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Cowboys training camp notes: Cole Beasley, Byron Jones, and “The Wall of Granite”

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All the highlights from the first Cowboys padded practice in Oxnard.

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NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST PADDED PRACTICE:

Observations from Oxnard: Here were the best plays and highlights from the Cowboys’ first padded practice - Staff, SportsDay
The SportsDay staff put together a nice summary of tweets and video’s from Saturday’s action.

And it was good to see an old friend doing the things he’s accustomed to doing.


Why Cole Beasley was the player of the day at the Cowboys’ first padded practice - Jon Machota, SportsDay
While time will sort out which new receivers will build a good rapport with Dak Prescott, it was a familiar face that stood out on Saturday.

Cole Beasley entered training camp as the most Dak-friendly receiver remaining on the roster. The two have experienced the most success together on Sundays.

Beasley was all over the field during team drills Saturday, catching passes from Prescott and second-team quarterback Cooper Rush. Beasley worked on this inside and the outside. He even took a handoff on an end-around.

”I was actually saying that I’ve never had a practice like this before,” Beasley said. “I got a little fatigued. I’m used to doing all the quick stuff. Now they got me all over the place and running all types of routes. It’s really fun.”

Practice Recap: Byron & Beasley Start Strong - Staff, DallasCowboys.com
The first day of padded practice is in the books, and there was no shortage of entertainment as the Cowboys got into the meat of their training camp schedule.

Beasley lined up all over the formation, running short routes and downfield routes from both inside and outside. On top of that, it seemed like there was a point to get him on the move, as he took the ball several times on multiple end arounds and reverses.

“I was actually saying I’ve never had a practice like this before. I got a little fatigued,” Beasley said. “I’m used to just doing all the quick stuff, but now they got me all over the place and running all types of routes. It’s really fun.”

The offseason talk has centered around all the different ways the Cowboys want to use their new-look receiver corps. After one day, that’s holding true. From the sounds of it, these receivers are going to get their steps in.

5 Observations from camp - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Hill provides his five observations for Saturday’s practice, including a more detailed look at the defensive line.

4. Defensive end Taco Charlton is going to be an interesting watch in training camp this year after the 2016 first-round pick had a disappointing season as a rookie. He is bringing a lot of confidence into Year 2 and has even nicknamed the defensive line the Hot Boys.

But Charlton didn’t take it to the field on the first day in pads. He got blocked twice early in a drill by tight end Blake Jarwin, pointing at his chest, saying “my bad.” He was pancaked by Chaz Green while asking for a flag. But he did get revenge on Green by getting by him for a sack.

5. With the defensive line naming themselves the Hot Boys, guard Joe Looney said the offensive line should be called the Fat Boys. They should be called the wall of granite if the first day in pads was an indication. Center Travis Frederick pancaked defensive tackle Brian Price. In the compete drill in front of the team, tackle Tyron Smith beat defensive end Tyrone Crawford, Frederick handled defensive tackle Dante Jones and left guard Zack Martin handled defensive tackle Jihad Ward.

The one time Tyron Smith got beat by defensive end Kony Ealy, he asked for a redo of the drill and then handled him with ease.


Camp Stars: Big First Day For Newcomers - Staff, DallasCowboys.com
Looks like the staff writers will be handing out some Cowboys-themed “gold stars” after each padded practice. Here are two of the first five gold stars:

Mickey Spagnola: First day of pads. Rookie with the first-team offensive line. Connor Williams fit right in. Stoned guys in team pass drills. Stoned guys in the one-on-one pass-rush drills. Relentless run blocking. Actually, an impressive first day for the second-round draft choice. Quick feet his best asset.

Nick Eatman: A lot of good choices here on this first day but I really liked what I saw from Michael Gallup. He made some better headlines on the first day of practice than last year’s No. 13, who wasn’t as “lucky.” Gallup was so smooth with his routes and literally plucks the ball out of the air.

Observations from the first padded practice - Todd Archer, Facebook
Archer with a lot of play-by-play bullets:

** In one-on-one pass rush drills, C Travis Frederick threw NT Brian Price to the ground. On the next snap, RG Zack Martin stoned Daniel Ross. In the compete period of practice, LT Tyron Smith got the best of DE Tyrone Crawford, swiping his hands away as Crawford readied for a bull rush.

** On the first play of seven on seven, LB Jaylon Smith did a nice job of sticking with RB Ezekiel Elliott out of the backfield. He looked smooth in his transition to the sideline.

** DE Charles Tapper had would-be sack of QB Mike White and was able to bowl over Jarwin, but he whiffed on his next run play and found himself on the ground on another run. Given his injuries his first two years, though, he at least drew some attention as a rusher.

Cowboys practice report: Dak Prescott is uneven, and we have yoga sessions – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Watkins reports on position battles taking shape.

Some depth chart information: In the first three days of practice, we’ve noticed Anthony Brown is the first-team slot corner. He’s also covering receivers from the slot in the nickel. Jourdan Lewis has gotten reps from the slot position, too, but for now it seems Brown is in front of this position. Sean Lee was limited at inside linebacker, but first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch isn’t getting moved up to the first team. He remains on the second unit. The linebackers with Lee out have been Joe Thomas, Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson with the first team. Vander Esch is being brought along slowly, so maybe next week things could change in terms of which teams he particpates on.

Ryan Switzer was last season’s punt returner, averaging 8.8 yards a return, but he was traded to the Raiders for defensive tackle Jihad Ward. The Cowboys like Ward and are using him on the first-team defense. So finding Switzer’s replacement as a punt returner is on. Austin and Beasley are in the lead here. However, during punt return drills, Trey Williams and Lenoir were getting reps. Williams muffed a punt inside the 5 while moving backward. Lenoir and Williams most likely are the preseason returners once Austin and Beasley sit.

Day 3 Camp Report: Cowboys depth along D-line is fascinating subplot - Shawn Kairschner, Cowboys Wire
Our old pal rabblerousr was on location in Oxnard to offer up his scouting report, including some bold predictions for a couple offensive rookies.

Speaking of offensive skill positions, I’m going on record as saying that, barring injury, Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup will be your tight end and receiver, respectively, by Week 8.

Even this early, it’s pretty clear Schultz possesses the best balance of run blocking and pass-catching ability of the tight end group, and Gallup is unusually well-positioned to contribute early in his career, because he has already been exposed to a lot of NFL-style situations (he saw the most press coverage of any receiver drafted in 2018) and possesses the traits (intelligence, body control, route running) that historically translate to NFL success.

In case you missed it...

All the sights & sounds from practice #3 for the Cowboys - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Sisemore recaps Day 3 for you with all the tweets and videos of Saturday’s action.


LATE PICKINGS FROM DAY TWO:

Broaddus: Tavon Wows, Terrance Returns; More - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus offers 10 notes from Friday's unpadded practice, including Tavon Austin's incredible play and Jourdan Lewis' blitzing prowess.

Maybe we need to give Tavon Austin more credit for his receiving ability. Austin, working against Chidobe Awuzie, completely lost his balance, falling to the ground. Dak Prescott made the decision to throw the ball in his direction regardless. Austin, tracking the ball, popped up off the ground but was falling backwards. Just at the last moment, he managed to reach up and somehow get both hands on the ball for the reception. It was an incredible play that left Awuzie shaking his head in disbelief.

I like what I saw from Jourdan Lewis coming from the slot as a blitzer. He has a real feel for how to get home unblocked. His disguise and timing is outstanding. There was one snap where Dak Prescott had no chance to react as Lewis bore down on him for the sack.