FRISCO, Texas – At the end of the day, Monday's practice was incredibly similar to the 17 that came before it.
The Cowboys stretched, they went through a walkthrough, they split into position groups. They held one-on-one Compete Periods, seven-on-seven drills and full-team periods. The whole thing lasted roughly two hours.
At the same time, it was quite an impressive setting – Ford Center at The Star, in front of 6,052 fans in attendance. And in the 57-year history of the organization, it was the first time the Dallas Cowboys had ever held a training camp practice at their own facility.
It was a day for the Cowboys to showcase their amenities at The Star, and it will undoubtedly be the first of many opportunities for fans to see the team at the new headquarters.
"Any time you're around fans, it just makes the energy that much better," said Jason Witten. "It's the unique thing about this. That's what it sounds like it'll be as it moves forward, and it'll be great for the fans to get a glimpse of that."
After 27 days in Oxnard, Calif., it feels like training camp is winding to a close – but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will be sure to combat that idea. After Monday's workload, the Cowboys still have five more full-fledged practice in Frisco, not to mention two more preseason games.
But the setting for end of this year's camp should be quite hospitable.
-- David Helman
- Cooper Rush has been outstanding in three preseason games, throwing four touchdown passes with no interceptions, and perhaps the coaching staff was rewarding the rookie quarterback Monday by giving him a handful of reps with the second-team offense near the end of practice. Kellen Moore took the majority of the second-team reps behind starter Dak Prescott, as usual.
- Ezekiel Elliott has shown his receiving skills throughout training camp, but on Monday linebacker Anthony Hitchens did a nice job of covering the All-Pro running back in the flat and knocking down the pass.
- Left guard watch continues: With La'el Collins seemingly entrenched at right tackle, Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green rotated first-team left guard reps. Cooper started last Saturday's preseason game against the Colts.
- Rookie receiver Ryan Switzer didn't participate in all of practice, but it was a good sign to see the fourth-round pick work in individual and special teams drills.
- All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee took team drill reps at linebacker after sitting out the Colts game with a hamstring injury that limited him the previous week.
- After missing a good portion of camp in Oxnard with a toe injury, Joe Looney was back taking some reps at center. Looney served as a swing interior lineman last season, backing up both guard and center.
Dez Bryant –Fresh off a great performance against the Colts, Bryant picked up where he left off in practice on Monday. He looked un-guardable in one-on-one drills, as he dusted Nolan Carroll twice down the field. On one of those two occasions, he blew past Carroll for an easy touchdown. The coaches gave Carroll another opportunity in Compete Period, and Bryant hauled in a contested catch on a curl route. He added a couple more catches during team drills to round out a nice day.
James Hanna –The sixth-year tight end gets most of his praise as both a blocker and a special teamer, but he has an underrated pair of hands. Hanna demonstrated that during the Compete Period. He used some quality route running to give himself position over Jeff Heath, but the throw from Dak Prescott was just a bit in front of him. Not to be deterred, Hanna extended and reeled the ball in off the tips of one of his hands and securing it for a touchdown.
Maliek Collins –There hasn't been a more consistently disruptive pass rusher in this camp, and Monday was no exception. Collins was his typical, disruptive self during team drills, but he also shined during Compete Period. As the Cowboys continue their search for a starting left guard, the coaches put Chaz Green against Collins in a one-on-one situation. Considering how huge Green is, it was amazing to see Collins simply blow him off the ball. Green worked his way back eventually – but not without hooking Collins on what looked like a hold.
Play of the Day
Defending Cole Beasley is never an easy task, especially in one-on-one drills with no pass rush help. But third-year safety Byron Jones has accepted the task of covering the Cowboys' receivers and tight ends throughout training camp, and on Monday he stayed on Beasley's hip across the field, getting a hand up at the last second to knock away the pass.
Unofficial Injury Report:
CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle, hamstring)
QB Luke McCown (shoulder)
DT Cedric Thornton (hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)
S Xavier Woods (hamstring)
FB Keith Smith (knee)
TE Rico Gathers (concussion)
OT Byron Bell (undisclosed)
CB Leon McFadden (undisclosed)
LB Justin Durant (undisclosed)
Returned To Practice:
WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring)
LB Sean Lee (hamstring)
OG Joe Looney (toe)
Tuesday, Aug. 22
3:30 p.m. (Central) – Practice