Mon. Practice Report: Cowboys Coping With Depleted Roster

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OXNARD, Calif.– The Cowboys continued their 2013 training camp Monday evening with the second practice of the season. This year, Jason Garrett's new schedule gives even more time between the lighter morning walk-through and the afternoon practice.

Each night, DallasCowboys.com will feature the second practice of the day with the big news, the highs and lows and notable standouts.

Main Event

Monday's practice was devoid of the devastating injury news that dominated headlines Sunday night. One day after the loss of Tyrone Crawford to a torn Achilles, there was no further injury news – though the evidence of the Cowboys' health woes was all over the field.

All it takes is a look at the lineup when the Cowboys go out for 11 vs. 11 drills to see the problem spots. Where one might expect to see starters Nate Livings or Mackenzy Bernadeau going against Jay Ratliff, there instead are David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski lined up at guard across from Ben Bass and Sean Lissemore.

Next to Bass was Kyle Wilber, the main benefactor of Anthony Spencer's stint on the sideline with a knee injury. More so than any other units, the Cowboys' offensive and defensive lines are using unheralded players to get through the early stages of training camp.


"For me, I don't feel like a lot of things change, because I like taking reps – I like getting better each and every day, probably not to my benefit," Bass said. "I try to take so many reps, and some of the older guys tell me 'You need to stop – it's a marathon not a race.' That's probably something I need to learn."

Injuries, however minor, seem to have piled up a bit since the Cowboys landed in Oxnard on Friday. Backup tight end James Hanna joined the ranks of the hobbled Monday after a hamstring injury of his own. With so much emphasis on multi-tight end sets, rookie Gavin Escobar can expect to see plenty of time on the first string until Hanna's return.

"I'm getting a little more action with the ones, so I'm feeling good – just trying to take advantage of this opportunity," Escobar said. "I'm just trying to learn everything. Romo and all the coaches are giving me tips on everything and I'm just trying to put it together."

It doesn't seem like most of the Cowboys' current injuries are going to be significant in the long run, but in the early stages of this camp, the team's starting lineup is showing the team's health concerns.

Notable Standouts

DeMarco Murray – The burst is different with him from the other backs. His quickness is unique and he took handoffs aggressively Sunday, getting to the hole quickly using his speed and demonstrating his pass-catching ability out of the backfield.

Jason Witten – It was hardly a day to remember offensively for the Cowboys, but when all else failed, Tony Romo found Jason Witten. He went to No. 82 to pick up a huge gain after Miles Austin failed to come down with a deep pass that resulted in a pick and Terrance Williams dropped a pass.

Sterling Moore – Most of the focus this offseason is on a rookie cornerback behind him and a few cornerbacks ahead of him on the depth chart, but Moore demonstrated Monday that he shouldn't be forgotten among the defensive backs with a pass breakup on Cole Beasley and a deflection on a fade to Dez Bryant.

Play of The Day:

In a position battle for the other safety spot opposite Barry Church, generating turnovers is a good way to solidify a position. The defense won all day during team period, but one play specifically came to mind that brought veteran safety Will Allen into the spotlight.

As Tony Romo dropped back, he was immediately pressured once again from DeMarcus Ware, who would have had a sack if it was a live game. Instead, the play continued, and Romo found Miles Austin deep down the left side of the field. The ball appeared to hit Austin's hands, but Allen tipped it at the last second and secured the interception after juggling the ball in the air, taking it back down the sideline.

Quick Hits:

  • Tight end James Hanna sat out practice with a mild hamstring strain. The second-year pro said he doesn't anticipate missing too much time. "I want to get out there as soon as I can but I can't rush it. It's part of the game and I'll be back when I can. Hopefully, pretty soon."
  • With Hanna out, the Cowboys used Gavin Escobar and Dante Rosario in the three-tight end packages. Rosario worked out of the backfield some in an H-back role.
  • The Cowboys worked on kickoff returns for the first time in camp. Back deep on the returns were Dwayne Harris and Lance Dunbar. It also appears B.W. Webb and Cole Beasley will get some looks back there as well.

Injury Report:

Missed Practice:DE Anthony Spencer (knee) 
TE James Hanna (hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles)
DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)
G Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring)
LS L.P. Ladouceur (calf)
G Nate Livings (foot)
WR Danny Coale (knee)
WR Lavasier Tuinei (conditioning test)
G/C Ryan Cook (conditioning test)
OT Demetress Bell (conditioning test)

Transactions:

July 21: *
Signed *
T Demetress Bell, QB Alex Tanney
and Lavasier Tuinei. Placed G Mackenzy Bernadeauand DT Jay Ratliff on the active/physically unable to perform list and placed the following players on the active/non-football injury list: T Demetress Bell, C/G Ryan Cook, LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur, G Ronald Leary, G Nate Livingsand WR Lavasier Tuinei. [embedded_ad]

Upcoming Schedule:

*Tuesday, July 23              *
12:00 p.m. (PDT)               Coach Garrett press conference
4:00 p.m. (PDT)                 Practice

*Wednesday, July 24              *
10:30 a.m. (PDT)               Walk-Thru
12:00 p.m. (PDT)               Coach Garrett press conference
4:00 p.m. (PDT)                 Practice

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