Training Camp | 2021

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Practice Points: Disruptive Defensive Line


FRISCO, Texas – It's only Wednesday, but the preparation for Saturday is beginning.

The Cowboys' morning practice featured several aspects of game planning for Houston, as the offense and defense ran cards on what they might expect from the Texans when they square off on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.

There was plenty more to glean from the practice session, which moved indoors on account of heavy storms in the area. Here are some more notes from the field.

  • It still wasn't a huge workload for Dak Prescott as he gradually increases his participation in practice. Prescott threw throughout the early portion of practice, throwing plenty of routes on air ranging from 5-15 yards. Prescott didn't take part in any of the competitive portions of practice, including seven-on-seven or team period. When the team moved into those periods, Prescott worked mainly on his conditioning.
  • La'el Collins missed the second half of practice after he sustained a neck/shoulder injury. He was getting looked at by the team doctors and athletic trainers. Collins stayed on the field with his helmet in hand, but didn't get any more work in the team drills. He did, however, take part in the team's post-practice walkthrough.
  • Replacing Collins at right tackle was veteran Ty Nsekhe, who has mainly worked on the left side for Tyron Smith, who did practice. Assuming Collins will be back in action, the Cowboys might be leaning towards Nsekhe as the swing tackle over Terence Steele.
  • Whether he's facing Collins or Nsekhe or anyone else, defensive end Dorrance Armstrong was a problem to block all day. He continually got around the edge, often slowing up at the quarterback while he delivered the pass.
  • Mike McCarthy said it twice during training camp and yet his offensive coaches apparently didn't listen. He said Randy Gregory is not the player to run reverses towards, yet the offense ran a sweep to the left side, which Gregory snuffed out with ease to blow up the play.
  • It might be time to face another team again in preseason. Defensive end Azur Kamara, featured on episode 2 of HBO's "Hard Knocks," took exception to something during a team drill rep and responded with a little shove to center Tyler Biadasz. Just a chippy moment that ended quickly.
  • Randy Gregory took some extra time off rather than travel to the Arizona game, and it seems to have done him some good. He's been dealing with a minor foot injury recently, but Gregory looked explosive with his get-off during Wednesday's practice. One rep that jumped out came on a jet sweep, when Gregory beat Tyron Smith off the snap and blew CeeDee Lamb up in the backfield, before he even had a chance to get his shoulders turned upfield.
  • Really nice coverage play from Jourdan Lewis during one-on-ones. Matchup against Michael Gallup on an out route, Lewis covered some ground late and got to the ball at the same time as Gallup. Gallup managed to get his hands on the ball, but as the two neared the sideline Lewis was able to paw at it and ripped it out of Gallup's grasp.
  • It might have been Lewis' biggest day of practice, as he one-upped himself with an interception in two-minute drill. Ben DiNucci drew the pass rush offside in the red zone, prompting him to heave a ball to the end zone on account of the free play. Trevon Diggs was able to bat the pass intended for Noah Brown into the air, and Lewis was able to run under it for the end zone interception. It unfortunately didn't count, but it was a heck of an effort from Diggs and Lewis.
  • Brown did have a fun win against Maurice Canady during one-on-ones, though. Brown hard sold a comeback route and got Canady to bite on the double-move, from there it was an easy touchdown for Brown on the go ball.
  • Amari Cooper did in fact up his participation in Wednesday's practice. It still wasn't a full workload, but Cooper did get some run during team periods, as he had the chance to run multiple different routes and get his feet wet with the rest of the offense.
  • Armstrong ruined the first-team two-minute drill with a timely sack of Garrett Gilbert. With the offense needing a touchdown to win the drill, Armstrong bullied his way past Ty Nsekhe coming from the left side and chased Gilbert down for a big loss. Micah Parsons also had a key sack during team period coming through the middle of the line.
  • Cornerback Trevon Diggs wants more interceptions than the team-leading three he got as a rookie last year. Sometimes picks come with a little good fortune. Diggs came up with an interception in one-on-one passing drills after Michael Gallup slipped coming out of his break near the sideline.

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