My thoughts from Tuesday practice:
*As a scout when you evaluate outside linebackers, there are a couple of areas that you focus on. “Reactive athleticism and speed.” Does the linebacker that you are evaluating play with these traits?
Anthony Spencer did Tuesday. Spencer is the type of linebacker that sees what is happening to him scheme wise and displays the movement skills to get off blocks to get into position to make the play.
Spencer had a play where he used a swim technique (arm over) to beat John Phillips, slide down inside, then make the tackle. Later on a pass rush, he worked Phillips again with a quick burst around the corner, where Phillips was unable to even lay a hand on him.
Spencer is the type of player that doesn’t give you much of a hitting surface when he rushes. What this means is when the blocker tries to put his hands on Spencer, there is nothing there to stop his charge. His positioning of his body on the rush causes this.
Spencer is also very good with his hands. He really does a nice job of firing them into the blocker and having the strength in his upper body to control the blocker.
Spencer has come a long way from a guy that was just tabbed that can just play the run.
*In 2008, backup quarterback Brad Johnson made three starts for the Cowboys, losing two of the three games. In that same season, the Cowboys missed the playoffs by one game.
Jon Kitna is a guy that Cowboys fans never want to see unless he is taking a knee to kill the clock in a win.
Training camp is when Kitna will get the majority of his work so it’s the best time to study him. Kitna has appeared at times in camp to be holding the ball, which is a quarterback no-no that can get you in trouble quickly.
On the interception that he threw to Alan Ball, it appeared that Crayton was open on the curl and throwing on time would have resulted in a completion but by holding the ball, he allowed Ball to see the route, then drive causing the turnover. Kitna also threw an interception on an out route to Dez Bryant that Mike Jenkins read.
Maybe a red flag or just a bad day for Kitna, but we will see as training camp progresses.
*Wade Phillips and his defensive staff have to be pleased with the number of turnovers that their defense has been able to create in these practices at the Alamodome.
Austin was running underneath and caught the ball on the move. Scandrick was in man coverage but trailing the play. As he ran with Austin, Scandrick with a textbook move punched the ball from Austin’s arm and into the hands of Barry Church. It was the perfect play and execution.
This defense needs to create more opportunities to get off the field but to also allow their offense to have short field drives that are finished with points.