gavin Escobar down the middle.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 18, 2014
This shouldn't be seen as anything other than a minor slump for Weeden. If he continues to struggle in training camp and preseason, then it will be something to worry about.
One player who has received unanimous praise throughout minicamp is seventh-round pick Terrance Mitchell.
Was talking to Terrance Mitchell. Scandrick walked by in his Scandrick way, saying, 'Man can play. Man can play.'— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) June 18, 2014
CB Terrence Mitchell with the pick to end practice. Orlando Scandrick yelled "I told you about this guy. He is going to take a job"— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 19, 2014
It looks as if the Cowboys got a steal with Mitchell in the seventh round. He has shown that he is not scared of the NFL receivers and that he came to play. B.W. Webb should be afraid because Mitchell is coming for his job.
Jakar Hamilton looks primed to make a real run at the starting strong safety spot.
Jakar Hamilton's having himself a practice. Has been all over the field.— Rowan Kavner (@KavnerDC) June 19, 2014
Jakar Hamilton with a nice one-handed INT after the ball was tipped by Anthony Hitchens. Pass was thrown by Dustin Vaughan.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 19, 2014
Hamilton may be the best coverage safety on the Cowboys roster. If Hamilton continues playing like he has this offseason, it will be hard to deny him the starting spot. The Cowboys have sorely missed having a good coverage safety, and Hamilton may be the player to finally fill that void. Time to see if he can keep it up.
Overall, there are some very positive reports coming out of the minicamp this year. Players like Hamilton and Mitchell seem to be making the most of their situations and may work their way into getting significant playing time this season.
The Cowboys will not be back together until training camp opens in July, where the real test will begin.
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