OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys are now well underway in training camp here at the Oxnard River Ridge complex. The club wrapped up another light walk-through practice Tuesday, followed by a regular press conference from Jason Garrett.
Here are some highlights from the morning and early afternoon occurrences on Tuesday:
- Defensive end Anthony Spencer will undergo surgery on his knee "at some point before the end of the week," according to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. Spencer has been held out of practice since undergoing his conditioning test during the weekend.
- Garrett said he didn't want to speculate much about Spencer's injury, but he said it's early enough in the preseason that the Cowboys felt it was better to get it cleaned up sooner rather than later.
- "We understand what the date is on the calendar, and we just want to make sure we're smart with these players – certainly the players who have been around," Garrett added. "We're counting on him, he's certainly one of those guys. We don't think it's a severe thing, we just wanted to get it cleaned up."
- Garrett said "Two to four weeks is what I've been told on it" when asked about Spencer's recovery timetable. If that holds true, it could bring the defensive end back to the playing field as early as the week after the preseason game against Miami or as late as the week leading up to the Cincinnati preseason game in Cowboys Stadium.
- As has been the mantra to this point in training camp, Garrett said Spencer's injury provides opportunity for younger players and that the coaching staff will take this chance to evaluate the defensive line depth.
- Center/guard Ryan Cook passed his conditioning test and will practice with the team Tuesday.
- Wide receiver Danny Coale has missed the past few practices with swelling in his knee – a side effect of his ACL injury last year. Coale said he's day-to-day but doesn't have a definitive timetable for a return to action.
- Tuesday marks the first day the Cowboys will put on full padding for their afternoon practice. With the pads going on, several members of the team addressed the issue of new contact rules that will keep running backs from lowering their helmets.
- Garrett said the coaches will talk to the running backs about making sure to stay low, but to try to lead with the shoulder rather than the helmet. "It will be curious to see how those penalties are officiated, though," he added.
- Lance Dunbar said after morning walkthrough that he doubts the rule changes will affect him, as his style isn't overly physical. He said it's something all running backs will be mindful of, though.
- Garrett said 2012 was the most impressive season from Jason Witten during his time in Dallas. Witten bounced back from a lacerated spleen, which hampered him early in the season, to have the most productive year of his career. [embedded_ad]
- Tight end James Hanna spoke to the media for the first time since he strained his hamstring Sunday. Hanna said he expects a quick return to the field, but he also has no definitive timetable.
- Gavin Escobar is working primarily with the first team in multi-tight end sets while Hanna is sidelined. Garrett said the rookie having Jason Witten as an example to follow will be something he looks back on as a blessing later in his career.