OXNARD, Calif. – Andy Jones racked his brain for a second, temporarily thrown off by the question.
What, to this early point in training camp, has been the most impressive aspect of practice with the Dallas Cowboys?
"I'd have to say Tony Romo's mind," he said. "Just to see someone be able to operate the team, the offense like a living. He's really smart."
The rookie receiver smiled sheepishly at the next question. With so many receivers in camp, not to mention Romo's status as the Cowboys' franchise quarterback, how many opportunities has Jones had to work with No. 9?
"I've had a few, but I'm just trying to work my way on and earn his trust – and everybody else's trust," Jones said. "Hopefully they keep putting me out there."
That's the mantra for any rookie longshot, and Jones is embracing the challenge. The 6-foot-1 receiver has also worked on the special teams units in punt coverage, in addition to his duties on the offense. Jones said his goal is to keep up with both the offensive and special teams playbooks so he can maximize his playing time.
"When it comes to knowing the plays and different things, I'm getting on that very well. I'm hearing good stuff about that," he said. "But there's some technical things I've been working on myself and talking to Coach Dooley. I've been getting better with that too."
Jones has been catching eyes for several months now, ever since he signed as an undrafted free agent out of Jacksonville University. Given his large stature and his college production – 60 catches, 890 yards and eight touchdowns in just 10 games – he's been a fan favorite since he started making grabs during OTAs and minicamp.
The unpadded practices of the spring have given way to the real deal, though, and Jones said it's been an adjustment getting used to both the speed and the physicality of an NFL practice.
"It is different – just the style of how corners play. One thing I'm getting used to is that I have to use my hands a lot more," he said. "In the past I haven't had to do that as much. I've done it, but not as much. You need to really have your hands involved, and I've been working on that."
The work is only just beginning, as the next month of practices – not to mention four preseason games – will help determine Jones' future with the Cowboys.