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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Dez Bryant In Practice Fight; Rookies Getting Noticed

Latest Cowboys headlines: Dez Bryant, Tyler Patmon brawl on field, then hug it out; Byron Jones is a "Wallet Ninja multi-purpose tool"; Sean Lee, Rolando McClain are more alike than they seem.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

VIDEO: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant throws several punches at CB Tyler Patmon in training camp fight | Brandon George, Dallas Morning News
Bryant and Patmon got into a fight, and Jason Witten had perhaps the best take on the whole thing.

"You guys are acting like a bunch of kids at a circus trying to get him," tight end Jason Witten said. "I mean, it’s football. It’s going to happen in training camp. Guys compete. Guys go at it. It’s part of it."

Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant, Tyler Patmon fight didn’t surprise me; ‘That’s good stuff’ | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News
Jones said late Sunday night that he couldn’t have scripted something better than what happened between Bryant and Patmon.

"That’s good stuff. That’s training camp. Now that’s not new. That’s been happening at our training camps for years and years and years. It is a throwback to the years when you saw Michael Irvin out here, Deion [Sanders] and those guys."

FIGHT! Dez Bryant, Tyler Patmon brawl on field, then hug it out | Drew Davison, The Star Telegram
Bryant threw a left hook at Patmon after a heated exchange that lasted a while, but both said afterward all’s good now.

"Oh man, just two great competitors going at it," said Bryant, who left the field initially without comment before coming back on his own to talk about the incident.

"We were chirping a little bit back and forth early in practice. At the end of the day, that’s what you want. I got a little overheated. But at the end of the day, that’s something you really need on a team to try to win ball games."

"He wasn’t going to back down; I wasn’t going to back down," Bryant said. "At the end of the day, you’ve seen us. We shook hands; we hugged; we respect one another.

"You have to like it. You don’t want somebody weak on your team. That’s why Patmon is here. Patmon was undrafted, and you know he is fighting his way, and he is fighting for respect, and he’s got mine. You can go to war with a guy like that any day of the week."


With the Dez/Patmon fight out of the way, here's a sampling of camp reports, and I've chosen to highlight what each report has to say about the 2015 rookies.

Cowboys 2015 Training Camp Practice Summary: A Quiz On Chapter One - Rabblerousr, Blogging The Boys
Rabblerousr offers his take on yesterday's practice, and shares this observation on Byron Jones:

On Sunday, we saw continued use of the dime package I mentioned yesterday wherein Corey White essentially played linebacker, in such a way that he was capable of participating in interior blitzes or other line games and also of dropping into coverage. Today, we again saw White deploy in this manner, but with the second team. The first team dime linebacker was first rounder Byron Jones. It's early, but it appears that the team will use Jones and White as the back seven's version of the Wallet Ninja multi-purpose tool. They share a similar build, and both seem capable of lining up at linebacker, safety or corner.

Byron Jones Everywhere - #CowboysCamp Day 4 - Rafael Vela, CowboysNation
Vela also has an interesting perspective on Byron Jones and his potential role with the Cowboys.

Today, the coaching staff offered a strong hint of the role they see for Jones in 2015, and it’s probably bigger than even the most creative fan considered. In the practice’s first 15 minutes, when the offense and defense move through the day’s script of planned offensive and defensive plays, Jones lined up next to Sean Lee in the nickel as a "linebacker."

I put the role in quotes because Jones was more of a big safety, the third in a 4-1-6 that featured three cornerbacks and three safeties. Jones played man-to-man in every play, shadowing Jason Witten whereever he went. This tipped that Jones might indeed play the coverage role that’s become necessary against modern flex tight ends like Jimmy Graham. Jones is big enough to ride the faster tight ends and fast enough to keep them in his back pocket.

Sunday Practice Recap: Dez, Patmon Scuffle Steals The Show | Dallas Cowboys
Other things happened at camp beside the Bryant/Patmon fight. Here are two of them:

La’el Collins – Signed as a combo tackle/guard after the draft, the rookie looked comfortable at guard in one-one drills. He showed good power and technique in warding off rushes from second-team defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

Randy Gregory – The rookie defensive end has, understandably, had a tough time getting past All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith throughout the offseason. In one-on-one drills, though, Gregory used a quick first step and inside move on Smith, drawing praise from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and defensive tackles coach Leon Lett.

Camp observations: Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer also writes about the fight, but also has other things to offer specifically about some of the 2015 rookies:

First-round pick Byron Jones had an interesting day. On three straight plays he lined at three different spots. He lined up over the tight end in the dime defense with the first team, took a free-safety snap with the second team and moved out to corner for the third snap. That's some versatility.

Rookie wide receiver Lucky Whitehead knows he has to do a little of everything to make the team. In special team drills he went right from returning a punt to serving as the gunner, sprinting at least 50 yards on both occasions. He looked to catch his breath quickly before a coach told him he didn't have any time for that.


Why Cowboys linebackers Sean Lee, Rolando McClain are more alike than they seem | Rainer Sabin, Dallas Morning News
sabin writes that Lee and McClain are generating a buzz louder than the murmurs surrounding their teammates.

"They’re both really good football players," he said. "They have different strengths. But I think the one thing they definitely have in common is that football instinct and that awareness of the game and that ability to play fast because they’re so instinctive."

Cowboys DE Jeremy Mincey gets $500,000 added to contract but no extension | David Moore, Dallas Morning News
Mincey came up 11 snaps short of earning a $500,000 escalator clause for his performance last season, and adding that amount to his contract for this season feels like the right thing to do. The extra money brings his base pay for 2015 to $2 million, but Mincey did not get the extension he was looking for, and Stephen Jones said that "probably won’t address that until after the season."

Cowboys’ Randle putting play where his mouth has been | Charean Williams, The Star Telegram
When asked how many yards he'll have this season, Randle "politely walked away," Williams writes.

"He’s learning to keep his mouth shut and go in there and play," tight end Jason Witten said. "He’s on it."

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