Unlike the first three practices in Oxnard, which were conducted in the afternoon, Thursday's fourth practice was a morning practice. The CBA only allows four consecutive days of practice and the idea behind the Cowboys' morning practice on the fourth day is to allow the players a little more time to regenerate before the next practice, which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
On to our five observations from Thursday's practice:
At the end of practice on Thursday, Jason Garrett addressed the different fights that had broken out during the day, and it didn't sound like he was particularly concerned.
“You like that. You’d rather have to dial it back than constantly have to light a fire under your guys.”
But the chippy attitude between the OL and DL didn't just suddenly break out towards the end of practice. I noticed early on in the in OL/DL drills that the OL was playing not just through the whistle, but way beyond it. At some point, the D-line must have decided to push back.
Chidobe Awuzie has been taking snaps mostly with the second team in camp so far, but that hasn't stopped him from establishing a mini-streak of sorts with interceptions in two consecutive practices.
In Wednesday's compete period, Awuzie tipped a Dak Prescott pass targeted at Brice Butler and caught the ball while going to the ground.
On Thursday, he intercepted a Kellen Moore pass during team drills, even if the play was blown dead due to a defensive offsides.
Can he keep the streak going for three practices in a row? And even his mini-streak might not be safe:
Anthony Brown and Mark Nzeocha (yes, the German has more interceptions than all other LBs combined!) each had an interception today as well and will be looking to establish a mini-streak of their own on Saturday.
Lewis joined the team for the first time on Thursday, and while he didn't play during team drills, he did take part in position drills for defensive backs. I wasn't able to tell too much from those drills, even if they were happening right in front of me. He looked as athletic as the next guy, but he looked smoother in his transitions and it seemed that he was able to flip his hips a little faster than some of the other DBs - but that may just have been wishful thinking on my part.
He's expected to join team drills on Saturday, so see how he performs in team drills soon enough.
Is Rod Smith the No. 3 running back?
Todd Archer suggested yesterday that Rod Smith might be ahead of Alfred Morris on the depth chart.
And just to add this: Rod Smith is #3 tailback right now over Alfred Morris. That goes back to minicamp— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 27, 2017
I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I did try to keep an eye on Rod Smith today, and he did have some nice runs in the team sessions. He also has the advantage of playing special teams (which Morris does not), so having him ranked above Morris may not be that big a stretch. At the same time, Morris had a very good day on Wednesday with the second team while Darren McFadden was taking a veteran day.
A Rod Smith/Alfred Morris roster battle was not something I anticipated going into camp, so this will bear watching.
Who will run the jet sweep?
Despite Lucky Whitehead's departure, the jet sweep is alive and well in Dallas. The Cowboys ran the jet sweep once on Wednesday with Ryan Switzer (4.51 forty) and once on Thursday with Terrance Williams (4.52 forty). Perhaps they'll try Brice Butler (4.36 forty) next?
In any case, the jet sweep will likely be much more effective if multiple players can run it.