Steve Lemonds, NBCDFW.com
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant makes the catch across the middle during practice drills.
We finally had the feeling of football here at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Sunday. After 10-days of practice, Jason Garrett decided to tune it up a bit and bring back the "Blue and White" scrimmage that had been missing since the Jimmy Johnson era.
His goal was to put his team into game like situations and get work on those potential scenarios.
While it was expected to be erratic and sloppy, plenty of good came out of Sunday's scrimmage. More importantly, Garrett and his staff were able to get a look at a roster full of young and unproven guys.
What stood out was the efficiency of Tony Romo and the two-minute offense. Romo was on fire, completing 9-of-12 passes, that culminated with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten. Dez Bryant also added a touchdown.
A day later, after watching film, Garrett agreed the offense was sharp, but in typical coach fashion said there was still plenty to work on before the regular season opener. Especially up front.
Two players have elevated their stock offensively: Kevin Ogletree, and Lonyae Miller. Ogletree has an opportunity to take the number three receiver job with the departure of Roy Williams. He was on receiving end of three of Romo's tosses during the two-minute drill. He's always shown flashes at training camp and in the preseason, but seems to disappear when the real Sundays start. It's imperative that Ogletree rolls over his solid training camp into the regular season.
As for Miller, no one has taken advantage of injuries more than the second year back out of Fresno State. Miller looks quick and has done a nice job of catching the ball out of the backfield, including one swing pass that led to a touchdown Sunday. Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray relegated to watching, Miller has put himself in a prime position of earning a roster spot.
Defensively, it wasn't the sharpest of scrimmages. But Rob Ryan's unit gets a pass because of the enormity of installation that has taken place under the new coordinator. The biggest errors were in substitutions. Ryan said after the scrimmage that's expected when you work the sidelines for the first time with new players and coaches. After watching the game tape, Ryan, the players, and his staff were very excited about what they saw. Little things like timeouts and substituting players are the reason for scrimmages, and with a unit chalked full of veterans it's only a matter of time before the defense gets it - and returns to Pro Bowl form.
Count Thursday's preseason opener against the Broncos as a glorified scrimmage between two teams - who have plenty of work to do before they play for real.