Camp observations: Defense dominates day

OXNARD, Calif. – If you want to measure the daily success of each unit during training camp, then Day 2 belonged to the Cowboys’ defense.

You’ll soon see why in the Camp Observations:

  • LB Sean Lee met RB Phillip Tanner in the hole during the team-run period, which started a run of four straight plays in which the defense did not allow a carry to go more than a few yards. DE Monte Taylor stopped DeMarco Murray after TE Gavin Escobar was late off the ball, and Cameron Sheffield ate up Tanner on a run wide to the left. The No. 2 defense saw DT Nick Hayden and Ernie Sims come up with a tackle for loss and a no gain.

  • Over the last few years, coach Jason Garrett has had individual players pulled for a snap when they make a pre-snap mistake. On Monday he replaced the entire offense. When the entire first-team offense moved and C Travis Frederick didn’t snap the ball, the No. 2 offense came in for two snaps. When a shotgun snap from C Phil Costa was off to QB Kyle Orton, Garrett had the No. 3 offense come in for a snap. Garrett has been much more vocal with his displeasure in practice so far early in camp than he has been in previous camps.

  • A good offensive moment: On a swing pass from Romo, Tanner was able to outrun LB Bruce Carter to the edge for a nice gain. It was something Tanner would not have been able to do a year ago. He appears to be in better shape and sharper with his running.

  • OT Jermey Parnell is not off to the best of starts in camp, which might be why he is not rotating with Doug Free. In team take-off drills with no defense, he drew Garrett’s ire for flinching before the snap. The offense had to repeat the play.

  • In the “blue” practice with rookies and selected vets, Hayden tipped a Nick Stephens pass in the air and was able to make the interception.

  • Also in the “blue” practice, OT Darrion Weems gave up sacks to LB Kyle Wilber and Ike Igbinosun at right tackle and left tackle.

  • The special-teams portion of practice focused on kickoff coverage and returns. Dwayne Harris, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Anthony Amos and Cole Beasley all handled some returns.

  • Lee gave one of the officials an incredulous look for spotting a ball for a first down after a dump pass to Murray from Romo. Lee and S Barry Church closed fast on Murray and it may have been close, but the spot definitely favored the offense.

  • Free made a nice block on Carter on a bubble screen to free Harris for a good pickup.

  • TE Jason Witten put a nice stiff-arm on S Matt Johnson down the field to pick up extra yards. Johnson also did a nice job of picking up WR Dez Bryant on a hot read that would’ve led to a short gain for the offense.

  • DeMarcus Ware had three sacks. Tank Reed had a sack. Jeris Pendleton had a sack. Ben Bass had a sack. It was that kind of day for the offense. But the defense normally gets the better of the offense early in camp.