Dallas Cowboys Camp News Day 2 – Safeties pick up the pace Brenton Butler http://cowboysnation.com/2014/07/dallas-cowboys-camp-news.html It was another beautiful day in southern California for Dallas Cowboys training camp. The sun was shining and a welcoming breeze kept the temperature bearable. Camp began with punt return drills and overall special teams work. A quick, half speed 11 on 11 drill commenced followed by stretching. Positional groups were separated and individual drills took place in different areas of the two fields. Safeties worked with linebackers and cornerbacks on different tackling drills. The coaches then had the safeties focus on dropping in coverage and tracking the deep ball. The footwork on this drill was obviously more precise than yesterday and the overall speed increased. Barry Church and JJ Wilcox were in prime form as usual. Jeff Heath’s footwork was very smooth and he transitioned well from back pedal to opening his hips, tracking the ball in the air and adjusting his body to make the catch. Jakar Hamilton made a couple of outstanding catches, he did a great job of back pedaling, reading the “QB”, turning his body, opening his hips and driving towards the ball. Hamilton showed tremendous leaping ability. Ahmad Dixon and Ryan Smith also made a few athletic plays. Matt Johnson looked loose during and after practice. Johnson walked with a loose swagger and even showed off his hops by air dunking the field goal post after practice. No one in the safety group stood out negatively, which is a positive sign. Once the safeties put the pads on and go full speed against NFL receivers, precise footwork will become very important. One step can be the difference between a pass defensed, and a touchdown scored by the offense. Safeties must make split second decisions, and their footwork must be near perfect in order to be successful. The coaches worked the players heavily on flowing to the ball, reading plays, and deciding who to cover between two different routes. Tomorrow these safeties will have the opportunity to compete against the offensive players, and their abilities will be put to the test. Not only is sound footwork necessary, but in this defensive scheme, the safeties must make plays, turnovers are crucial. We will see if Hamilton or Heath can push Wilcox out of the starting camp line up. The competition for safety is as wide open as it has ever been. A different story may be told when pads are put on. This group of players love to tackle, tomorrow we will be in for quite a show.