OXNARD, Calif. – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took the podium on Day 3 of Cowboys training camp Friday, just one day before the team dons pads for the first time.
The Cowboys went through their typical team walkthrough Friday morning, with one more light practice slated for Friday evening.
The leading news item of the morning was the conviction of Rolando McClain for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in April 2013. McClain, who the Cowboys acquired from Baltimore in a trade July 1, has not practiced yet with the Cowboys. The former first-round pick had to return to Alabama for the court date, as his attempt to delay the trial for training camp was refused. He has been arrested in his home state of Alabama three times since 2011.
McClain was sentenced to 18 days in jail, but he'll appeal that ruling. Garrett said Thursday the Cowboys expected him back at training camp for the weekend, but on Friday was unsure of how the ruling impacted those logistics.
Garrett repeated, however, that he felt good about the decision to bring the troubled linebacker into the fold.
"We got our arms around Rolando's situation by talking to a lot of people that we know and trust," he said. "We felt like we made a trade that was a very low-risk deal for us on a position that's one that we feel like we need to create competition."
Here are some other highlights from Garrett's press conference:
- Tony Romo will participate less in Friday's afternoon practice than he did in Thursday's. Garrett said the Pro Bowler will take a backseat in order to be mindful of the team's "two-a-day setup" and make sure Romo isn't overexerting himself.
- Romo participated in the Cowboys' full-practice walkthrough on Thursday evening, which goes along with his workload from the spring. Garrett said it's good to see him acclimate to full-team environment, though it wasn't full speed or competitive.
- Garrett said he highlighted Morris Claiborne for his early work during a team meeting Thursday night. He added that Claiborne made great gains during the offseason program, especially considering he was coming off a shoulder surgery.
- Touching again on the loss of key veterans like DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, Garrett said the Cowboys' roster is much younger than it was three years ago. He said it's good for fostering competition. [embedded_ad]
- The Cowboys "like" the problem of trying to find a role for Lance Dunbar. Garrett said he'd feel confident running his normal offense with Lance Dunbar as the primary back, but there's no denying the speedster's skillset.
- "It's time for him to step up and take advantage of this opportunity and do it on a consistent basis," was Garrett's response to the play of Bruce Carter. The fourth-year linebacker is one of the focal points of the need for defensive improvement, as he'll resume his role as weak side linebacker.
- Furthering that point, Garrett said Carter plays fast, confidently and decisively when he knows what he's seeing. He said Carter has to be able to play with that confidence, which he can further with understanding.
- Garrett said Cole Beasley has "matured physically," despite being a smaller player. "He looks stronger to me," Garrett said. That strength should help him with the more physical aspects of the position, such as escaping press coverage.