IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys have now returned to Valley Ranch, the practice schedule is starting to get into regular-season form as well.
While the Cowboys are expected to play their starters most of the first half in Saturday's "dress rehearsal" game against the Bengals, head coach Jason Garrett said the team continues to get prepared for the routine his players will have when the season begins.
"As training camp progress, it's about getting them more reps," Garrett said. "But not drastic (changes). We won't game plan a lot for this game. We'll take the same preseason mentality – develop the team and get ready for the regular season. This will be the game (the starters) play the most."
Other than the first 20-25 minutes, practices are now closed to the media.
"We do a lot of good stuff when you guys aren't around," Garrett joked.
Whether the Cowboys have four preseason games, or five like they do this year, The second-to-last preseason game is typically the final tune-up game for the starters. Next week against Houston, it's likely none of the starters will play, unless they're coming back from injury and need to knock off some rust in the final game.
The focus all along is to get players ready to return for the Sept. 8 game against the Giants.
Here are some other topics Garrett addressed in Tuesday's press conference:
- Rookie linebacker Brandon Magee indeed suffered a concussion in Monday's practice. It's likely he will miss Saturday's game. "He's been doing well. He's a good player," Garrett said of Magee. "What we've seen in college, we're seeing it here. He's not the fastest player but he does have a nose for the ball."
- Garrett said Sean Lissemore (groin) wore pads in practice but it sounded like he was limited in participation in Tuesday's practice. Lissemore is expected to work his way into team drills over the next days.
- Cornerback Morris Claiborne is not expected to practice much this week, if at all. The second-year pro is battling a knee injury that required an MRI, which showed no structural damage. [embedded_ad]
- Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox, whose mother passed away last week, is expected to return to Dallas from Georgia on Wednesday and should be able to practice Thursday. Garrett said he has not spoken to Wilcox this week but has traded a few text messages.
- When asked how much he needs to see from Matt Johnson (knee) to evaluate him for roster consideration, Garrett said, "you'd like to see him practice every day and play all the games, but that's not where he is. We have to make best evaluations of him with opportunities we have to see them. He's played well in practice and in some games. We'll re-evaluate his injury and see where he is."