Mid-Day Reports: Live Hitting On Sat.; Injury Updates

19 November 2017: Cooper Rush (7) of the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL week 11 regular season 37-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Sam Smith/Dallas Cowboys

OXNARD, Calif. – When the Cowboys line up on Saturday afternoon, they'll do something not often seen during NFL practices – real, live hitting.

Saturday's practice will feature situational work in both goal like and short yardage settings, which Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said lends itself well to full-contact. The hitting in a typical practice isn't so intense, as the coaching staff's oft-repeated intention is to keep players off the ground.

That won't be the case on Saturday, as each group – first team, second team and third team – will go live.

"It's a very physical period, the most physical period we'll have in training camp. It's not a lot of snaps, but they're important snaps," Garrett said. "We talk to our team all the time that there are 10, 11, 12 goal line snaps every year – that's what you get for 16 games."

The small amount of snaps in that situation doesn't make the work any less important, however. While the contact might increase the chance of injury, Garrett said it's necessary to get that work in – though it will be the only time the Cowboys do it with live hitting.

"Sometimes, as coaches, you're always saying 'Are we working this enough? Are we working this too much? That's not a lot of snap,'" he said. "The conclusion we always come to is, it's not a lot of snaps, but they're important snaps on both sides of the ball. This will be the first time we do it, today, it will be the only time we do it live."

Here are some of the highlights from the press conference: [embedded_ad]

  • Tony Romo is not going to practice Saturday afternoon. Garrett said the practice's competitive periods are going to focus on goal line and short yardage, which won't call for a lot of throwing. Missing on Saturday, in addition to Friday's off day, gives Romo two days of rest in a row. Garrett said Romo will "hopefully be ready to go" for Sunday's scrimmage.
  • The Cowboys signed two defensive ends, Ken Boatwright and Adewale Ojomo, on during the off day on Friday. "Really what we needed to do was get some guys in here," said Garrett, as injuries have depleted the numbers on the defensive line. The two should help alleviate reps for the rest of the line and have an opportunity to showcase their skills.
  • Morris Claiborne doesn't look likely to feature prominently on Saturday, either. Garrett said he was unsure what Claiborne's workload would be, but it likely wouldn't be much. Trainers will keep an eye on the cornerback over the next few days.
  • Garrett also updated Anthony Spencer's progress through rehab. He said Spencer continues to run and work on changing directions on the practice field, but he couldn't give a timetable in regard to Spencer's readiness for the season. Spencer has been unavailable for the vast majority of the Cowboys' transition to a 4-3 defense, but Garrett noted that 4-3 defensive end is Spencer's most natural position – once he gets healthy.
  • Darrion Weems dislocated his shoulder in going against Tyron Smith during drills earlier this week. The tackle wore a sling to walkthrough on Saturday morning. Garrett said there doesn't appear to be much damage with the shoulder, but Weems will likely miss "at least a week or so."
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