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Sound Off: Jaylon Smith's Optimism; Switzer With First-Team, Rico & More

FRISCO, Texas –Not every player was on the field Tuesday, but the majority of the team's 90-man roster was at The Star for the second day of the OTA practice sessions.

This has been the first week the veterans and rookies have been together at once, providing somewhat of a glimpse of how this team might be put together in 2017.

After practice, the players were available to the media, giving their thoughts on practicing together, plus the overall optimism this offseason.

Here are various quotes from the locker room session on Tuesday:

LB Jaylon Smith on the team's plan to alternate his practice days during OTAs:

Smith: "It's a process. Taking things slow and just working my way into everything. But whenever I'm out there I'm participating in everything. I'm loving working with the guys, working with my teammates, feeling like a player and a part of America's Team. Everything I can do to contribute is a great feeling."

Rookie WR Ryan Switzer on running with the first-team offense with Cole Beasley sitting out:

Switzer: "(Cole Beasley) is down, obviously he's not out there, so I ran with the 1's today. Their offense is real friendly for the position I play. That's why 'Beas' led them in catches and yards last year. So I've got to be ready when my number is called, whenever that is. I've got to learn the system. I've got to be trustworthy. Dak [Prescott] has to believe that when he throws it to me, I'll catch it. I had a pretty good day today and it's something that I can build on moving forward."

Dak Prescott on getting some work with rookie WR Ryan Switzer:

Prescott: "I think he's going to be a good player. He's a guy that can definitely learn a lot from Beasley. They're definitely similar in their playing style. He's got something special to him. I'm excited for him to keep learning and keep getting better, just from watching Beasley and watching these other guys."

Rookie CB Chidobe Awuzie on the growing pains of learning the system:

Awuzie: "Obviously I'm a rookie, so there's a lot of stuff I have to learn. I'm going to make some mistakes. I made some today, some mental mistakes. But it's good that I'm making them now, and I'll be able to look at film and get better."

Zack Martin on playing alongside La'el Collins, who has been playing right tackle this spring:Martin:""It's great. It's a new experience – obviously I played next to Doug for the last three years. But hopefully I can do what Doug did for me and help him along the way – you know, he's playing a new position, kind of like I was coming in. As much as I can communicate with him, the better."

Rico Gathers on getting high praise from future Hall of Famer Jason Witten:

Gathers: "It means a lot. I've looked at him as my older brother. Even when I'm out there, like today they had me taking First-Team reps, I was looking at him for guidance because I want to do those reps just as good as him."

Gathers on his mindset changing when he learned Witten was being held out:

Gathers: "It does a lot. As long as I'm getting out there and doing what I've got to do, showing them how reliable I am, and everything that I do know, it's always a confidence builder. They really just threw it up on me, last minute, 'Hey, Witten's not practicing today, be ready to get more reps.' I was like, 'OK, cool."

Center Travis Frederick on filling the leadership void left by the retirement of Doug Free:

Frederick: "We have guys like Tyron [Smith] and Zack [Martin] who are going to split those responsibilities as well. Nobody has to shoulder all of that. Doug spent a lot of time focused on that and he spent a lot of time in the league preparing for that. He was in for 10 years to be able to help us with those situations. Now that he's gone, it's our job to kind of pass that knowledge on to the younger guys."

Frederick on the mix of veterans and younger players on the offensive line:

Frederick: "It's obviously a great opportunity for us, anytime that we get to go back to playing with someone that you played with before. That experience and the comfort with other people next to you is definitely helpful. However, we also have enough talent in some of the young guys who are coming up that they've worked their best to fit into the system and fit into the things that we've been doing. … It's great to have somebody who's played next to you for a long time, but it's also pretty easy to slide guys in because we have the right kind of guys who are trying to do it the same way as the older guys were doing it."

Views of the Dallas Cowboys during OTA day 2 practice at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

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