Tues. Practice Recap: Dak's Opportunity, Zeke's Hamstring; More Notes

OXNARD, Calif. – What started out as a routine moment became something much more poignant as the Cowboys wrapped up their second padded practice on Tuesday.

Minutes after Kellen Moore left practice with a broken ankle, Dak Prescott paused for a quick game of catch with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. It's something that players and coaches do hundreds of times over the course of training camp.

But it appeared far more meaningful when considering that Prescott is now – for the time being, at least – the No. 2 quarterback on the Cowboys' roster.

"Me and Coach Garrett just always consistently talk about things I can get better at my game on," Prescott said. "That was something we were talking about right there at the end."

It remains to be seen how much time Moore will miss, or how the Cowboys will address the quarterback position while he's injured – if at all. On Tuesday evening, though, Prescott got a taste of life as Tony Romo's backup, and he handled the spotlight gracefully.

"I've just got to come in each and every day and get better – that's all I'm worried about," he said. "My main focus is just to come in and make sure these guys hold me accountable. I'll hold them accountable, and I'll just be my best each and every practice."

It'll be a long road for the rookie signal-caller during the next month, as he seeks to transition from a spread offense in college to an NFL scheme. But however inexperienced he might be, one thing Prescott doesn't lack is confidence.

In just the three months since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott said he's got a good grasp on the Cowboys' playbook, and he didn't shy away from what his expectations are moving forward.

"Eventually I want to be the starter," he said. "That's my mindset – to come in each and every day and get myself right to the level as close as I can to Romo and learn from him. That's my mindset."

It's too early to say how long Prescott will be the Cowboys' No. 2 quarterback, but it's not a role he's shying away from.

Quick Hits

First-round pick Ezekiel Elliott took first-team reps at running back again but appeared to have his hamstring stretched out at one point during practice and did not participate near the end of team drills. The Cowboys don't practice again until Thursday, which gives the rookie a chance to rest.

  • It took a back seat to the news about Kellen Moore, but the Dallas defense also suffered an injury scare at practice. Kyle Wilber left the field during full-team reps with an apparent back injury. He was evaluated in the Cowboys' medical tent before leaving practice for the afternoon. The severity of the injury is currently unclear.
  • The Cowboys' defensive line had an unenviable task facing them on Tuesday, given the number of absences along their front. Tyrone Crawford and Terrell McClain both sat out of practice, leaving the defense with a limited pool of linemen. Despite that, the backups and third-teamers put out an admirable effort, as they repeatedly won their battles and created penetration in the backfield. The Cowboys' running game didn't seem nearly as effective in its second outing as opposed to its first.
  • The coaching staff allowed Dez Bryant to try his turn at fielding punts during the special teams portion of practice. This isn't exactly unusual – it's a somewhat common sight during Cowboys practices. It's unlikely Bryant will ever be the team's full-time return man, but it makes sense to give No. 88 some practice in the event of a late-game or desperation scenario.
  • To be perfectly frank, Tuesday's outing featured plenty of sloppiness to it. The offensive line seemed out of sync, drawing several flags during full-team reps, while receivers like Lucky Whitehead and Rodney Smith had untimely drops. During the 1-on-1 compete portion of practice, two of the three matchups featured penalties. Byron Jones was called for defensive holding on Geoff Swaim. Andrew Gachkar drew the same penalty while trying to cover Alfred Morris.
  • Prior to Moore's injury, Barry Church provided the scariest moment of the day when he collided with Brandon Carr in coverage on a deep pass. Carr was working against Dez Bryant, who went deep on a pass from Tony Romo. Church rolled over from his safety spot and attempted to high-point the ball, but he wound up taking down Carr in the process. Both players eventually walked off after a tense few moments.

Notable StandoutsSean Lee –The Pro Bowl linebacker seems determined to send a message to the Cowboys' running backs: he is going to bring it on every single snap. As usual, Lee was flying around the field at every opportunity, laying shoulders on ball carriers and just being generally disruptive. These aren't games, so defenders aren't supposed to hit as hard – but Lee is doing his absolute best to make his presence felt.

Travis Frederick –Look no further than the 1-on-1 period for the offensive and defensive lines. On several occasions, Frederick drew the task of blocking Cedric Thornton – and he absolutely stonewalled the veteran defensive tackle. Frederick has been an absolute rock through two days of practice.

DeMarcus Lawrence – Anytime you get the best of Tyron Smith in a one-on-one drill, you make this list. The second-year defensive end used a terrific spin move to get around the three-time All-Pro tackle, and on the second rep he made a quick move outside before losing his balance. Smith stopped him on the third rep.

Play Of The Day

You might call this play "after the whistle," but it was a nice display of competitiveness – and the defense's daily emphasis on improving its takeaway total. Safety Byron Jones scooped up a Dez Bryant incompletion (in the event of a called fumble) and ran toward the end zone. Receiver Terrance Williams chased Jones down the sideline, and after Jones lost the ball, they scrambled for it on the ground for a good 10 seconds. The crowd erupted, appreciating the hustle from both players.

Unofficial Injury Report

Missed Practice:

DT Maliek Collins (foot; Active/PUP)
DE Benson Mayowa (knee; Active/PUP)
RB Darren McFadden (elbow; Active/NFI)
RB Lance Dunbar (knee; Active/PUP)
LB Jaylon Smith (knee; Active/NFI)
LB Damien Wilson (eye; Active/NFI)
TE James Hanna (knee; Active/PUP)
DT Tyrone Crawford (back)
DT Terrell McClain (toe)

Left Practice:
QB Kellen Moore (fibula)
LB Kyle Wilber (back)


Aug. 2 –The Dallas Cowboys signed LB James Morris (Iowa) on Tuesday. He will wear jersey No. 40.

Upcoming Schedule

Wednesday, Aug. 3

No availability                  Player's day off

Thursday, Aug. 4

12:15 p.m. (PDT)                Coach Garrett press conference
3:45 p.m. (PDT) Practice

Friday, August 5
12:15 p.m. (PDT) Coach Garrett press conference
3:45 p.m. (PDT) Practice

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.