OXNARD, Calif. – Sanjay Lal's bricks are typically reserved for receivers, but they might be working wonders for Anthony Brown.
Long after practice on Monday, when most players are visiting with family and friends, Brown was carrying Lal's bricks around the practice fields.
The Cowboys' new wide receiver coach has his wide outs carry 25-pound rocks in each hand after practice as a way to develop finger strength. And if Brown has been adopting the strategy, it's clearly working.
Brown picked off two passes during Sunday's Blue & White Scrimmage, and he came back Monday with three total interceptions. He even added another in 11-on-11 drills, jumping in front of an out route that Cooper Rush intended to throw to Michael Gallup.
For a guy who missed several opportunities at interceptions in 2017, Brown said working on his hands has been a focus heading into his third year.
"Big emphasis," he said. "I could've had, like, seven picks last year and dropped them. But it's a new year with new goals and new dreams."
One of those goals is undoubtedly to earn back a starting job. Brown started nine of the first 10 games of 2017, before ultimately being benched following the Cowboys' lopsided loss to the Chargers on Thanksgiving. He came off the bench of the rest of the way.
In 2018, Brown is getting an opportunity to fight his way back to the field. He has been the Cowboys' first-team nickel corner for most of training camp, and he has seen plenty of time on the left side, as well. And if he's sweating a position battle with Jourdan Lewis or any of the Cowboys' other young corners, he's not showing it.
"That ain't none of my concern, I'm just coming to do what I can do and let the cards play the hand out that's dealt," he said.
It goes without saying, but interceptions have a way of catching people's attention. Brown said he has plenty of confidence in himself, but if he keeps up this level of play, others won't have a choice but to take note.
"People seem to forget, but I know what I'm capable of," Brown said. "I know what I can do. It's like you said, putting it on tape. Make everybody else see it and go from there."
Quick Hits From Practice
- Defensive end Randy Gregory did not practice but wore pads for the first time in training camp. Head coach Jason Garrett said the team plans to ramp up Gregory's work as he builds toward his first practice appearance.
- With Tyron Smith getting an apparent rest day, Cameron Fleming took first-team reps at left tackle.
- In the middle of team drills, Garrett voiced his displeasure with the defense for a third offsides penalty. A fourth was called later in practice.
- Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Achilles tightness) sat out again. The injury isn't considered serious, but the team is being cautious with him right now.
- Aside from Anthony Brown's sit-down interception, wide receiver Cole Beasley might have made the play of the day with a diving 40-yard catch working against safety Kavon Frazier. Dak Prescott felt pressure and rolled to his left, buying time for Beasley to get down the field.
- Last Friday, wide receiver Tavon Austin said he hadn't lined up in the backfield – yet. That changed Monday with a couple of reps. Austin had nearly 60 carries for the Rams last season.
- Austin, Beasley, running back Trey Williams and wide receiver Lance Lenoir Jr. fielded punts.
- Looked like a rest day for Dan Bailey and Chris Jones. Brett Maher handled both place kicks and punts.Practice Recap: Anthony Brown's Hands; More