IRVING, Texas – Thursday's practice looked awfully similar to the Cowboys' initial practice on Wednesday – albeit without any pads.
Wide receivers Miles Austin and Dwayne Harris were once again the only members of the roster to miss the practice. Harris returned to the field in his practice jersey, but he did not wear a helmet and worked to the side with the team training staff.
Austin was present but did not participate in drills or training work.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has said the team will be cautious with bringing Austin back to work, and that seems to be the case with the full week's worth of work.
"We're taking his situation day-by-day," Garrett said before Thursday's practice.
As it remains to be seen if Austin will suit up against the Chargers, Garrett was asked what his plan would be for the Cowboys' No. 2 receiver, with the likely options being Harris or Terrance Williams.
"Well, what we've done with each of those guys is given them a chance to play. I think Terrance has probably played more if you look at the actual snaps, but Dwayne has played a lot for us," Garrett said. "Dwayne has done some good things for us, Cole Beasley played in the game the other day … we have a lot of confidence in each of those guys. Sometimes we do it by play, sometimes we do it when one guy just needs a little bit of a break during the ball game, and sometimes you do it by personnel packages. We've done it that way in the past and we suspect we'll do it again."
Brian Waters continued to get first team reps during the brief period the media is allowed out to see practice. The veteran guard's workload has increased during each week since he joined the roster, but Garrett said he isn't ready to choose a starter between Waters or Mackenzy Bernadeau this weekend.
"We haven't made that determination – we just had the one practice yesterday," Garrett said. "We'll continue to evaluate that as the week goes on. Brian has done a real nice job for us, and Mackenzy has to understand what that role is, whatever it might be, like he has the first couple of weeks. He's done a good job of that, and we'll see over the course of the next couple of days what we want to do."
Garrett also addressed the limited practice participation Wednesday of DeMarcus Ware, who wore shorts and a jersey to the fully padded practice. Garrett said the plan is to limit the amount of contact on Ware during the week, as he has dealt with stingers in the past two games.
"We just want to make sure we don't go backwards on that – he's been able to play really effectively in games," Garrett said. "That's just the way we're handling it right now. Hopefully it gets better and we don't have to do that throughout the year."