My thoughts from Sunday's practices:
* The slimmer Marion Barber appears to a better Marion Barber. I liked the way he was able to find the hole and hit it with a little burst. There were times today where the plays were not blocked cleanly but he was able with vision to see where his space was and adjust on the move to gain positive yards. He was able to take good gains and make them into big gains. Maybe for the reasons of health in 2009, that wasn’t always the case. Marion has always been that complete back. What I mean is that in this offense you need to carry the ball, catch it when asked but more importantly be a dependable blocker. Marion was one of Bill Parcells’ favorites for this reason alone. I truly want to see more Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, but this new version of Marion Barber might be hard to get off the field.
* When you start to talk about offensive line depth, you are just one play away from losing a starter for several games or maybe the season. In 2009, Doug Free stepped into a difficult situation and played so well that they released a long-time starter at left tackle and put him in the lineup. This camp is very important for several players, but on the offensive line, it’s critical. Pat McQuistan has been here since 2006, and early in his career played like he could develop into more than just a backup. Today was not one of those days where he would want to sit in the film room and watch tape with Hudson Houck and his other teammates. There were struggles in both the running and passing games. McQuistan just doesn’t play strong, and when he plays against a defender with power, it’s hard for him to sustain his block. Robert Brewster was another guy that I felt struggled today, but he hasn’t been here as long as McQuistan, so maybe there will be better days ahead as camp progresses.
* I understand all the talk in the offseason from Patrick Crayton and the disappointment he has shared about his role on this team. You can fault him for being honest, but the bottom line is that he has the trust of this quarterback. Romo will throw the ball to him without hesitation. There is nothing flashy about Crayton, and at the start of this camp he has delivered some dependable plays. Patrick will never have great speed or quickness, but he will make up for it with his ability to find a way to get open and catch the football in traffic.