Garrett Softening With Team Banged Up?

Playing and practicing with physicality is important to Jason Garrett, so the Cowboys coach had his team in full pads almost every day during training camp, and until Thursday, they'd been wearing all the gear once a week in practice.

With 11 players on the injury report, though, the team wore only helmets, shorts and shells during Thursday's session, their first of the week.

Per new CBA guidelines, coaches can put their teams in full pads as many as 11 times during the first 11 weeks of the season - once a week, with a single exception where they can go full pads twice in the same week. Over the final six weeks of the season, only three full-pads practices can be held.

Typically Wednesday would be the Cowboys' full pads session, but because of this week's Monday night game, Garrett gave the players an extra day off in addition to their usual Tuesday.

With so many guys banged up, it seemed like a good time to back off.

"I think it'll be good, hopefully," linebacker Bradie James said. "We've got a lot of guys banged up and evidently we needed it. I never thought that Jason Garrett would give us anything off, but I'm happy he did."

The Cowboys have had several players injured during their physical Wednesday practices already this year. While seven players didn't participate in Thursday's session, James said some might be well-served by the extra rest.

If it's not enough for some of the injured guys, these Cowboys have a next-man up mentality.

"You can't really worry about that," James said, "because guys have to know, and it's other guys that have to step up, and know their job. And you have to hope on Monday night that everybody will be ready. It doesn't matter if - just like Miles (Austin). Miles was limping all last week, but he showed up on Sunday, so you can't count anybody out. We're not full strength, but we're looking forward to getting everybody back, as many people as we can."

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