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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp News: Big Day For Cowboys Defense

Latest Cowboys headlines: Dez Bryant said Sunday's practice was the best the defense has had so far; Two defensive tackles suffer injuries; Rolando McClain back at practice.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Training Camp Report, Practice Number Thirteen: Awesome Orlando - Blogging The Boys
Rabblerousr provides his insights from camp, where a resurgent defensive unit that got a couple of players back enjoyed arguably its best day of camp thus far.

In another welcome continuation from Saturday, the defense once again played with tremendous physicality and, dare I say it, swagger. As I tweeted during practice, this team might not be good, but they'll play with an attitude and will hit people. As has often been the case in camp, the defense's emotional leader was Orlando Scandrick, who played Dez Bryant tough all day, and managed to get into his head during the final team period. After a series of plays in which Bryant kept coming after Scandrick at the whistle, the two warriors got into a brief shoving match - and receivers coach took Dez off the field, replacing him with Devin Street.

Sunday Practice Recap: Scandrick Leads Big Day For Defense - Rowan Kavner,
Wide receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Orlando Scandrick had a highly competitive and at times highly physical practice yesterday. At the end of practice, Bryant said this was the best practice the defense has had.

"I told the defensive backs as we were breaking down, ‘I’m mad we didn’t get the best of y’all today,’" Bryant said. "Now, we’ve got to take it over to Oakland. I was really praising them, letting them know, ‘Y’all got us today.’" "It got in our head," Bryant said.

"Like I told Scandrick yesterday, we’re talking back, it’s got to be a good sign you’re doing something to us. On the offensive side of the ball, we have a high standard. We want to be the best. That’s what it’s going to be. That’s the kind of mindset that we have. We go out there with that each and every day. Scandrick really got under our skin today."

Cowboys Camp Report: Day 18 - Todd Archer, ESPN
In his daily review from camp, Archer walks us through yesterday's highlights, which include this take on Rolando McClain.

Linebacker Rolando McClain returned to team drills for the first time in almost a week after battling through a bout of tendinitis. He made the play of the day on defense, tracking down Murray on a counter after sifting through the blocks. If he did not make the tackle, Murray would have had a long touchdown run. On the next play he sprinted to his right to tap up running back Lance Dunbar. While he might have been a fraction late, his reaction time was better than any other defender.

Day 18 observations from Dallas Cowboys training camp practice: WR Dez Bryant, CB Orlando Scandrick go at each other; Best day for D | Brandon George, DMN
If you want to know who "wasn't as sharp," "continues to struggle," or "messed up on his coverage," this is the report for you.

Dallas Cowboys DT Henry Melton injures groin in practice | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Henry Melton left practice Sunday after suffering a groin strain. Tyrone Crawford experienced tightness in his calf and didn’t finish practice.


After six defensive holding calls, Dallas Cowboys know they ‘can’t get lazy’ with their hands | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin points out that against the Chargers, the Cowboys were flagged six times for defensive holding (although only four were enforced). He does not point out that the total over 16 games last year was 16 holding penalties (12 of which were enforced). If the NFL keeps calling defensive holding the way it is doing currently, it will be snowing flags in the regular season at an unprecedented rate.

Ken Boatright looking for a chance - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Kenneth Boatright has had five practices with the Cowboys, but he might be working his way into the discussion as a candidate for the 53-man roster. He had a tackle for loss and quarterback hurry vs. the Chargers and even played some snaps on special teams - always a good sign for a bubble player.

There could be spots available. DeMarcus Lawrence is out for the first 3-6 regular-season games. Anthony Spencer could start the year on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury. Ben Gardner has been limited early in camp with a shoulder injury. George Selvie offers Boatright hope. He joined the Cowboys last year after the first week of camp because of injuries, started 16 games and had a career-high seven sacks.

Running to Win or Running after Win? - Bob Sturm
Sturm comes to the defense of the run in the modern NFL. After debunking the notion that running the ball 20 times a game is some kind of magical number or formula for victory ("We used to joke that we might as well just take a knee 20 times and presto!"), he proceeds to describe at length why running the ball is still important, and then summarizes it succinctly for the tl;dr crowd:

It is about making a defense defend everything. About making indecision their biggest enemy. That's all.

By sitting, Dallas Cowboys Lance Dunbar's value shows through - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer writes that you can measure Dunbar's value by the value of other players who were also healthy scratches in Thursday's game, like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Orlando Scandrick.

"Certainly we have a good feel for what he can do," coach Jason Garrett said. "We just want to be selective with certain guys in preseason. DeMarco Murray did not play in the game. We felt the same way about Dunbar. As the preseason goes along, both those guys will get plenty of work. But he’s a very good football player. He shows us that whenever he gets a chance in practice here in training camp, as he has when he has had game opportunities in the past."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Tony Romo: "He just looked like himself more to me." | David Moore, DMN
Garrett provides some perspective on Romo:

"He looked like himself,’’ head coach Jason Garrett said. "Having the time off prior to the (San Diego) game and after the game I think was good for him.

"Our thing all along with him has been monitor the work, communicate, get great feedback and then make our next best decision. I think we’ve done that up to this point.’’

Scout’s Eye: Studying Romo’s Stellar Saturday - Bryan Broaddus,
After reviewing film from Saturday's practice, Broaddus agrees with many of the post-practice headlines and writes that "it’s clear that Saturday’s practice was by far [Romo's] best day throwing the ball during training camp."

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