Mid-Day Report: RB Position Getting Low In Numbers; McFadden Close

OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys are in a holding period at the running back position, which can be good for some, and maybe a bit tiresome for all of them.

With Lance Dunbar out for a few days, maybe longer, with a right ankle sprain that has him now in a walking boot, the Cowboys are even thinner at the running back spot. Dunbar underwent an MRI Thursday morning, although the Cowboys aren't too worried about it being a long-term setback.

"We'll just wait and see what it says," Jason Garrett said Thursday afternoon at his press conference, concerning the MRI status. "We don't anticipate it being bad. We just want to make sure we get the information right on his situation."

Darren McFadden continues to make progress after missing the first week of camp with a hamstring injury. Garrett said he doesn't anticipate McFadden practicing Thursday afternoon.

"He's making good progress," Garrett said. "We're off (Friday) so we'll just see what we do after that. He's out there in cleats moving around and making progress day by day."

With Dunbar and McFadden not practicing, first-teamer Joseph Randle is handling the bulk of reps on both the first- and second-team units.

Lache Seastrunk and Gus Johnson are also getting a lot more reps, which is a positive for two players trying to earn a roster spot.

"They're working hard. They're good kids," running backs coach Gary Brown said. "Obviously they're (young) so they've got a lot to learn, but I'm very happy with where they're going. They've come in early and stayed late. They're doing it the right way."

The Cowboys are also giving fullback Tyler Clutts some reps as a tailback, although Garrett said this week his role will primarily be as a lead blocker.

  • Terrell McClain suffered a bone bruise and hamstring pull that will likely keep him at least a week, making it unlikely he will play in next week's game against the Chargers.
  • A day after both Tony Romo and Jason Witten were held out of practice for rest purposes, both were back on the field Thursday in the morning walk-through and expect to practice later in the day. Garrett said there are some positive benefits of having them out of action for a day. "They're fantastic leaders and they set the pace for our team. Those are the guys that carry our message. It's a good test for our team when you remove those guys. It's a good test for BW and some of the other leaders, when you take them out and see where our team is."
  • Doug Free will get the veteran day off for Thursday's practice.
  • While Charles Haley has been seen working with defensive end Randy Gregory, he's not the only former Cowboys' D-lineman working on technique. For the last few days, Russell Maryland has been on the field, working with some of the defensive tackles, such as Tyrone Crawford and Nick Hayden.
  • Haley spent the first week here at training camp but has gone up to Canton, Ohio for Saturday's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the family are expected to be in attendance as well.
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