OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys are now well underway in training camp here at the Oxnard River Ridge complex. The club wrapped up a short special teams walkthrough Friday, followed by a regular press conference from Jason Garrett.
Here are some highlights from the morning and early afternoon occurrences on Friday:
- Starting guard Nate Livings passed his conditioning test Friday. The sixth-year veteran missed the early portion of camp with a foot injury, but he will suit up when the Cowboys practice Friday evening.
- Cornerback Morris Claiborne had his pinkie wrapped during the morning walkthrough Friday. Claiborne said the trainers popped it back into place after he dislocated it during Wednesday's practice.
- Garrett said Anthony Spencer and Tyrone Crawford had successful surgeries back in Dallas. Spencer is slated to return to Oxnard on Friday, and he'll be out "like we said, for two to four weeks." Crawford will remain in Dallas, but Garrett said his spirits are high.
- Garrett briefly addressed the injury statuses of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, guard Ronald Leary, tackle Jermey Parnell and tight end James Hanna. He said "at some point next week" would be the earliest to expect to see them, but the Cowboys plan to be cautious with those injuries, as usual.
- Parnell is missing time during training camp after also missing out on parts of OTA's and minicamp, which Garrett said is unfortunate for a young, developing player. Garrett praised Doug Free's play to this point in camp, but he said there should be a healthy competition at the right tackle spot when Parnell can return to the field.
- Defensive linemen Landon Cohen and George Selvie practiced immediately upon joining the team Wednesday. Garrett said he's pleased with the NFL rule change that allowed players to join training camp immediately upon signing. "There was a rule in the NFL last year that was really hard on teams – it was hard on us and it was hard throughout the league – that you had to have kind of a three-day grace period," Garrett said. "If you signed a guy during camp, they had to wait three days before they could practice. It really wasn't as well thought out as the league probably should have thought it through. This year it's different. We signed them, gave them a physical, they were practicing that afternoon. And both those guys showed up."
- Garrett spoke a few days ago about the physicality and aggression of defenders like Sean Lee and J.J. Wilcox. Friday, he applied that to running back DeMarco Murray, who he said surprised him with his physicality. "DeMarco's a guy that, just to be honest with you, is a much more physical player than we probably thought," he said. "I think, if we're all honest with ourselves, he's a more physical runner than we thought him to be (when he was drafted)."
- Garrett said "one of the great questions" for the Cowboys during training camp is who will play backup middle linebacker. He said outside linebacker Bruce Carter "looks so good at the Will linebacker spot" that he doesn't know if moving Carter inside would be their first option if Sean Lee were to get hurt. Garrett listed his strongside linebackers as likely candidates, which likely means Justin Durant and/or Ernie Sims.
- He added that the Cowboys are "absolutely" counting on Carter and Lee to be two of the defense's top playmakers. Garrett said the freedom granted to the linebackers by the four- down linemen should open them to make big plays. "They've got to get to the football and they've got to make a lot of plays on the ball," he said.
- The Cowboys typically have a Blue Period, which is to say a short rookies and special teams session, 30 minutes before afternoon practice. Garrett said the team won't have one Friday.
- Garrett said after his press conference that he would like to have a third quarterback to develop for the future. The Cowboys only carried two quarterbacks, Kyle Orton and Tony Romo, during 2012. With only 53 roster spots to work with, Garrett said that might be something the Cowboys can't currently afford.
- "You have to make the best decisions for your team in terms of if that guy's on your 53 or if that guy's part of your 61, and you just have to sort out the rest of your roster. There are so many different issues you have to address that I don't want to describe it as a luxury. It's an important thing," Garrett said about a potential third quarterback. "But sometimes when it comes down to it, if he's not going to play for you right now and someone else is, it does get thrown into that luxury category a little bit. But we definitely would like to keep developing really young players at all positions, but particularly at that one."