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Cowboys news: Cowboys training camp practice dates in Oxnard announced

The Cowboys now have an official schedule for their camp practices out in Oxnard this summer.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Officially Announce 2018 Training Camp Practice Schedule - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
The dates are set for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp out in Oxnard, California.

The Cowboys will depart for Oxnard, Calif. on July 24 with the first practice occurring on July 26 along with an official opening ceremony on July 28.

From there, the Cowboys will spend more than three weeks on the West Coast, mostly in Oxnard but will break shortly for the preseason opener in San Francisco on Aug. 9.

The Cowboys are expected to break camp on Aug. 17 and return to Dallas for the first of two straight preseason games at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys will finish up the preseason on Aug. 30 in Houston.

Three potential breakout candidates for the Cowboys offense in 2018 - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
Who will break out for the Cowboys offense?

Austin, 27, has 1,689 receiving yards and 1,238 rushing yards throughout his career to go along with 21 touchdowns to his name. We’ve covered the dynamic wide receiver/running a lot here at BTB since the trade — it’s easy to see that the Cowboys are hoping Austin will give this team an edge and a more of a creative scheme.

The eighth overall selection of the 2013 NFL Draft has the opportunity to give Dallas not only a threat in the slot, but also a change-of-pace back whenever Zeke needs a breather. Or when Scott Linehan wants to add a wrinkle. Austin’s electrifying speed makes him a threat to score at any given moment, and Dak Prescott will love finding him on third down situations.

Cooper Rush finishes strong after slow start to OTA - Todd Archer- ESPN
Rush started out this OTA period struggling but he was able to finish quite strong to show he deserves to remain the backup for now.

Since he held the spot for most of last season, Cooper Rush has the inside track for the job with fifth-round pick Mike White hoping to make an impression over the summer to at least earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

For most of Wednesday’s organized team activity that was open to the media, Rush looked off. His passes floated in the wind. He wasn’t accurate. It looked like he was guiding the ball instead of letting it rip.

But in the final compete period of practice with the No. 2 offense against the No. 2 defense, Rush looked like he did last preseason when he won the backup job. He was decisive. He was accurate and he moved the Cowboys down the field. He completed six of seven passes, including what would have been a touchdown throw to tight end Blake Jarwin.

Cowboys' Dak Prescott is focusing on his footwork and drops - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dak Prescott has been focused on two things as he tries to improve versus last year.

“I mean, kind of the footwork. Footwork in the pocket. The subtle movement,” Prescott said when asked what he is working on during OTAs. “Being an athlete I guess when I take a move sometimes it’s bigger than I necessarily need to. You watch guys that have been in this league awhile, (New England Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady is the best example. Sometimes he barely moves, and the defensive end or somebody flies by him. Being the athlete I am sometimes it’s just toning that down and not necessarily moving a full yard, or it’s just barely scooting up here and there but keeping my feet in the same position. Footwork is definitely something I’m trying to get better at.”

To play for Kris Richard, Cowboys DBs must start patient — and then master this particular technique - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Kris Richard has been working with the young defenders to master a technique he believes is the only way to play great on defense.

The step-kick technique, also referred to as kick-step or read-step, is a core value in the defensive approach Kris Richard is working to install in Dallas.

“It’s the cornerstone of our defense,” said second-year cornerback Jourdan Lewis. “That’s all we do, really. When you get to it, when you perfect something, it just makes the game so much easier when you have that technique to fall on and you just master it every single day.”

The step-kick is used in press coverage. The defenders line up across from receivers at the line of scrimmage. Essentially, they take a small step, usually with the outside foot toward the sideline, when the ball is snapped. But then they wait for the receiver, whatever jukes and jives he’s performing at the line, to make a vertical move into their strike zone.

They use their hands to jam receivers and disrupt the timing. Only when the receiver moves toward his intended direction do the defenders open up and run with them, staying on top of them.

Running The Numbers On The Cowboys' Remarkably Young Roster - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are a surprisingly young group, even their veterans are young, which is incredible to think about.

In fact, only 18 of the 90 players on this team are even 27 or older – meaning the vast majority of this year’s Cowboys are in the beginning phases of their careers.

“We have 87 guys who are in their 20s and a lot of those guys in the 20s are 22, 23, 24,” Garrett said.

Cowboys are apparently working Cole Beasley on the outside during OTAs - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
We think of Beasley as a slot guy, but could more be in store for him in 2018?

There’s other things we need to discuss regarding Cole, though. Beasley has done a lot this season, including dropping an album and shaving his head, but he might be doing more come regular season time.

Beasley’s role on the team is often relegated to simply being their slot receiver, but he’s obviously more than that. We’ve seen him get special teams work before and do other things, but reality is last season he spent 91% of his offensive snaps in the slot.

Cowboys OL coach doesn't need Heinz 57 trick with these guys - Todd Archer, ESPN
Paul Alexander's famous ketchup bottle story won't be needed with this line that is anchored by three All-Pros.

Alexander might not need as many tricks with the group of offensive linemen he has inherited. Smith has been selected to the Pro Bowl the last five seasons. Frederick and Martin have been to the last four. Right tackle La’el Collins was considered a first-round talent in 2015 only to not get drafted. Last month, the Cowboys drafted Connor Williams in the second round to be their starting left guard.

“To me, it’s like I’ve gone to heaven,” Alexander said. “It’s the most beautiful football situation I’ve ever been in. They’re smart. They’re good. They want to get better. They work harder. I told them after the first day, ‘No. 1, guys, thank you for letting me coach you.’ A lot of times you go into a place with good players and they’re not going to want to listen to you but they’re very eager.” By the way, if Alexander saw a prospect as impressive as Smith pounding the heel of the Heinz bottle, he would not walk away from the prototype left tackle. “I’d teach him how to hit the 57, ya know?” he said. “Teach him the trick, right.”

Jaylon Smith picked up yoga in offseason - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Smith has been using yoga as a way to loosen up his body for the game of football.

“I was curious,” Smith said. “I’m a Gemini, very observant, and I just thought, ‘Why don’t I try to work on my flexibility more and learning how to breathe and learning how to really focus?’ That’s something that yoga provides.”