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Cowboys practice highlights: “Hot Boys” emerge; rookie WR Michael Gallup turning heads

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Highlights from day four of practice.

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


When training camp heats up 'Hot Boys' emerge - Greg Simmons,
Tempers flared between La'el Collins and Taco Charlton.

It was towards the end of the drill when offensive lineman La'el Collins got into it with defensive end Taco Charlton. After the whistle blew the two kept going at it. Charlton winds up going the ground and when he gets back up he's not happy. He goes right back at Collins, and that's when the scrum begins. Teammates join in and we have our first flare up of Cowboys camp.

"I invite that. It's fun," Charlton said as soon as the afternoon second practice in full pads came to an end. "We're going to go to the locker room. We're gonna have fun. We're going to joke around. Like nothing happened, but like I said we're the hot boys we don't take nothing," Charlton finished.

Why the Cowboys embraced the first skirmish of training camp between La'el Collins, Taco Charlton - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
After Charlton and Collins had their brief skirmish, the coaches immediately pitted them against each other for another go.

The "compete" period between members of the offensive and defensive lines immediately followed, when the whole team gathered 'round. Surprise, surprise -- the coaches made Collins and Charlton face off again, with Collins winning again.

"They got pride on the line," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "Plus everything is filmed and charted. That's their resume during the camp."

Right guard Zack Martin said offense vs. defense compete winners are scored in the locker room.

"Pass rush is one of the great drills in the NFL," Garrett said. "It reveals and exposes players. We watch it at night and go through it. Technically, you see where they are; emotionally you see where they are.

"Sometimes with young players, they're doing it right, they're doing it right - and now they're by themselves, everybody is watching...everything they were working on goes out the window. ...So what we try to do is keep putting them in those competitive situations so they become more comfortable in them and they can take their technique to the drill -- and ultimately to the field."

Camp Stars: Watching the Tyron & Byron Show - Staff,
Some love for the wide receivers from two of the five staff writers.

Mickey Spagnola: He lines up outside. He lines up inside. He runs precise routes over the middle. He can go deep, too. Thought we got a nice glimpse of just what Allen Hurns can do on Sunday. Caught a couple of passes in team session, one on a really nice route and another on a play-action rollout where he came across the field. Joy to watch even while running routes in drills against air.

Bryan Broaddus: The most impressive offensive player in this camp to this point has been Cole Beasley. Sure there are physical limitations due to his lack of height but you would never know that by the way he has been playing. Inside or outside, he has made plays at all levels. What has been impressive is how well he has adjusted to making plays down the field. Through four practices I have yet to see him drop a pass where he was able to get his hands on the ball.

No Witten, no Bryant, Cowboys experiment with their receiving corp - Greg Simmons,
’It’s not going to be worse or better. It’s going to be different,’ says Cole Beasley.

”I think people are thinking less from us because there are a lot of younger guys and there’s no Dez Bryant or Jason Witten,” said Cole Beasley, who is about to start his seventh season in a Cowboys uniform.

”I feel like we are being written off because they’re different you know what I mean,” Beasley said. “We don’t have the big tall receivers who go up and get fade balls all the time, but we’ve got guys who can do a lot of other things and guys who can run so this is not going to be worse or better. It’s going to be different.”

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has been experimenting with using both Beasley and Austin as wide outs and Hurns, who is the tallest of the three, in the slot.

”That’s going to be the biggest change, the location of our receivers will be more multiple. “ Linehan said. “I think that will help us.”

”It’s a great feel that’s the thing with us. All three of us can play inside and outside.” added Hurns. “That way once we break the huddle teams can’t predict, OK he’s going to be right here and he’s going to be right there. It makes it a lot more complex.”

Zeke, Tavon & Jaylon Catching Jerry Jones’ Eye - Nick Eatman,
Jerry Jones always has plenty of things to say, especially after a few days of practice in Oxnard.

Jones was also asked to address Cole Beasley and his ability to move around from the slot to the outside more. While he said many of the receivers will be on the move, he couldn’t help but reference Tavon Austin, who could be just as dangerous without the ball.

“10 (Austin), watch him out there and see he’s got to be out there a lot,” Jones said of the former first-round pick of the Rams that was traded to Dallas this offseason. “Defenses have to account for him. My point he’s got to show that we’re using him and he’ll give defenses a lot to worry about as a decoy, too.”

How rookie WR Michael Gallup is already turning heads in Oxnard and earning Dak Prescott's trust - Brandon George, SportsDay
Rookie receiver Michael Gallup has already earned the respect of coaches and teammates in just a few months with the team.

In a rare move for Garrett during his Cowboys' tenure, he started camp by giving the rookie some first-team snaps at receiver.

But then came Sunday, and Gallup looked more like a rookie. He dropped passes in individual and team drills.

But the veterans are pulling for him, no doubt, considering their reaction to his drops Sunday. Veteran receivers yelled at Gallup: "You've got to get that. That's your ball. You got to have it."

Dak Prescott’s leadership on display - Todd Archer, Facebook
Archer writes about Prescott’s leadership, but also highlights some of the players you don’t hear so much about.

One of the better collisions of the day was between rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch and FB Jamize Olawale. With Vander Esch blitzing up the middle, Olawale stepped in with power to absorb Vander Esch’s hit.

RB Bo Scarbrough showed once he gets his foot in the ground he can turn up the field in a hurry and with some power. Darius Jackson, another backup running back, was able to break free for a long run, as was undrafted rookie Jordan Chunn.

The good of Rico Gathers: he made a nice adjustment on a back-shoulder throw from Cooper Rush. The bad of Rico Gathers: He had a false start in the final compete period and was sent to the sideline.

Cowboys practice report: Dak had a better day while DBs stepped up as well – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Prescott was much better on Sunday afternoon than he had been early in camp, Watkins writes.

Dak Prescott was average on Saturday. He was much better on Sunday. The Cowboys are asking Prescott to make more calls at the line of scrimmage relative to his first two seasons in the NFL. Sometimes all the directing of traffic gets to be too much but when Prescott relaxes, he’s a very good passer. He completed a strong pass to Allen Hurns on a crossing route during the team period. In the WR/DB drills his passes were on target when Deonte Thompson beat Brown with a double move for a completion. Prescott has good chemistry with Cole Beasley, especially on slants. The work these two put in during the offseason is paying off right now. Beasley made a nice catch on a comeback route during the WR/DB drills. Prescott seemed more relaxed as he made throws and scooted out of the pocket for a run when it broke down.

5 Observations from Sunday’s practice - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Here are two of those observations.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was much better and sharper on Day 2 in pads. He was 11 for 15 passing in team and seven on seven. The highlights were two chunk passes to Allen Hurns and tight end Blake Jarwin on two dimes from Prescott. He also had a screen to running back Ezekiel Elliott in team drills on his final play likely would have gone the distance. Prescott had more zip on the ball and pushed the ball further down the field than he did on Day. 1.

Receiver Cole Beasley and cornerback Byron Jones continued their strong starts to training camp. Beasley has proven to be uncoverable, especially in one-on-one drills against the defensive backs. He faked cornerback Chido Awuzie off his feet a couple of times. Jones rallied after getting beat off the line by Lance Lenoir to make a diving deflection off a pass from quarterback Dak Prescott. Receiver Tavon Austin stood out not just because of his two receptions from Prescott but also the energy he brought during plays. It was Austin he was one encouraging his fellow receivers after every play whether he was involved or not. Austin said that is simply who is and what he brings, along with his blazing speed of course.

Jones said Austin is going to be “out there on the field a lot. The defense has to account for him and they don’t have to account for him if he’s not carrying the ball or receiving the ball. My point is he has to show that we’ll use him and he’ll give defenses a lot to worry about as a decoy, too.”

Cowboys 2018 training camp practice #4: Recap and updates - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Sisemore combed through social media to bring you the highlights from yesterday's practice.

The Cowboys are absolutely desperate to keep Tyron Smith healthy. First, Smith was excused from practice Friday, so he could participate in back-to-back practices on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, Smith participated in only half of the first team reps, with Cameron Fleming taking the other reps. It’s obvious the team is doing everything they can to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2017 when the team’s offense ground to a halt without their All World left tackle.

Cole Beasley had a good day of practice, repeatedly beating coverage and providing an easy target for whoever was at quarterback. Beasley has looked good throughout camp thus far, for whatever that’s worth.

We also had the proverbial Rico Gathers down-the-seam sighting. And in the following clip his route-running looks pretty poor and he doesn’t look particularly athletic getting down the field. And yet, his big target and intuition on how to block out the defender made for an easy pitch and catch completion.

Practice Recap: Veteran days, 1st Camp Scuffle, Injury News - Staff,
The Cowboys are trying to be smart with their veterans.

Sean Lee was absent from practice for a second-straight day, as the staff is being deliberate to bring him along slowly. Lee did not practice with the team during the spring, and the Cowboys want to be sure he’s ready before putting him on the field. But the expectation is that Lee will be working in pads in short order.

DeMarcus Lawrence practiced on Saturday, but he took a veteran day on Sunday. The Pro Bowl pass rusher has had back issues in his career, and it’s a good bet the Cowboys want to mitigate the strain he puts on himself by giving him multiple days off in a row.

Tyron Smith practiced Sunday, and he looked good doing it – but the Cowboys are still following a plan with him. During full-team reps, Smith was rotating every few snaps with Cam Fleming, who signed on in the spring. It’s a logical decision – not only to keep Smith fresh, but to give Fleming some reps with the first team in case of emergency.

Observations from Oxnard: Dak Prescott and Allen Hurns connect - Staff, SportsDay
Videos, Tweets and some quotes from camp.

Cowboys RB coach Gary Brown on Ezekiel Elliott: "He looks real fresh. He's in great shape. Mentally, he's in the right place. ... He's leaner. His body fat is down. His weight is down. He's ready to go."

Jerry Jones on Cowboys rookie WR Cedrick Wilson: "He's going to miss some time. He had that [shoulder injury] last year. ... It's a concern. I don't know the degree, but it's the same shoulder. He popped it out and then in the same move, they hit his arm and it popped back in."


Cowboys’ Camp Position Group Microscope: Defensive backs on Day 3 - Shawn Kairschner, CowboysWire
Rabblerousr looks back at day three and has an interesting take on the defensive backs.

When watching drills up close, the differences between the various players are much clearer than they are on television. Watching defensive-back drills, the gulf between the likely candidates to make the roster and those with fainter hopes was quickly evident. The likes of Chido Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Byron Jones and Anthony Brown get in and out of breaks so much more quickly than the other gents in the DB room.

It becomes instantly clear how much more important quickness is than speed for defensive backs.

The down-roster DBs lose so much time when changing directions—often from having too high a center of gravity—that their ability to make plays on the ball is compromised. Given the percentage of plays that happen in space, rather than downfield, I’m valuing quickness as one of the most essential defensive back traits.

That said, one lightly-heralded dude who I think most likely to make the coaches agonize come cut-down time is Duke Thomas. He compared favorably with the top guys this afternoon.