FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have depth issues at safety, but moving Byron Jones back from corner doesn't look like a primary consideration right now.
"Byron plays corner," defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard said multiple times for emphasis after Monday's practice in shells at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
"We truly believe he is finding a home (there). He's doing a really good job of going out there and executing our calls and our game plans. We're thrilled with his development and where he's going with it."
Head coach Jason Garrett echoed Richard's thoughts before practice: As well Jones has played at corner so far in preseason, the Cowboys want to avoid moving him back to safety, where he started the last two seasons.
However, with the recent hamstring injury to Xavier Woods, who could be out 2-4 weeks, plus injuries to backups Jameill Showers and Marqueston Huff, the Cowboys are keeping an eye out for safety help. They signed rookie Dominick Sanders on Monday, and free-agent safety Jeron Johnson is reportedly expected to work out this week.
Richard said Woods, a sixth-round pick a year ago, was playing "really well" as the first-team free safety.
"We're pleased with his progress. We want a fast recovery for him," Richard said.
Without Woods in the lineup, Kavon Frazier has the most experience playing alongside starter Jeff Heath. Rookies Kam Kelly and Tyree Robinson worked with the second team.
Playing right cornerback Monday, Jones had a couple of nice plays on the ball, which reiterates Garrett's point that the Cowboys would prefer to keep him at corner.
"Yeah, I want to stay at corner. I'm having fun there right now," Jones said. "I like going against the receivers and I like the technique that Coach Richard is teaching. I would love to stay corner but I'll do whatever is best for the team. If they ask me to do it, of course, I'd do it in a second."
- After training for three and a half weeks in Oxnard, Calif., the Cowboys looked forward to practicing at their home facility Monday. "We had a great training camp in Oxnard. People out there are incredible," Garrett said. "I can't think of a better place to have training camp than out there. But everybody's excited to get back here. Get back in our building. It's the best building there is. To be able to work in our indoor facility in front of our fans here will be great."
- The Cowboys are also practicing in front of their fans at Ford Center Aug. 21, 23, 24 and 28. Practice times are subject to change; admission and parking are free and open to the public. Entry is available on a first-come, first served basis. Monday's announced attendance was 5,446.
- With Pro Bowl linemen Zack Martin (knee) and Travis Frederick (shoulder) not practicing, Kadeem Edwards and Joe Looney took first-team reps at right guard and center, respectively.
- The Cowboys acknowledge they're thin at safety right now, but they're also light on numbers at receiver for the moment. Tavon Austin (hamstring), Deonte Thompson (Achilles tightness), Noah Brown (hamstring) and Cole Beasley (groin) did not practice. Garrett said he anticipates Beasley and Austin returning at some point this week.
- Also sitting out practice were first-round Leighton Vander Esch (groin), who did not play against Cincinnati, and defensive tackle Datone Jones, who hurt his knee in the game. Garrett said Jones likely won't be able to practice in the near future. The Cowboys signed defensive tackle Caraun Reid with an open roster spot Monday.
- Garrett said he doesn't anticipate David Irving returning to the team for preseason practice anytime soon. Irving is currently on the Reserve/Did Not Report list as he handles personal matters. He was not with the team in Oxnard. He'll serve a four-game NFL suspension once preseason ends.
- Two days after his spectacular contested catch against the Bengals, tight end Rico Gathers got a first-team rep in a two-tight end set with Geoff Swaim in team drills. Gathers caught a short pass underneath from quarterback Dak Prescott.
- Rookie quarterback Mike White might have made his best throw of camp yet when he executed a perfect back-shoulder throw to Lance Lenoir Jr. down the left sideline for a 20-yard gain.
- Dan Bailey connected on four of five kicks from approximately 33, 38, 42 and 48 yards. Officials at practice ruled that his 45-yard attempt went just wide right.