The Cowboys made their 2019 debut out on the practice fields in Oxnard. The morning walk-through with the media was dominated by more discussion on the absence of Ezekiel Elliott. Though this first practice is always dominated by pomp and circumstance with a opening ceremony that features team ownership and city officials, the on-field football product is what you all came here for. There was a scary moment but the Cowboys dodged the bullet:
Second-round pick Trysten Hill gives Cowboys a scare after being carted off but looks to be okay
Unfortunately, attrition is part of the game but you never want to see your top draft pick go down on the first day:
#Cowboys 2nd round pick Trysten Hill carted off practice field. Injury unclear currently— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) July 28, 2019
Thankfully, it looks like he may have just been cramping pretty bad and precaution is never a bad thing.
Second round pick Trysten Hill left practice early because he was cramping. He was taken to the locker room on a cart but did not appear to be in pain. First practice was designed to ease the players into camp with. I offense vs. defense work.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 28, 2019
Witten has expressed so much enthusiasm in his return to the Cowboys but anything that got him out of that ESPN Booth was going to be a positive for the wily veteran. Witten showed up to camp looking a little leaner than you may remember but he was quick to point out the NFL is a young man’s game and he’s just trying to keep up. Witten was up to his old tricks though as he pulled down a one-handed catch in practice. Here is a quick clip of Witten talking about that competitive fire still burning:
Despite being in his 16th season, veteran Jason Witten said he feels like he’s "got a lot to prove." And he’s up for the challenge. #CowboysCamp— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) July 27, 2019
Full Interview → https://t.co/EtqVv9LeLq pic.twitter.com/2lQpt6anOB
Who’s carrying the rock in Elliott’s absence?
There is no question who the man is but when the man isn’t there, that’s an opportunity for young guys to get invaluable reps they wouldn’t have otherwise. For now, the Cowboys are going with the veteran Darius Jackson as he was taking most of the snaps with the ones. The elusive rookie Tony Pollard was the second back and he’s got some hype surrounding him after Kellen Moore went to bat for him in the draft. There is some explosiveness in Pollard that is unlike any back on the roster. Jordan Chunn and the rookie Ohio State product Mike Weber were the RB3 and RB4.
Even when Zeke makes his eventual return, it’s not as if he was going to be carrying the preseason load. There is a lot of potential in this group and it’ll be exciting to see who seizes the opportunity in these exhibition games.
The Linebackers are “AS ADVERTISED”
Fans began to salivate at the sight of Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee lined up and ready to engage:
Best LB group in the league??? pic.twitter.com/5jGL50QfRW— Derek Eagleton (@derekeagleton) July 27, 2019
Speaking of Sean Lee, he spoke earlier to reporters about his plans to play on special teams. Though you always worry about his long term health, it would be a phenomenal sight to see a former All-Pro laying the wood out there.
It’s never to early to get a contingency plan in place
The Cowboys might need to start calling around for some help at kicker. It’s not the highest concern on the to-do list for the Cowboys but it can become one pretty quickly.
Brett Maher clangs the right upright during special teams drills. Like we’ve said all offseason, I don’t think we’ll be taking these portions of practice for granted in 2019.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) July 27, 2019
That’s about it for the first day which was a light day in nature.
Practice No. 1 is over. Nothing particularly eventful happened, given that the offense and defense didn’t work against each other. Trysten Hill appears to be ok. One more light practice before we get to the cool stuff.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) July 28, 2019
Each day, we’re going to provide you with excellent coverage including plenty of highlights, recaps, and any news as it becomes available.