IRVING, Texas – It's bound to change as the long grind of an NFL season gets underway, but the Cowboys' Thursday practice was remarkable for one simple reason.
Every single player – all 53 active roster members and the 10 practice squad players – was present.
Tony Romo returned to practice after taking his usual off day on Wednesday, and the Cowboys aren't currently dealing with any major injuries. Anthony Hitchens, Devin Street, James Hanna and J.J. Wilcox were all limited on Wednesday, and it remains to be seen how much they do as the week goes forward.
That said, it's still remarkable that an NFL roster would be fully capable of practicing at any point during the year. The Cowboys' Week 1 opponent, the New York Giants, are currently coping without Pro Bowl pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, and it remains to be seen if wide out Victor Cruz will bounce back from a calf injury in time for kick off.
Hitchens is working his way back after several weeks of absence with a foot injury. His status might be the most compelling, as he projects as the most likely starter at middle linebacker while Rolando McClain is suspended.
"Hitch had a good day yesterday," Garrett said. "He was limited in practice, but he did work in the individual stuff and did get some team reps. Again, we'll take him day by day and see how he responds to that."
If Hitchens isn't available, Andrew Gachkar looks like the most logical candidate to start in the middle. Both players also have the versatility to play on the strong side, so the Cowboys coaching staff should have plenty of options.
That might as well apply to the entire roster, since the Cowboys had every single player taking some part in practice. There's no way it'll last, but for the time being the options are plentiful.