OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys have just one more practice and a couple of light walk-throughs here in California before returning to Frisco. But according to Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, they'll be back here in Oxnard for at least a couple of more years.
The team has a contract with city through 2019, but Jones said the stay might not be for a full four weeks like it was this year.
The Cowboys will practice for a week at The Star in Frisco when they return to Texas this year, prompting the question to Jones if the club will be doing more of that in the future.
"Right now we still look at it that we'll be here for a couple of weeks each year out here," Jones said. "As long as we keep having a good experience and the people of Oxnard have been great. It seems like we're having productive camps out here so I don't see that changing. It'll be probably more time at Frisco and The Star next year."
The Cowboys practice six times at The Star beginning next Monday at Ford Center. Free tickets were scooped up quickly last month as the Cowboys are expected a full capacity of 12,000 fans at all of the practices.
"Some of our fans don't get the opportunity to see the Cowboys at AT&T (Stadium)," Jones said. "But they're going to have an opportunity to come out to The Star and see what our team is all about this year."
- There is a sizable contingent of Cowboys players who are working their way back to practice – but aren't quite healthy enough to participate. Ryan Switzer, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods are all dealing with hamstring injuries and aren't quite full-go. All four rookies attended practice and went through conditioning, but they were held out of the competitive portion of the day.
- Marquez White has missed the past few practices with a hamstring injury of his own, but he was back in the mix for Wednesday's work. The rookie cornerback had an interception during the 7-on-7 period.
- Wednesday was also the typical veterans' day for the Cowboys. Tyron Smith, Jason Witten, Darren McFadden, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee were all held out of practice – which has been the Cowboys' game plan to keep their veterans fresh for the season.
- He might not qualify as a veteran, but Jaylon Smith also rested on Wednesday. The Cowboys anticipate Smith will make his NFL debut in Saturday night's preseason game against Indianapolis.
- Given the success of Tuesday's extended Compete Period, it wasn't a surprise to see the coaching staff call for more on Wednesday. There were nine Compete reps total, with the offense winning the majority of those. The grand finale featured Ezekiel Elliott going against Damien Wilson twice. Wilson forced Elliott out of bounds on an end zone reception in the first meeting, but Elliott rebounded to juke Wilson for a touchdown on the second effort.
- With Switzer still sidelined by his hamstring injury, Lance Lenoir continues to get work as the Cowboys' punt returner during practice. The team released Javontee Herdnon earlier this week, so it'll be interesting to see if anyone else helps Lenoir with those duties on Saturday night.
- Anthony Hitchens had a scary moment when he was rolled up in a pile at the line of scrimmage during full-team drills. Hitchens was briefly tended to on the sideline, but he eventually returned to practice.
Notable StandoutsEzekiel Elliott –Everyone knows he's dynamic as a runner, but Elliott has shown solid glimpses of his abilities as a receiver in these past two practices. As mentioned above, Elliott featured prominently in the Compete Period toward the tail end of practice – and he looked good doing so. He made a nice cut to beat Damien Wilson to the end zone on the first of the pair's matchup. On the second go-round, he beat Wilson immediately off the line and made an open-field catch. Wilson caught up to him at the goal line to go for the stop – only for Elliott to shake him again and walk into the end zone.
Stephen Paea –Paea had missed the past few practices with some swelling in his knee – but he certainly didn't look rusty on Wednesday. He has had one of the best training camps of anyone on the roster, and he continued that, as he was continually disruptive throughout the practice. At different points, Paea beat Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Jonathan Cooper.
DeMarcus Lawrence –The coaching staff has been experimenting with playing Lawrence on the left side of the line, and it looks like a pretty solid decision so far. He got the better of La'el Collins repeatedly during one-on-one pass rush drills, and he carried that over into the full-team periods of practice.
Play of the Day
Perhaps we should call today's entry "plays of the day" – both by Terrance Williams. First, working inside in team drills, Dak Prescott found Williams in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Then, on the final play of practice, Williams got the two-point conversion try by sprinting to the opposite corner, leaping over cornerback Leon McFadden to grab the ball and landing with his back to the sideline, just getting both feet in bounds. Terrific route, catch and awareness.
Unofficial Injury Report:
WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring)
CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle, hamstring)
QB Luke McCown (shoulder)
DT Cedric Thornton (hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)
CB Anthony Brown (hamstring)
S Xavier Woods (hamstring)
DE David Irving (ankle)
OG Joe Looney (toe)
LB Sean Lee (hamstring)
TE Rico Gathers (concussion)
LB Jaylon Smith (rest)
RB Darren McFadden (rest)
OT Tyron Smith (rest)
TE Jason Witten (rest)
WR Dez Bryant (rest)
CB Orlando Scandrick (rest)
Returned To Practice:
CB Marquez White (hamstring)
Thursday, Aug. 17
10:45 a.m. (PDT) – Practice