Mon. Practice Recap: Young Players Move Up The Depth Chart As Vets Rest

OXNARD, Calif. – Training camp is a 27-day slog, and Monday marked the fifth day of padded practices.

It was the first day of the workweek, and only 3,824 fans came out to practice after the weekend sessions saw more than 7,000 apiece. With all of that in mind, maybe it wasn't a surprise to see the lowest energy to this point on the practice fields, as the Cowboys fought through a sluggish outing to open the week.

It certainly wasn't a terrible practice, as it featured the same intense one-on-one and full-team battles that have become standard here. But the energy just didn't seem the same, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told his team as much.

"He didn't feel like our energy was there," said Brice Butler following practice.

Maybe that shouldn't be surprising, given that the Cowboys rested several of their most talented and most animated players. Watching practice from the sidelines were Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Darren McFadden, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford and Orlando Scandrick. While perhaps not the most animated player, Tyron Smith also took a veteran's day – taking some star power out of the proceedings.

There was some sloppiness, too. The absences pushed some younger players up the depth chart, providing some much-needed playing time – but also causing some mistakes.

Butler said he was too focused on his duties to notice the energy level for the rest of the team, but he felt like his unit handled itself well, even with Bryant sitting out for the day.

"Obviously, it wasn't perfect," he said. "We're not perfect every day, but I feel like our group brought a lot of energy – regardless of having Dez out there or not."

Regardless of one's opinion of Monday's practice, there won't be much time to stew about it. The Cowboys have a morning practice on Tuesday before they travel to Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday. They'll be back on the field in no time.

-- David Helman

Quick Hits

  • The veteran absences created some interesting lineups across the roster. With Tyron Smith sitting out, Emmett Cleary got to spend the day as the Cowboys' left tackle. James Hanna got the first-team reps at tight end, while Rod Smith took Darren McFadden's reps at running back.
  • Defensively, Damien Wilson was the Cowboys' first-team weak side linebacker while Sean Lee sat out. Taco Charlton took Tyrone Crawford's reps at left defensive end, and Chidobe Awuzie played first-team cornerback in place of Orlando Scandrick.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence has been a bit limited this past week while he works back into practice, but he featured heavily as the starter at right defensive end on Monday.
  • Cole Beasley has been one of the most consistent performers at training camp this year, which made it all the more surprising when he dropped a wide open pass from Dak Prescott on a 3rd-and-2 during one of the final team periods of the day. A completion would have kept the offense moving, but they instead had to settle for a field goal. A rare mistake from Beasley was just another symptom of a sluggish practice.
  • Awuzie is another guy getting plenty of work in these practices. With Scandrick sitting out, the rookie got first-team reps at cornerback. But he also played with the second and third-team defenses throughout the day.
  • Ryan Switzer and Jourdan Lewis are both hampered by hamstring injuries and look unlikely to participate in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday. Without those two, the Cowboys' primary punt returners are Lance Lenoir and Javontee Herdnon. Look for them to get plenty of work on Thursday night in Canton.
  • Jason Garrett said Chaz Green's shoulder injury doesn't appear to be a long-term issue, and the third-year tackle showed positive signs by running with the training staff during practice.
  • First-year linebacker Jaylon Smith also did not practice, having worked two straight days in pads for the first time in camp. The Cowboys are monitoring Smith's work daily as he makes his way back to action after sitting out last year.
  • Adding to the chippy moments we've already seen in camp, cornerback Sammy Seamster and wide receiver Lance Lenoir had a brief and minor scuffle in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Former Cowboys safety Charlie Williams attended practice.

Notable Standouts

Dan Bailey –The veteran kicker hasn't missed a field goal attempt in eight practices. Monday, he was 6-for-6 in special teams drills and converted three more from roughly 40, 45 and 35 yards during 11-on-11 work near the end of practice.

Stephen Paea –The veteran defensive tackle signed in the offseason to rejoin defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme. He has looked comfortable as an up-the-field penetrator from the three-technique spot while Maliek Collins has sat out with a hip flexor. Monday, he got past All-Pro guard Zack Martin in a 2-on-2 pass rush drill with rookie Taco Charlton and right tackle La'el Collins.

Marquez White – The rookie cornerback has received plenty of praise for his hot start to camp, and it appears the coaching staff has taken notice. During the one-on-one portion of practice, White was bumped to the front of the line – working against Terrance Williams. The rookie got two reps against Williams, allowing a touchdown on a post route and breaking up a pass in the corner of the end zone. Not a bad showing for his fifth day of practice.

Play Of The Day

Proof of the Cowboys' quality receiver play so far in camp: Jones hasn't gotten much notoriety despite a quietly productive start. Monday, the first-year receiver ran a go-route in 1-on-1 drills, and high-pointed the ball for a leaping catch over rookie cornerback Chido Awuzie in the corner of the end zone.

Unofficial Injury Report

Missed Practice:

RB Darren McFadden (rest)
T Tyron Smith (rest)
TE Jason Witten (rest)
WR Dez Bryant (rest)
CB Orlando Scandrick (rest)
LB Sean Lee (rest)
DL Tyrone Crawford (rest)
LB Jaylon Smith (rest)
DT Maliek Collins (hip)
LB Justin Durant (elbow/NFI)
WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring)
OT Chaz Green (shoulder)
DE David Irving (ankle)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)

Upcoming Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 1

10:45 a.m. (PDT) – Practice  

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