Sat. Practice Recap: Nagging Injuries, Added RB Depth At First Practice Since San Diego

OXNARD, Calif. – It was a hodge-podge group that got back to work Saturday when the Cowboys returned to practice.

Yes, the news of the day was that Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar returned to the field – and they did. But the running backs were limited in what they did, and they were held out of full-team work in favor of new signees Ben Malena and Michael Hill.

All across the roster, practice resembled the Cowboys' preseason game against San Diego, for the most part. Tyron Smith, Doug Free and Darrion Weems were limited with nagging injuries of various types, while Dez Bryant once against rested his tweaked hamstring.

James Hanna and Gus Johnson, who were both injured in the loss to the Chargers, also missed.

The defense was at least partially limited, as both Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick sat out of the afternoon session. Nick Hayden, Terrell McClain and Rolando McClain – all limited since before the trip to San Diego – sat out, as well.[embeddedad0]

It's not that any of this is concerning in the long-term. The vast majority of the Cowboys' injuries are of the precautionary variety, or would be classified as "day-to-day" by Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

There's one more practice before the St. Louis Rams arrive in California for two joint practices during the buildup to next Sunday's preseason game against San Francisco. It'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle those various ailments with the approaching schedule.

Quick Hits

  • J.J. Wilcox left practice toward the end of the afternoon when he was poked in the eye during drills. It remains to be seen how serious the problem is, but Wilcox didn't return to the field.
  • Weems was limited with a shoulder injury on Saturday afternoon, but he drew his fair share of conversation for his play against the Chargers. The fourth-year struggle went through some growing pains while working at left tackle – which Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said was understandable. "He has a lot of work to do," Jones said. "To be fair, he did move to left tackle for the game and he's been doing most of his work at right. That's a big deal to move, especially for game time, so I'm going to give him some slack there as far as how he played the other day. On the other hand, he'd be the first to tell you he's got a lot of work to do."
  • Jones did add that Weems should be fine.
  • Jones was also asked about Bryant, who has been missing for a week now since he tweaked his hamstring in seven-on-seven drills. Garrett said it will still be a few days before the receiver returns to practice, but the issue wasn't a concern for Jones. "I don't think in any way we're going to be behind or limited as to Dez's preparation," he said.
  • Malena and Hill signed with the team early on Saturday afternoon, and they received the bulk of the carries three hours later at practice. The front office did well to address the depth created by injuries, as the Cowboys had a whopping eight running backs padded up for practice.
  • Rolando McClain wouldn't be eligible to play against the Giants even if he was healthy, as he'll be serving a four-game suspension. To hear it from Jones, though, the veteran linebacker is working his way toward game shape. "I think if he could play, his health is at a situation that we could have him ready to play against the Giants," he said.

Notable Standouts

DeMarcus Lawrence – It's probably not fair to laud Lawrence, considering Tyron Smith, Doug Free and Darrion Weems were all missing for portions of practice. That said, the second-year defensive end was dominant going against the likes of John Wetzel and R.J. Dill. Lawrence continues to win matchups using both his speed and his power. [A placeholder graphic representing an embedded ad.]

Travis Frederick – The tackles might be banged up, but the interior of the offensive line continues to chug away. Frederick was solid in his one-on-one matchups, and he held the front of the pocket for Tony Romo – not to mention the extensive work the Cowboys did on their running game.

Deontay Greenberry – If you watched the preseason loss to San Diego, you no doubt saw the rookie drop two passes on the big stage. To his credit, Greenberry bounced back on Saturday with two nice catches in seven-on-seven drills. He beat Corey White for a nice gain on a crossing route, then he came back to beat Brandon Smith on a deep corner route.

Play of the Day

With new running backs needing to learn the flow of the offense, the Cowboys focused heavily on the run game during their full-team sessions. That's what made it so sweet when, after four or five runs in a row, Romo faked a handoff to Joe Randle and looked downfield on a play action pass. Tyler Patmon and J.J. Wilcox bit hard on the run fake, which left Devin Street all on his own on a post route downfield. Romo found him easily for roughly a 25-yard gain.

Injury Report:

Limited Practice:

RB Darren McFadden (hamstring)
RB Lance Dunbar (ankle)
OT Tyron Smith (biceps)
OT Darrion Weems (shoulder)
OT Doug Free (foot)

Left Practice:

S J.J. Wilcox (eye)

Missed Practice:

TE James Hanna (knee)

RB Gus Johnson (shoulder)

DT Nick Hayden (ribs)

WR Dez Bryant (ankle)

WR Antwan Goodley (hamstring)

CB Orlando Scandrick (knee)

CB Brandon Carr (hand)

DE Kenneth Boatright (neck)

DT Terrell McClain (bone bruise/hamstring)

OL Chaz Green (hip)

LB Mark Nzeocha (knee)

LB Rolando McClain (knee)

Upcoming Schedule

Sunday, August 16

                                                 No walk-thru

12:00 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett Press Conference

3:45 p.m. (PDT)                   Practice

Monday, August 17

10:30 a.m. (PDT)                 Walk-thru

12:00 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett Press Conference

3:45 p.m. (PDT)                   Practice

Tuesday, August 18

10:30 a.m. (PDT)                 Walk-thru

12:00 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett Press Conference

3:45 p.m. (PDT)                   Practice

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