FRISCO, Texas –Dak Prescott continues to build on a strong second career training camp, but the Cowboys' starter wasn't the most-discussed quarterback on Tuesday.
Eyes centered on the backup quarterback situation, with undrafted rookie Cooper Rush splitting second-team reps with incumbent Kellen Moore.
Rush lined up with the second-teamers in the opening team period, and Luke McCown (returning from a shoulder injury) initially took the third-team reps while Moore watched. In the next set of team drills, Moore worked with the second-teamers.
Before practice, head coach Jason Garrett praised Rush's work in practice and in the three preseason games, where he's thrown four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Moore has thrown one touchdown pass and committed two turnovers in three games, including a lost fumble that the Colts returned for a touchdown last Saturday.
While it's too early to consider this some type of backup quarterback controversy, Rush's current promotion to part-time second-teamer is at least a sign that the rookie is under consideration for a roster spot.
-- Rob Phillips
Views of the Dallas Cowboys during training camp from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
- The main attraction on the day was football practice, but Joe Looney stole the show with an A+ impersonation. The veteran offensive lineman did his best Ezekiel Elliott impression by donning the running back's No. 21 jersey and rolling it up to expose his midsection. The obvious difference is that Joe Looney is 6-3, 320 pounds – almost a full 100 pounds heavier than Elliott.
- Returning from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for a large portion of camp, Cedric Thornton took some first-team reps at defensive tackle alongside Maliek Collins. Stephen Paea has been working with the starters but has dealt with a swollen knee earlier in camp that sidelined him in the second preseason game against the Rams.
- Third-year offensive lineman Chaz Green, a candidate at left guard and swing tackle, walked to the locker room with a team athletic trainer near the end of practice due to cramping and didn't return. Defensive end Charles Tapper also left practice with a neck strain.
- Tight end Rico Gathers continues to sit out of practice while in the concussion protocol and doesn't seem likely to play Saturday against the Raiders.
- Rookie Ryan Switzer (hamstring) only went through individual drills Tuesday, so Lance Lenoir primarily handled punt return duties. The Ford Center crowd did get a treat when Dez Bryant fielded a punt in drills. The Pro Bowl receiver has occasionally taken practice reps there throughout his career, sometimes just to keep his legs warmed up. Return duties are expected to be Switzer's once he's fully healthy.
DeMarcus Lawrence –Coming off January back surgery, Lawrence has gradually increased his workload in training camp, and the fourth-year defensive end seems to be getting better and better. He beat La'el Collins (one-on-one pass rush drill) and Chaz Green (Compete period) with a spin move, then got past All-Pro Tyron Smith (one-on-one) on the outside.
Dez Bryant –The All-Pro receiver is officially on a hot streak. To be fair, Bryant has been reliably good throughout this training camp, but he has raised his game to another level in the past two weeks or so. Starting in Oxnard, he began delivering highlight reel plays, and he continued that trend during his brief work against the Colts. On Tuesday, he consistently won all of his one-on-one matchups, including a fantastic diving touchdown catch. In full-team drills, he hauled in an impressive basket catch down the sideline, blowing past Sammy Seamster in the process.
Duke Thomas –With injuries hampering the cornerback spot, Thomas has certainly seized his opportunity. He continues to work outside, inside and at kick returner in an effort to wrangle a roster spot. In red zone drills, Brice Butler lined up out wide against Thomas, prompting Dez Bryant to signal for a touchdown from the sideline. Rather than give up a touchdown, though, Thomas matched Butler step-for-step and tipped the ball away at the last possible minute. The pass bounced harmlessly into the air and was intercepted by Kennan Gilchrist.
Play of the Day
Veteran quarterback Luke McCown had been sidelined by a shoulder injury since Aug. 12 preseason game against the Rams. Back in team drills on Tuesday, he delivered a perfect back-shoulder throw to receiver Lance Lenoir from the red zone, and Lenoir just got his feet in bounds for the touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
Unofficial Injury Report:
CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle, hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)
S Xavier Woods (hamstring)
FB Keith Smith (knee)
TE Rico Gathers (concussion)
CB Leon McFadden (hamstring)
DT Stephen Paea (knee)
OT Clay DeBord (undisclosed)
Returned To Practice:
QB Luke McCown (shoulder)
DT Cedric Thornton (hamstring)
OT Byron Bell (personal)
OL Chaz Green (cramping)
DE Charles Tapper (neck)
Wednesday, Aug. 23
3:30 p.m. (Central) – Practice