All the while Wade Phillips was taking grief for a supposed lack of physicality in his practices, there was a reason why. On Wednesday, in Jason Garrett's first full pads practice of the regular season, two starters were hurt.
For the most part the Cowboys got through training camp and the preseason in good shape injury-wise, but Wednesday's knee injuries to Tyron Smith and Mike Jenkins are a reminder that the team isn't taking it easy from here. Garrett will likely have the Cowboys in pads as much as he is allowed, 14 times this year, on Wednesdays.
It's a philosophy that he doesn't seem to be reconsidering after one bad day at the office.
"I just think that's the nature of football," Garrett said. "Peopl have gotten hurt in games for a long, long time. They've gotten hurt in practice, and you're treading that line. We really emphasize understanding how to practice in all of the different equipment that we wear throughout the week, obviously staying off the ground and all those things.
"So I think in general we practice fairly well. We understand what that balance is, but it is football, and things do happen."
While Wednesday practices are similar to the pads-crunching work of training camp, it's not quite the same.
"You want to create a competitive environment, an intense environment," Garrett said. "The difference is you're running scout team cards in all areas of your team. So we're preparing for the Jets. It's not Cowboys vs. Cowboys. So that always adds a different dimension to it. You're trying to provide a look for the other side . . . But it's a physical, intense practice. It's an important day in the preparation week for a Sunday game."