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Thurs. Practice Recap: Closing Out Oxnard; Johnson Getting Close

Posted Aug 15, 2013

OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys wrapped up their final full practice of training camp, although it was a rather lighter practice without full pads.

Still, the Thursday evening practice all but completes camp, as just a short Friday morning walk-through remains before the team departs for Arizona for Saturday’s third preseason game. The Cowboys will return to Dallas following the game against the Cardinals.

Tight end Jason Witten said it’s evident his teammates are ready to close the door on their four-week stay in California.

“I think everybody’s ready to go home. It’s been a physical camp, long camp, I think everybody’s pretty excited to go home,” Witten said. “But I think this team’s just locked in. I think just every day come out, working, not really complaining, just trying to get better and looking for different results than what we’ve had in the past.”

Owner Jerry Jones said the physical nature of practice is one thing that stood out from the Oxnard practices.

“We had some real good competition out there,” Jones said. “The battles were very intense but I think that’s a positive.”

Jones said he credits coach Jason Garrett for creating that atmosphere, mainly by pitting the first-teamers on offense and defense against each other regularly.

Garrett said the Cowboys will adjust their practice schedule in Dallas next week because of the weather, practicing around 8 a.m. (Dallas time).

“I’m sure it’s going to be tough, but that’s a good test for us,” Witten said. “You prepare in that, you really can handle anything, so I think being in shape is good when you’re in camp, but at some point you’ve also get used to this. We’ll be fine. We’ll adjust to it well.”

Quick Hits:

  • Matt Johnson said he hopes to start working back into practice Monday from his foot injury. Johnson’s dealt with injuries throughout his career, and at times he admits he’s tried to come back too early. He knows he has to be smart and listen to the trainers, but he also knows he needs more reps.

    “Maybe it’s just bad luck, bad timing, all that stuff,” Johnson said. “Obviously I haven’t proven myself to be able to stay on the field in the NFL, so it kind of sucks, but I can’t prove it otherwise until I get back on the field.”
  • DeMarco Murray said he’d like to get continuity on the line ahead of him and see the same five guys, but the team can’t complain about the injuries that have happened.

    “I’m not concerned,” Murray said. “Different guys have got to be ready to play. I think that’s up to each person individually. You’re a pro. You’ve got to be ready to play.”
  • Owner Jerry Jones said “Yes” promptly after a question from a reporter asking if Jay Ratliff is getting closer to a return. Jones wouldn’t further comment on Ratliff’s timetable for a return. He said his conversation with Ratliff on the field last week was about their shared excitement with the 4-3 scheme and playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli.
  •  Former Cowboys receiver Billy Davis attended practice and had a lengthy discussion with Jason Garrett. The two were teammates in the late 1990’s.
  • The Bachelor and The Bachelorette television host Chris Harrison and The Bachelorette star Jef Holm attended practice today.
  • *Fans in attendance for Thursday’s practice numbered at 5,260 bringing the final training camp attendance to 58,396.

Notable Standouts:

Dwayne Harris, WR: Harris chose the last day of camp to have arguably his most noteworthy practice. He shined for the Cowboys’ second team during two-minute drill, as he carried the offense into the end zone. Harris hauled in three receptions for roughly 25 yards, including the touchdown on a short out-route in the end zone.

Kyle Orton, QB: Harris made the catches, but Orton put them on the money during his reps with the second team. As shaky as he looked at times during the team OTA’s and minicamp, Orton looked effortless and solid in charge Thursday. Aside from his throws to Harris, Orton completed nice balls to Phillip Tanner and a strong gainer to tight end Gavin Escobar.

Gavin Escobar, TE: Speaking of the rookie tight end, Escobar had a strong all-around day to close out training camp. He consistently made himself available in the middle of the field for Orton. Escobar has yet to show up during a preseason game, but he has certainly shown his abilities when given the opportunities in practice.

Photos from Thursday's practice in Oxnard >>

Injury Report:

Returned to Practice:
OT Darrion Weems (chest)

Missed Practice: 
LB Ernie Sims (groin)
DT Sean Lissemore (groin)
S Eric Frampton (hamstring)
S J.J. Wilcox (non-injury)
CB Morris Claiborne (knee) 
LB Alex Albright (back) 
Kevin Kowalski (leg)
Ray Dominguez (shoulder)
DE Anthony Spencer (knee) 
G/C Ryan Cook (back)
S Matt Johnson (foot)
DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles) 
DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)


August 6 – Released P Spencer Benton and DE Monte Taylor. Signed DE Jabari Fletcher and G Dennis Godfrey.
August 8 – Released G Jeff Olson. Signed G Dennis Godfrey.
August 11 T Demetress Bell passed his physical and returned to practice. Released LS Jackson Anderson. Signed K Brett Maher and LS P.J. Mangieri.
August 12 – Released LS P.J. Mangieri. Signed DT Travis Chappelear.
August 13 – Released T James Nelson. Claimed DE Thaddeus Gibson off waivers.

Upcoming Schedule:

Friday, August 16
9:00 a.m. (PDT)           Walk-Thru
                                    Coach Garrett on field after practice
                                    Break Camp/Travel to Phoenix, AZ

Saturday, August 17
3:30 p.m. (CDT)           Dallas at Arizona

Photos from Thursday's practice in Oxnard >>

Image Map