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Training Camp | 2020

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Practice Points: Physical Goal Line Session


FRISCO, Texas – Day 6 is in the books.

Friday was already the sixth practice of this 2020 training camp and the fourth one in pads. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Friday morning that the first preseason game typically rolls around after nine practices. So while they won't be playing any preseason games, the Cowboys are rapidly approaching that point in their installation.

The team is off on Saturday before another practice on Sunday. Here are some notes to tide you over until then.

  • The name of the game on Friday was red zone and goal line. When the offense and defense got together, they did the vast majority of their work down near the end zone. It was a heavy emphasis on goal line runs and blocking assignments, with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard getting plenty of touches near the goal line. It's hard to judge tackling in these situations, but it was encouraging to note that the offense put the ball in the end zone far more often than not.
  • The 7-on-7 period of practice also happened in the red zone, which provided plenty of opportunities for highlights. There were several impressive touchdown grabs, including an overhead, toe-tap touchdown from Devin Smith. Blake Jarwin also had a nifty bit of footwork to get both feet down in the back of the end zone. It's possible the catch was out of bounds, but the visiting officials ruled touchdown after the rep.
  • 7-on-7 saw the defense get some wins, though. Trevon Diggs made a nice play to break up a ball intended for Michael Gallup in the back of the end zone. And Daryl Worley read Dak Prescott's eyes on a ball to the flat, stepping in front of it for what easily would have been a pick-six.
  • For the second-straight day, the coaching staff gave a heavy workload to rookie running backs Rico Dowdle and Darius Anderson. At one point during team period, Dowdle took four consecutive carries. Shortly after, Anderson touched the ball five times in six reps. If the goal was to see what the rookies can do, they both seem to have some pop. Dowdle possesses some impressive footwork, which allowed him to spin out of a tackle for a touchdown on the goal line. As for Anderson, it makes sense that his nickname is "Jet." On the occasions he was able to break into open space, his speed was readily apparent.

Views of the Dallas Cowboys during the sixth day training camp at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, TX.

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  • Starting offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins were at practice but did not participate. Smith had a little hamstring tightness Thursday, and Collins has yet to practice in camp with what's considered a short-term injury. Collins was also involved in a minor car wreck Thursday but was not injured. Swing tackle candidate Cameron Erving, who missed the first week of practice, was back on the field watching the morning session.
  • With all of those guys sitting out, it was a true mix and match along the offensive line. The coaching staff tried a multitude of different alignments, and at least six players got a chance to try some reps at tackle as a result.
  • Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did not practice after appearing to twist his ankle Thursday. The injury isn't believed to be serious, however.
  • Nice job by linebacker Leighton Vander Esch reading a goal-line run by Ezekiel Elliott and standing up the Pro Bowl running back inside the one-yard line. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith had a productive practice in run support and coverage during situational team drills.
  • Devin Smith had another productive practice as he battles for the fourth receiver spot. Facing rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs, Smith made a diving touchdown on a back-shoulder throw from Dak Prescott in seven-on-seven red zone work. Diggs came back a few plays later with a pass breakup on Michael Gallup as Gallup tried to curl his way through the end zone.

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