OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys were back in pads once again on Tuesday for an afternoon practice. Here are some of the highlights that occurred:
- It was a windy day in Oxnard and, as such, an unpleasant afternoon for kickers Jonathan Garibay and Lirim Hajrullahu. In what's become an up-and-down camp for both, the latter was able to connect on just one of his three field goal attempts in one of Mike McCarthy's "Mojo Moments", while the former missed on each of his three attempts. It seems the Cowboys have a long way to go before they figure out who'll be the starting kicker on Sept. 11.
- The injury to James Washington hasn't pushed the Cowboys to get any sort of urgency in locating a replacement in free agency, instead already creating opportunities for guys like newly-signed return ace KaVontae Turpin. The speedster was a much more active participant in the Cowboys offense on Tuesday, and was also seen putting in extra receiver reps after practice, with the hopes of inserting his name into the competition at wide receiver.
- Things got a bit chippy on Tuesday, with the defense attempting to set the tone on more than one occasion. From running back Malik Davis and the offense (including Dak Prescott) taking exception to a Davis handoff that saw his defender get very physical in taking him to the ground out of back, to safety Tyler Coyle knifing through traffic at full speed to lay a hit on Rico Dowdle that sounded like a sonic boom - followed by Coyle standing over Dowdle in taunting fashion -- the Cowboys defense looks to be preparing for the season with a very sizable chip on their shoulder. Davis came back a few plays later to lower the shoulder on Coyle in one of the most physical runs of camp with both players going to the ground.
- Not to be left out of the dialogue involving which WR will land where on the depth chart for 2022, Brandon Smith put several good plays on film in Tuesday's practice, and that included an impressive catch that saw him go up in traffic to grab a frozen rope and then turn upfield for what would've been a big gainer. The second-year wideout has overcome ankle surgery he underwent in January to find himself in a great opportunity to earn more reps and, in the team's second padded practice, he may have done just that.
- DaRon Bland continues to play above his current level of notoriety, which is to say he's one you should keep an eye on. The rookie fifth-round pick has done a really good job at whatever receiver assignment he's been given, from slot coverage to popping outside for X and Y coverage duties, routinely blanketing whichever wideout is in front of him - often forcing the quarterback to move on in the read progression. A former First-Team all-conference player, Bland is quickly catching the eye of the defensive staff.
- The battle continues at left guard, where both Connor McGovern and Tyler Smith got first-team reps. McGovern seems to working with the 1s to begin practice but Smith isn't too far behind. For now it appears the Cowboys seem focused on keeping Smith at guard, especially with the pads on.
- The screen passes were a big part of the offense on Tuesday- or at least that's what the Cowboys were forced into throwing. There was often heavy pressure on the quarterbacks, leaving the best option to dump the ball off to the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and the backups, including Dowdle and Davis.