When I re-read my post on the offense
, it was kind of … blah! I guess it was because most of the time my focus was on the defense. You can’t help it. This is a unit that not only going to be good, but exciting and fun to watch for years to come.
It might still be premature to say, but the 2005 draft could turn out to be one of the best in the Cowboys history, if not the league. A big reason for the optimism is what I saw from Canty and Ratliff in this camp. We already know what we got in Ware. With Spears and Burnett showing sign of turning it up, and Barber looking like a steal in the fourth (not to mention the undrafted Pepper Johnson), this draft is looking like the one to remember for a very long time.
Let’s start with Canty, who is turning into a beast. I don’t know if we have another player on the squad that has his combination of power and quickness (see the bull rush picture in my picture thread). Canty and Ware got to the QB in the inter-squads plays consistently. I think the sky’s the limit for Canty.
Then you have Ratliff, who’s playing nothing like a late round pick. As others have pointed out, his motor’s always running, but what I like about him is his intangible. He and Ferguson are the comedians, the jokesters on the defense. Whenever there were a OL vs. DL drill, you can always hear the two cheering on the DLmen whenever they got the better of the battle. Even in the Hoyte-Batiste skirmish that happened during a special team play, you could see and hear Ratliff jumping and pumping his teammates. This group is tight, and the camaraderie is something very special that you just can’t buy.
For a guy who was injured for the first week of camp, Spears looked really good to me. I saw him penetrated the OL a few time during OL vs. DL drills. There was absolutely on sign of him being hurt. Hopefully he can stay healthy from now on.
Pepper Johnson also looked pretty good. You can see on one of the pictures I took he penetrated the line, shed an attempted block by Kincade and leaped in the air as Baker made his throw. The pass was intercepted on the same play.
Coleman – here’s another surprise. I actually think that Coleman’s quietly having a pretty good camp. I can’t really pinpoint a particular play or two from him, but it just seems that whenever I looked, No. 93 was always around the QB. He’s much like Singleton. Not flashy, but get the job done.
Hatcher looks one-dimensional to me (speed-rush). Take it with a grain of salt though, I only saw him for four practices so it might not be an accurate observation.
I was hoping to see more of Montavious, but I am not sure if got that many plays.. or maybe I just missed him while he was on? Didn’t pay much attention to Ferguson, nor did I try to observe Bowen much.
Ok, where do I begin? How about that one guy that I got an autograph from? Glymph it is. As Hostile mentioned in the picture thread, he’s huge. Size aside, the guy’s pretty agile for a big guy like him (6’6” and 272 lb). He seems always around the ball when he was on the field. I don’t know if he’s going to make the team playing a position that’s deepest in the team. If not, I sure hope he lands on the practice squad. On a personal note, the guy seems like a genuine and humble person. Glad to have a chance to interact with him.
Ellis – I don’t know if Parcell and staff are blowing smoke. While Ellis looked good rushing the QB or at LOS, he doesn’t look as fluid in dropping back as the impression I’d been given. He might just be tentative due to being new to the position, or that I got spoiled having seen such athletes as Ware, Burnett, Glymph, etc. running so smoothly. Perhaps my expectation is out of whack. After all, he’s never played the position, and that we fans shouldn’t expect miracle over night.
Singleton – some fans keep saying we should trade him, but he’s that one guy that just gets his job done. He’s not a flashy player, but seems to be a pretty good run stopper who’s also capable of dropping back. Aside from what the eyes could see, he’s also suppose to be a locker room leader, and you can’t have too many of these on a team. He’s here to stay.
James – heard him calling shots. Definitely looking and playing the role of the commander of the defense. I don’t know if I saw any play from him that really jumped out, but based on the many good reads I had on him, he’s the last we have to worry. If he doesn’t turn into a superstar, I am positive he’ll be a steady force for the Cowboys this year (and hopefully beyond).
Burnett – being a fan of his, and having heard so many positive reports on him since camp start, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed seeing what I saw. Don’t be alarmed. It wasn’t like he did badly. I was just expecting him to be a monster and tearing it up all over the field, but while he got close to the QB in his rushes a few time, I never really saw him getting a sack (maybe I missed them?). On a positive note, in drop back coverage, he looked very smooth. Worst case scenario, he should be a good OLB for the Cowboys. Best of all, he’s only in the second year and has plenty of room to grow…
Ayodele – Other than that one play where he knocked down Mosley’s coffee, he was invisible to me for the most time during the four practices. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I didn’t look for him, but he just never really caught my eyes.
Hoyte – he made plays from time to time, but at this point his destination might be the practice squad unless he really shows something in the next few preseason games.
Saldi – made a play here and there, but don’t think he’s done enough to warrant a spot on the roster.. or the practice squad.
Boiman is also quietly having a good week (and camp?). Jus as Singleton, he doesn’t make a lot of splashes but he seems to always be around the ball. If he makes the squad, that might be at the expense of Fowler, who has been pretty quiet on the field. Another guy who’s rumored to be traded – Shanle – every time I looked up he was still there, but with him not getting many reps in practices, and being showcased in preseason game(s) – it really does look like his day wearing the Cowboys uniform is coming to an end. Bjork – the NFL Europe LB from the Admirals – does anyone know about him? Yup, just what I thought =) I didn’t spend much time watching him, for a good reason, he’s not going to stick for long.
Saving the best for last - that guy name Ware. What can I say that you have not already heard? If it’s possible, he looked even quicker this year (after gaining the extra lbs), and looked to have added the inside swim move to his arsenal of QB rush. I spent a lot of time watching him. In some plays, he easily blew by the offensive tackles with his speed rush. In others, he would start with what appeared to be a speed rush, then quickly countered to swim inside the left tackle to attack the QB. You’ll see a couple of examples in the pictures I posted. On top of that, he’s also very quick with the stunt. At least in one occasion I saw him smoothly glided to the back of the DE and dashed up field to get to the QB. The regular season can’t come sooner.
(check back for the rest later... taking another break from all this typing)