FRISCO, Texas – Finally, pads.
For the first time in training camp – and really, all the way back to late last season – the Cowboys put the pads on for practice. Here are the highlights from Monday morning's session inside Ford Center:
- Another productive day at the office for Anthony Brown. The fifth-year corner has made plays in every day of practice, and that continued into Monday. In team drills, he punched the ball loose from Michael Gallup, forcing a fumble on what would've been a 15-yard completion. In the same period, he made a nice play to break up a pass to CeeDee Lamb. Later, during the red zone period, Brown got the best of Gallup again when he broke up a would-be touchdown pass to the front, near side pylon.
- One of the most buzzworthy undrafted players on this year's team is linebacker Francis Bernard, and he showed why on Monday. Early in practice, the offense ran a drill using bunch formations. The defense countered with three defenders in order to practice covering three receivers running out of a bunch. On one particular rep, Dak Prescott targeted Ventell Bryant on a six-yard curl. Bernard read Prescott the entire way and made contact with Bryant as the pass arrived, intercepting it for what would've been an easy pick-six.
- The Cowboys want to avoid tipping their hand by limiting the amount of detail coming out of these practices. But it's doubtful anyone will be surprised to learn that CeeDee Lamb is an explosive player. Lamb had two opportunities to show his stuff in the open field on Monday, and he didn't disappoint. His speed and elusiveness look to be as advertised.
- Greg Zuerlein got his first opportunity of training camp on Monday. The Cowboys went through field goal drills for the first time during these open practices, and Zuerlein connected on all six of his kicks from approximately 28, 31, 33, 38, 40 and 34 yards.
- Another active practice for Jaylon Smith in coverage. The Pro Bowl linebacker broke up a Dak Prescott pass to Ezekiel Elliott in a one-on-one drill, and in team work he stopped a would-be Elliott touchdown in the left corner of the end zone. Prescott and Elliott connected for a touchdown later in the drill.
- DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't yet matched up against La'el Collins yet because the starting right tackle is restricted to sideline work with athletic training staff right now. But Lawrence has shown his usual bend and burst around the edge, beating Wyatt Miller for what looked like a pair of would-be sacks.
- Head coach Mike McCarthy said newly-signed defensive end Everson Griffin will start with strength and conditioning work and ramp up toward practice when he completes the NFL-required COVID-19 testing protocols.
- Though McCarthy likes practicing on the outdoor natural grass field, he wanted to be inside at Ford Center once during their current three-day stretch of practices (Sunday-Tuesday). McCarthy pointed out that 10-plus games will be played on turf this year, including eight at AT&T Stadium.