Ahmad Dixon makes favorable impression

SAN DIEGO -- Ahmad Dixon's start to Dallas Cowboys' training camp was relatively quiet. The rookie safety’s play in the first preseason game wasn’t.

Dixon, a seventh-round pick out of Baylor, led the Cowboys with 11 tackles in Thursday’s 27-7 preseason loss to the San Diego Chargers. He also didn’t finish the game because of a concussion.

Dixon was involved in the first-team nickel defense with safety Jeff Heath moving to the slot out of necessity considering the Cowboys’ dearth of cornerbacks. Dixon remained in the game until suffering a concussion while making one of his tackles. He was a little woozy and the athletic training staff was able to take him off the field.

He was replaced by Johnny Thomas, who signed with the Cowboys on Wednesday and has yet to practice with the team.

"I thought for a guy who is young and hasn’t played that much, he seemed to show up," coach Jason Garrett said of Dixon. "Now, we’ll have to go back and evaluate how he covered and how he did some other things defending the run. But for the most part when you make some of those tackles that he did, TFLs and also his open-field plays, that shows up pretty well in his first game."

Dixon was known as a big hitter in college. That showed up. As did a late job picking up a tight end on an 18-yard reception on third-and-7 in the third quarter.

But there were some encouraging signs.

"He was coming downhill like a rocket," safety Barry Church said. "Reminded me of myself a little bit. But he played good. He made a lot of tackles, wrapping up well. He’s just got to get those assignments clear and he’s going to be a good player for us."

He also might need to adjust the way he tackles.

"He’s got to stop leading with the crown of your helmet," Church said. "That’s something he’ll learn over time."