The Cowboys were back at it again on the practice fields in Oxnard, still no sign of Ezekiel Elliott but that’s not halting the process. The last few days have been dominated by the Cowboys defense as they came away with several takeaways. Let’s go through the practice news of the day.
Who has the day off?
Long list of people out today for health, holdout or vet days: CJ Goodwin, Byron Jones, Chris Westry. Kyle Queiro, Sean Lee, Robert Quinn, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Lance Lenior, Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Noah Brown and L.P. Ladouceur.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 2, 2019
Zack Martin having back spasms, MRI scheduled
All-Pro guard Zack Martin did not practice on Friday as he was dealing with some back spasms. As a precaution, Martin will have an MRI to find out the severity of his discomfort. Martin has played through the pain before but this is the time to practice caution, especially with one of the best players in the entire NFL.
The Cowboys hope to build continuity by having their three All-Pros suit up together again in 2019 after last year’s struggles to keep guys healthy. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they spare no expense with building a deep offensive line. In each of the last two drafts, the Cowboys have spent a Top-100 pick on the offensive line. Though Zack Martin’s back spasms may turn out to be nothing at all, if they do keep him out for any period of time, Connor McGovern could be the next man up.
With Martin out and Travis Frederick getting veteran rest, two familiar faces got the nod for Friday’s practice:
Zack Martin is out today while he deals with his back, and it looks like Travis Frederick is taking a vet day. Xavier Su’a-Filo and Joe Looney will be running with the 1’s #cowboyswire— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 2, 2019
Petty Tweet of the Day: It’s all in good fun, Philly.
Michael Gallup dragging the Eagles secondary pic.twitter.com/ikbbytZje2— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 2, 2019
Early Returns for Punt Returns
One area the Cowboys are certainly trying to improve at is in their return game. Dallas had no game last season when it came to returns. It showed up in their field position as only two teams finished worse than Dallas in starting field position. We’re not asking for a guy that houses every kick but just a little juice on special teams isn’t too big an ask, right?
So far, there are two names that are working on earning the return duties but more are likely being considered. Those names for now are Randall Cobb and Reggie Davis:
Reggie Davis and Randall Cobb catch punts pre-practice pic.twitter.com/FYTfJsbaH8— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 2, 2019
Sean Lee status update
Sean Lee hasn’t been practicing for several days as he was dealing with knee soreness and was getting some rest. It’s been confirmed that Lee is suffering from a MCL sprain but he was spotted out supporting his teammates. The severity of Lee’s knee issues don’t seem to be alarming but to borrow a Jason Garrett phrase ‘he’s day-to-day’.
Sean Lee is watching practice as he rests from a slight MCL sprain in his right knee. His return has been described as day by day but the Cowboys will be patient in getting him back on the field. pic.twitter.com/7y6BsZx9SX— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 2, 2019
Highlight: Dak going DEEEEEEEEEEP to Jon’Vea Johnson
Dak Prescott creating his own narrative about the ‘DEEP BALL’, he sure slung the rock on this one. Side note: Jon’Vea Johnson is turning plenty of heads out here early.
Dak to Jon’Vea Johnson pic.twitter.com/NuNEhhDiCf— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 2, 2019
Dak just launched one to JVJ. The internet won’t believe me tho.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 2, 2019
Highlight #2: Tight coverage? Not a problem for Amari Cooper. Is anything really a problem for Amari?
Dak, Amari, lather, rinse, repeat pic.twitter.com/mdYXG8skty— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 2, 2019
Highlight #3: Dak to Gallup...great throw...great catch...holy blitz pickup, Tony Pollard.
Nice throw by Dak and a nice catch by Gallup, but peep Tony Pollard with the nice pickup of Jaylon Smith #cowboyswire pic.twitter.com/Pg0B0DqB9M— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 2, 2019
Jason Witten: Making secondaries look foolish since 2003
Jason Witten brings a competitive fire to these practices like no other. For a guy who many believe is past his expiration date, Witten just keeps finding soft spots in coverage and making folks look foolish. On Friday, Witten was schooling the youngsters:
Jason Witten with this one-handed grab for an apparent TD. pic.twitter.com/5Ib1sb2wD6— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 3, 2019
You didn’t see this last season, but you’ve seen it before. pic.twitter.com/F71eQQxpNr— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) August 3, 2019
What a positive boost for the Cowboys’ red zone offense to have the future Hall-of-Famer back in the mix:
Dak Prescott to Jason Witten, touchdown pic.twitter.com/6Lwil0diPI— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 3, 2019
Jason Witten with a touchdown on a throw down the seam from Dak Prescott in red zone seven on seven work. The veteran let loose with a "boom," after making the catch.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 3, 2019
Witten was on fire out there and he even sealed the block that sprung Dak Prescott forward on a keeper for the touchdown.
To close it out, the Cowboys were in situational mode. Down 19-17 at midfield, Dak found Witten to set-up an opportunity for a game-winning field goal:
Looked like the field goal was from 55 or so. Redfern was short by about a yard. Offense loses, practice over #cowboyswire https://t.co/LRjO09ZBZQ— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 3, 2019
All in all, it wasn’t a perfect day for Dak Prescott, he did have a few misses in there but it was a nice bounce back over the last two endings to his previous practices. With a makeshift line for protection, Dak stepped up a few times to avoid pressure and get the ball out. The compete period didn’t feel as complete without Zack Martin and Travis Frederick.