* (Editor's Note: At the end of each day here at training camp in Oxnard, the staff writers will each provide their own personal observation, ranging anywhere from a particular player who is standing out, a position that needs an upgrade, or even their own personal experiences regarding the daily rigors of camp.)*
Rob Phillips:Dez Bryant just doesn't do anything halfway. Back for a punt return rep, Bryant could've let a well-kicked ball drop over his head out of bounds. Instead, he tracked it, reached out and fielded it as he went to the ground, popped up and returned it a good 50 yards, eluding two coverage guys. Bryant hasn't returned a punt since 2012, and I wouldn't count on him doing so in 2016. But whatever he's asked to do in practice, whether it's at receiver or returner, his competitive drive is going to show.
David Helman:The defense continues to impress me in the opportunities it gets to go up against this offense. That's not to say the offense never wins. In fact, today, the first-team offense cruised downfield for a touchdown in the two-minute drill. But the defense acquits itself well in nearly every practice, at one point or another. On Thursday, during the 7-on-7 portion of practice, the defense broke up four straight passes to keep the offense out of the end zone. Byron Jones stifled Jason Witten on a post route, and Orlando Scandrick blanketed Cole Beasley on a slant. The first-team offense did not complete a ball, and it took Dak Prescott and the backups several tries before they finally found paydirt. I'm not saying the defense is great, but they have put up a hell of an effort in every practice since we got out here.
Nick Eatman:This might not be the most glamorous of position battles, but it could be rather important one. Don't know how the fullback position will shake out, but it's going to be close. The Cowboys will have a tough decision to make, and it'll likely come down to position flex vs. special teams ability. Personally, I think Keith Smith is starting to make a strong case for himself. Obviously the preseason games will play a major role, but Keith Smith plays with so much physicality, which is to be expected from a former linebacker. Rod Smith is a converted running back who has the size to play fullback and the flexibility to do both. His presence could be beneficial if defenses don't respect the run with their fronts. Elliott could motion out and pull a linebacker away and the Cowboys could option to run Rod Smith if they like the look. But, for right now, I think Keith Smith is going to eventually win this job because he's getting better at fullback and he can be beastly on special teams.
Bryan Broaddus:Came away extremely impressed with the linebackers and secondary during the 7-on-7 period. The focus of the work took place in the red zone and I have to say that the defense won the majority of the battles. Standing directly behind the secondary, I didn't see any plays where there were gaps in the coverage. The group appeared assignment sound and technique sure. If you asked me for a highlight, it had to be Byron Jones and his matched up with Jason Witten. During Tuesday's practice, Witten took it to the young safety by spinning him around in coverage. In this particular matchup, Jones was ready for Witten as he released up the middle of the field. Seeing what Romo saw, I would have tried to fit the ball into Witten as well to see if he could out muscle Jones for it. Witten was able to get his hands on the ball for a split second before Jones pulled it away. As both players ended up on the ground, Jones rolled over and said "Not today Witten!"
A look at training camp practice through some of our favorite photos from August 10 in Oxnard, California.