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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes, Day 1 Of Training Camp Practice: The Injury Bug Bites

Another year at Dallas Cowboys training camp leads to more bad news on the injury front. Here is the latest on that and other things of interest from the first day of practice.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Make sure to check out Rabble's detailed practice breakdown here.

Let's get the worst part out of the way. As already reported here by Dave Halprin, Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford was carted off the field with an injury. It is feared to be serious.

Crawford himself certainly believed it was just that.

Defensive end Tyrone Crawford carted off field | C Mendez Star-Telegram

He was participating in slalom drills against tackling dummies when he fell to the ground and yelled in pain. He held his left ankle and lay on his back, pounding the ground in anger. "Achilles!" he told the trainers. "I can't --- believe this!"

The defensive line was seen as a strong point by the team before the season, and Crawford was a big part of that. Now the team will have to decide what they will do to replace him. It looks like a good thing they have about $10 million in cap space to work with, in case they need to sign a free agent.

Cowboys Sign 3, Move Ratliff And Bernadeau To Active/PUP List | D. Helman

Prior to camp, Nate Livings, Ronald Leary, and L.P. Ladouceur were already known to be out. Now more have been added following the conditioning test.

What was not so expected was the movement of starting defensive tackle Jay Ratliff and starting guard Mackenzy Bernadeau to the active/physically unable to perform list.

Both players sustained injuries Saturday during conditioning tests, when they injured their hamstrings during the pre-camp exercises.

That now means the top three guards are out, which, to put it mildly, really sucks. Of them, the feeling is that Livings will be back the soonest.

Ratliff's injury at least does not look severe.

Cowboys officials not concerned about players who failed conditioning test | R. Sabin DMN

Last year, a lot was made of the Cowboys who failed the conditioning test, including Felix Jones. Jason Garrett seemed very unhappy about them.

But on Sunday, Garrett didn't appear as annoyed when he was asked to react to the news that center/guard Ryan Cook, tackle Demetress Bell, and receiver Lavasier Tuinei didn't pass.

That's because Cook and Bell were offensive linemen and Tuinei was a player who just joined the team Sunday.

Garrett Talks Injuries, Romo's Shape After First Walkthrough | R. Kavner

In addition to the injuries, there was a lot of discussion about Tony Romo's weight. He is listed at 236, which is up six pounds from his weight last year. This seemed to be seen as a major issue by many, despite him having to recover from the surgery to remove a back cyst that kept him idle for the offseason practices. Garrett did not seem as concerned as many of the reporters.

Garrett liked the way Romo stayed involved with the team during the spring, which he said can be difficult for a player when he's not playing.

"The first thing he needed to do was get himself in shape, and it's a hard thing to do when you come off a back injury because you've got to almost my definition be a little bit immobile," Garrett said.

Meanwhile, there was news not involving the health of the players, too.

QB wristbands will 'expedite' Cowboys' play-calling process | T. MacMahon ESPN Dallas

Romo and the rest of the Cowboys' quarterbacks are sporting wristbands with numbered plays on them during training camp. The plan is to use them throughout the season as a way to streamline the play-calling communication process.

"Just to create more speed in terms of tempo and in terms of trying to get the play in quicker and faster," offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, the new playcaller, said. "Just to alleviate [the need for] more communication. If we can streamline our communication to get the play in quicker and faster, he can get it and go."

Just to expand a bit, Callahan wants to call the plays from the press box, where he has a better view of the field, but is not allowed to communicate directly with the quarterback from there. This is a way to cut down the time in relaying the call through a coach (Wade Wilson) on the sidelines.

DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee control Cowboys' defensive destiny | S. Wyche

Although it still takes the "Garrett got the responsibility for playcalling stripped from him" line, the article does (rather begrudgingly, it seemed) point out that it is accomplishing something already.

We'll see when it's money time because not every dalliance from one's specialty translates into better production. Still, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones wanted Garrett to focus more on team management and each individual game, and so far in practice -- literally and figuratively -- it's working.

Oh, yeah, the author also noticed that Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware are pretty important to the defense. Good to hear about that.

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray: ‘This year is going to be a great year for me’ | J. Machota DMN

The Cowboys' number one running back is not at all worried about the move to drop the fullback position.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said on Friday that the Dallas Cowboys haven't seen the best out of DeMarco Murray.

On Sunday, Murray agreed with the NFL's reigning MVP.

"I think he's right on," Murray said after the Cowboys' first walk-through practice of training camp. "This year is going to be a great year for me, I feel. I've come prepared, physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm definitely ready. I'm excited about this year and what we're going to do."

Cowboys Corner: Cowboys rookie Travis Frederick says playing guard will make him a better center, so he's open to that | C. Mendez Star-Telegram

"As a center, you kind of have to know what everybody is doing," he said. "So that will help in that transition to guard. But the more reps you get in different places, I think that that helps you get a better grasp of what that person is doing and how much more you need to help somebody or how much less you need to help somebody and get a feel for that instead of just seeing it on paper."

With all the injury issues, it's a good thing. It might become a necessity.

Hanna, not Escobar, works as second TE | T. MacMahon ESPN Dallas

There has been a lot of discussion about whether James Hanna or Gavin Escobar was the leader to become the second tight end with the incomparable Jason Witten while the team is moving to more use of the 12 formation, and early in camp, that is Hanna. But things can always change.

"Oh, it's going to be competitive," head coach Jason Garrett said. "It's going to be competitive throughout our football team as to who makes our team and who plays and what their roles are. It's no different at the tight end position."

Cowboys Corner: Now healthy, DeMarcus Ware says he's getting ready for 'no-holds-barred' practicing in training camp | C. Mendea Star-Telegram

"I'm ready to go full go," the veteran defensive end said Sunday as the Cowboys got ready for their first practice of training camp. "Especially once you get the pads on. Once you put those on, it's no-holds-barred when you get in there."

Just stay healthy. Please.

Scout's Notebook: First Walkthrough Gives Look At Depth | B. Broaddus

In his post after the first part of practice (and before the Crawford injury, Broaddus has lots of discussion of some of the down-roster players like Kevin Kowalski, David Arkin, Joseph Randle, Ben Bass, and Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (which I may never learn to spell). Perhaps the most interesting was this about the safety position:

Matt Johnson and J.J. Wilcox worked with the twos which I thought was a nice combination. It was Wilcox that showed up plenty in the OTAs and minicamps, but this morning Johnson was around the ball and in position when several passes went to the outside to the tight ends and backs. He was in great shape to make the close on the ball. Another area of Johnson's game that I really liked was his communication with Orlando Scandrick. There were several plays where Callahan went to what the defense calls a "Nasty" split by the receiver tight to the formation, which Johnson and Scandrick were able to sort out with no problem.

It’s a wrap: Observations from Day 1 of Dallas Cowboys training camp practices in Oxnard: | B. George DMN

Just bullet points. Nice to see the word "interception" used more than once. But this was sobering.

The Cowboys' first-team offensive line for the morning walk-through was LT Tyron Smith, LG Kevin Kowalski, C Travis Frederick, RG David Arkin and RT Doug Free.

Finally, I hope this is accurate.

Let's hope that applies to several others, as well.


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