Tues. Practice Recap: Cowboys Make TE Changes; Mincey Solid in Return

OXNARD, Calif. – On a day highlighted by the announcement of Darren Woodson heading to the Ring of Honor, the Cowboys had another spirited day of practice – this time without any scuffles.

Earlier in the day, the Cowboys worked out rookie tight end Brandon Barden after the morning walk-through, before signing him to the active roster.

To make room, the Cowboys waived undrafted rookie Ray Hamilton, who signed with the team following the draft.

Barden has an uphill climb to make the team, considering the Cowboys typically keep three tight ends and Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna all return in 2015. The Cowboys also drafted Geoff Swaim in the seventh-round out of Texas and he has proven to be a solid pass-catcher.
Barden was an undrafted out of Vanderbilt in 2012 but spent three combined years with the Titans, Jaguars and Chiefs.

Quick Hits:

  • Jeremy Mincey practiced in pads for the first time this camp, working his way into the team drills with the second-team. The Cowboys also eased him into the 1-on-1 drills vs. the offensive line and Mincey looked quick off the ball, winning both of his reps, getting one each at left defensive end and defensive tackle. 
  • Mincey isn't the only player moving around at different positions as the coaching staff tries to evaluate the best spots for different players. On offense, Mackenzie Bernadeau got plenty of reps at both guard and center, while backups such as John Wetzel and R.J. Dill got work at both guard and tackle. On defense, Greg Hardy worked at end and tackle, as did Ben Gardner. 
  • In the team drills, rookie Randy Gregory took a healthy amount of first-team reps at right defensive end, a spot normally taken by Greg Hardy, who also got plenty of reps inside in the 3-technique. Again, this is the time in camp where the coaches mix and match combinations.
  • With ESPN cameras covering the afternoon practice live, there were plenty of familiar faces, roaming the sidelines, aside from Darren Woodson, who is an analyst. Former NFL head coaches Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci and John Robinson were also among the guests.

Notable Standouts:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence –Rushing from the left side in the 1-on-1 drills, the second-year rusher had a nice day of practice against Doug Free. Lawrence used a variety of moves, both with a spin, and sometimes with power. But getting past Free in this particular drill was a regular occurrence on Tuesday.
  • Cole Beasley –No matter the drill, Beasley is usually a tough cover for the defensive backs and Tuesday was no exception. In the 1-on-1 drills, he won every battle, including once against Orlando Scadnrick. In the 2-minute offense, he caught two passes for first downs on a dominant drive that ended with a touchdown.
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau –The versatile veteran held his own several times against stiff competition such as Greg Hardy and Tyrone Crawford. He also took some random first-team center reps as the Cowboys gave starter Travis Frederick a break.

Play of the Day:

Hours after having a good enough workout to get signed by the club, tight end Brandon Barden had a couple of nice grabs in the 1-on-1 drills. Barden made a juggling catch after outjumping safety Jeff Heath on an out-route pass from Dustin Vaughan. While he might be behind the rest of the group, he showed off some hands on the first day. 

Transactions:

Aug. 4 – Signed TE Brandon Barden.

Aug. 4 – Released TE Ray Hamilton.

Aug. 3 – Signed LB Ka'Lial Glaud, LB Jonathan Brown

Aug. 3 – Placed LB Justin Anderson (ankle) and G Reshod Fortenberry (knee) on Waived/Injured.

Aug. 2 – Activated DE Jeremy Mincey from Reserve/Did Not Report list.
               Waived/Injured LB Justin Jackson.

Aug. 1 – Signed LB Will Smith.

Injury Report:

Returned to Practice:

G Ronald Patrick (hand)

DE Jeremy Mincey (contract holdout)

Left Practice:

LB Will Smith

Missed Practice:

RB Darren McFadden (hamstring)

OL Chaz Green (hip)

LB Mark Nzeocha (knee)

LB Rolando McClain (knee)

Upcoming Schedule:

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett press conference

3:45 p.m. (PDT)                   Practice

Thursday, August 6

12:00 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett press conference

3:45 p.m. (PDT)                   Practice

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