OXNARD, Calif. – The scoreboard came out on Thursday.
Following an off day, the Cowboys got into the two-minute drill in their latest padded practice.
To wrap up the evening the coaching staff put the offense on its own 38-yard line, with the scoreboard showing a 10-10 ball game with 1:18 to play. Essentially, it was on the offense to drive roughly 25 yards to set up a game-winning field goal.
It was a lot easier said than done. The Cowboys' first-team offense struggled to gain much traction. Dak Prescott found Michael Gallup to start the drive, but things stalled from there. Whether it was a pass breakup from Jaylon Smith or miscommunications, the offense stalled out on its own half of the field and was forced to punt.
The defense won again when the second-string hit the field – it didn't even take long. On the first snap of the series, Cooper Rush looked for Jon'Vea Johnson. The ball was contested and tipped up into the air, and Justin March-Lillard dove for a fantastic, one-handed interception to kill the drive.
Views of the Dallas Cowboys during the fifth day of training camp at River Ridge Fields in Oxnard, CA.
The third-string salvaged the day, largely thanks to a third-down scramble from Mike White rolling to his right. White maneuvered the offense well enough to put Brett Maher in position for a 45-yard kick, which he nailed.
It might have been a positive finish from the offense, but the afternoon as a whole was a strong showing from the Dallas defense.
- The defense held its own during the one-on-one portion of practice, as well. As is customary, the quarterbacks and receivers broke off to go against each other. The wide receivers had their share of wins, but it was easy to see the number of breakups on the day. Jourdan Lewis came away with three PBU's on the day, while Anthony Brown also handled himself well. Having given up a touchdown to Jon'Vea Johnson, Mike Jackson rebounded nicely against Randall Cobb. Dak Prescott's throw to Cobb on a comeback route was a bit late, and Jackson stepped in front of it for a pick-six.
- Anthony Brown and Xavier Woods carried the defense in the Compete Period, too. Brown fought off Michael Gallup for a PBU on the first rep of the period, while Xavier Woods battled Jason Witten downfield and forced an incompletion. Tony Pollard beat Jaylon Smith downfield on the final rep, but the throw from Dak Prescott was overthrown.
- Brett Maher handled kicking duty on Thursday, going 5-of-6 once again. Maher missed from roughly 35 yards, but he hit all of his kicks from 40 yards and further. As mentioned above, he hit a game-winner during the two-minute drill to close out practice.
- After a brief absence, Chris Westry returned to the field for practice. Westry left camp for personal reasons on Tuesday, but he didn't struggle to get involved on Thursday. During team period, he laid a solid thud on Mike Weber, who was aiming to turn the corner on a halfback toss. Defensive backs coach Kris Richard commended Westry for bouncing back. "In life, distractions and things happen. You've got to go out and you've got to handle your business," he said. "This organization is great about family first, so you've got to make sure you get out and take care of your family, get everything situated so you can com here and be 100 percent focused."
- It's a bit easier for receivers to stand out during these practices, given that tackling isn't allowed. That said, it'd still be a mistake not to mention Reggie Davis. Whether it's with the starters or the reserves, the guy just seems to make plays at every practice. This might feel familiar, considering every year sees a receiver get out to a fast start. It will be interesting to see how Davis carries this momentum over the next month.
- Sean Lee sat out of practice as he continues to recover from a mild knee sprain. Rico Gathers was on the field, although he is limited by an ankle injury. Lance Lenoir also missed practice with an ankle injury.