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Thurs. Practice Recap: New Guard Injured; CP3 Arrives

Posted Aug 1, 2013


OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys continued their 2013 training camp Thursday on the week of the Hall of Fame game. This year, Jason Garrett’s new schedule gives even more time between the lighter morning walk-through and the afternoon practice.

Each night, DallasCowboys.com will feature the second practice of the day with the big news, the highs and lows and notable standouts.

Main Story:

Even the fact the Cowboys brought in one of the best guards in the world, it still couldn’t help their guard situation on the field – an issue that even got worse on Thursday.

The Cowboys welcomed NBA point guard Chris Paul, a perennial All-Star for the nearby Los Angeles Clippers. But they have their own dilemma on the offensive line, where they had just two healthy guards for the morning walk-through practice.

That changed when they signed former TCU guard Jeff Olson, who was able to practice that afternoon. However, early into his first practice, Olson met up with Jason Hatcher in a pass-rushing drill. The defensive end got the better end of the matchup, resulting in Olson not only getting poked in the eye, but also had to leave practice with possible signs of a concussion.

So once again, it left the Cowboys scrambling to finish practice. Ron Leary and David Arkin manned the position, while Phil Costa took some second-team reps. Also, converted tackle Edawn Coughman had to move back to guard once again in a backup role.

The Cowboys are without projected starters Mackenzy Bernadeau, who has been out all of camp with a hamstring injury, and now Nate Livings, whose knee injury will force him to undergo an MRI Thursday night. It’s likely both players will miss Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game against Miami.

Ray Dominguez (shoulder) and Kevin Kowalski (knee) are also banged up and unable to practice.

The Cowboys will likely have to keep looking on the wire for available help at guard. Earlier this week, a report surface linking the Cowboys to free-agent veteran Brian Waters. After Thursday’s practice, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said the team will explore all options regarding the position, and certainly didn’t dismiss the possibility of signing Waters, who turned 36 in February.

“We’ve obviously got injuries and we’ve got guys who aren’t back out here yet,” Jones said. “If we can improve our football team, and our roster … if the right situation presented itself and we felt like the guy could come in here and help our team for the year, we’d look at that as well. We’re keeping all options.”  

Quick Hits:

  • Lifelong Cowboys fan and Clippers point guard Chris Paul showed up to practice Thursday. He said he’s as serious a fan as it gets and used to sleep in Cowboys sheets. He couldn’t wait to send pictures of the day to his dad, because his family loves the Cowboys. Paul used to act like Ken Norton playing linebacker in the backyard as a child.
    “I’m like a little kid,” Paul said. I’ve done a lot of good things in my career, but this is one of the highlights of my life. Growing up just watching the Cowboys all day every day, these guys probably have no clue what it means to me.”
  • Former Cowboys cornerback Anthony Henry was also in attendance Thursday. Henry played four years for the Cowboys (2005-08) before he was traded to Detroit in exchange for backup Jon Kitna.
  • Jason Witten ended the day on a high note for the offense. He’s been getting more involved in the red zone recently and showed Thursday that he’s still got the ability to get behind the defense, coming down with a deep grab from Romo to bring the offense near the goal line during team drills right before practice ended.
  • Linebacker David Albright missed practice Thursday with tightness in his back. Justin Durant returned to the linebacker corps after taking a veteran day on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Defensive end Ben Bass got tangled with an offensive lineman during the full team portion of practice. Bass went down and seemed to aggravate the same ankle that limited him last week, but he got up and returned to the huddle.
  • Wide receiver Tim Benford had a scary moment during one-on-one drills early in the afternoon session. While chasing a deep ball to the back corner of the end zone, Benford over ran the field and slammed into the restraining fence for attending fans. Trainers rushed over and spent five or so minutes attending to him, but Benford quickly hopped up and returned to the drill.
  • On his first rep back in practice, Benford caught a crossing route from Romo in seven-on-sevens and scored a touchdown.
  • Tight end Andre Smith appeared to aggravate a hamstring injury during Thursday’s practice.
  • Collision of the day goes to running back DeMarco Murray, safety Will Allen and center Travis Frederick. Murray took a handoff from Romo and broke off right tackle, where Allen raced up to meet him. Murray bounced off Allen and actually wound up smacking helmets with Frederick, his own center. Frederick fell over backward and looked pretty bewildered about what had just happened.
  • Offensive tackle Tyron Smith got himself pulled for his efforts against defensive end DeMarcus Ware during full-team drills. Ware pushed past Smith continuously en route to terrorizing Romo. Ware had three unofficial sacks on the day, going along with sacks from defensive end Kyle Wilber and George Selvie.
  • Kicker Dan Bailey missed two field goals early in field goal drills, but he rebounded to make five straight. He was also perfect during full-team and red zone drills.
  • The Dallas Cowboys will put all remaining single-game tickets on sale to the general public beginning Friday, Aug. 2 at 10 am (CDT). Due to the large season tickets base for Cowboys games, there will be a very limited number of seats available for each of the Cowboys home games this year.

Notable Standouts:

David Arkin – For no other reason, the third-year pro is getting through practice without any injuries. No other guard in this camp has been able to say that. But he’s also holding up rather well in team drills. He had nice some blitz pickups, showing good awareness and had some intense battles in the middle with Sean Lissemore on the first-team offense.

Kyle Wilber – Putting DeMarcus Ware in this category is getting old. Ware only had three sacks in the practice. But his backup was showing up, too. Wilber had some Ware-like pressure a few times coming off the edge. He’s starting to show a combination of speed and strength. Wilber has been able to dip around the tackles with moves, and also a bull-rush attack with his power. He’s not Ware by any means, but is certainly making big strides in this camp.

Tony Romo– The quarterback was pretty sharp in both 7 on 7 and team drills. He was especially good in the Red Zone offense, finding holes in the defense for multiple touchdowns, oftentimes hitting Miles Austin and Cole Beasley underneath. He also threw a perfect strike to Jason Witten to end a team drill, resulting in about a 35-yard touchdown.

Play of the Day:

It wasn’t the best day for Kyle Orton during the 7-on-7 red zone drills, but it did allow J.J. Wilcox to stand out. After throwing a pick toward the sideline that Brandon Underwood fought to grab, Wilcox demonstrated the athleticism and playmaking ability that the Cowboys thought he had when they selected him in the third round.

As Orton weighed his options toward the goal line, he spotted Cole Beasley separating from coverage as he ran toward the back of the end zone down the middle of the field. That’s when Wilcox came over the top and leaped way up in the air to secure the pick and take it the other way.

Photos from Thursday's practice in Oxnard >>

Injury Report:

Returned to Practice:
WR Dez Bryant (quad soreness) 

Left Practice:
G Jeff Olson (concussion-like symptoms)

Missed Practice:
LB Alex Albright (back)
TE Andre Smith (hamstring)
G Kevin Kowalski (leg)
G Ray Dominguez (shoulder)
C/G Ryan Cook (back)
DT Landon Cohen (eye)
Jermey Parnell (hamstring) 
DE Anthony Spencer (knee) 
WR Danny Coale (knee swelling) 
TE James Hanna (hamstring) 
DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles) 
DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)
G Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring)
OT Demetress Bell (conditioning)

Transactions:

July 21 – Signed T Demetress Bell, QBAlex Tanney and Lavasier Tuinei. Placed G Mackenzy Bernadeau and DT Jay Ratliff on the active/physically unable to perform list and placed the following players on the active/non-football injury list: T Demetress Bell, C/G Ryan Cook, LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur, G Ronald Leary, G Nate Livings and WR Lavasier Tuinei.

July 23 – C/G Ryan Cook passed his physical and returned to practice.

July 24 – Released WR Lavasier Tuinei. SignedDT Landon Cohen and DE George Selvie.

July 26 – G Nate Livings passed his physical and returned to practice.

July 29 – LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur and Ronald Leary passed their physicals and returned to practice.
Aug.  1 – Released DE Cameron Sheffield and CB Devin Smith. Signed G Jeff Olson and T James Nelson.

Upcoming Schedule:

Friday, August 2
10:30 a.m. (PDT)         Walk-Thru
12:00 p.m. (PDT)         Coach Garrett press conference
4:45 p.m. (PDT)           Practice

Saturday, August 3
                                    Team Travel to Canton, Ohio

Sunday, August 4
7:00 p.m. (PDT)           Dallas vs. Miami (Hall of Fame)

Photos from Thursday's practice in Oxnard >>

Image Map