FRISCO, Texas – Padded practices resumed on Thursday, as the Cowboys got back to work after a day off.
Thursday's practice was split between the indoor and outdoor fields, as the team worked on some late-game situations and added a heavy emphasis on the run game.
Here are some notes:
- The offensive line is already understaffed, and they lost another significant member on Thursday. Early in practice, before the team periods began, Tyron Smith walked off the field with the athletic training staff and did not return. The exact issue is unknown, but he did not take part in the remainder of practice.
- With La'el Collins and Cameron Erving already sitting out, Smith's absence was obviously felt by the offense. The combination of Brandon Knight, Wyatt Miller and Terence Steele received a ton of snaps for multiple different units. For that matter, the Cowboys shuffled their entire offensive line, trotting out numerous different combinations to maximize playing time. Even guys like Zack Martin and Joe Looney took a step back to allow for other players to get some reps.
- The secondary also lost a member at practice. During the team portion, Jourdan Lewis appeared to tweak his ankle and excited practice. Lewis walked off to the locker room under his own power, but he did not return. The trio of Anthony Brown, Trevon Diggs and Daryl Worley seemed to split Lewis' reps between them.
- Kicker Greg Zuerlein was perfect once again on field goals, making all six attempts from approximately 34, 35, 39, 40, 44 and 46 yards.
- Trysten Hill has gotten more reps since Gerald McCoy's season-ending injury, and the second-year defensive tackle got pressure on three plays late in practice, flushing Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton out of the pocket. Hill and rookie Neville Gallimore will get more snaps now that McCoy has been released via injury waiver.
Views of the Dallas Cowboys during the fifth day training camp at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, TX.
- Defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Aldon Smith continue to be active in the pass rush, and fifth-round pick Bradlee Anae also joined in Thursday with a would-be sack off the edge in team drills.
- Cedrick Wilson enjoyed a productive day during the team portion of practice. The third-year receiver was a favorite target of Dak Prescott, who looked his way on a number of different occasions. His biggest opportunity came on a 4th-and-5 with the Cowboys offense entering the red zone. Prescott looked over the middle and found Wilson for a 19-yard gain, setting the offense up at the goal line. On the very next snap, Wilson ditched his coverage on a flag route for an easy go-ahead touchdown.
- Ventell Bryant also made a play worth mentioning during the 7-on-7 period of practice. Prescott lofted a long bomb toward Bryant, who was well covered by Daryl Worley. Using his 6-3 frame, Bryant plucked the ball out of the sky and managed to hold it over his head while going to the ground.
- Thursday was the most work we've seen from the Cowboys' young running backs – i.e., the ones that aren't named Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Rico Dowdle, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua all got opportunities to line up in the backfield. It's hard to judge running backs during a non-tackling practice, but Dowdle in particular showed some impressive footwork to extend some runs.
- Tackling to the ground is a no-no in training camp, but sometimes you get reminders that this is still a very physical game. Tony Pollard was breaking toward the sideline on a stretch run during team period, and Jaylon Smith lowered his shoulder to lay a loud hit. It was reminiscent of the hit Smith laid on Deshaun Watson near the sideline two years ago. The loud pop got the whole team excited.