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Cowboys practice #6: O-Line shuffle with Martin & Frederick not practicing, update on Sean Lee

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Cowboys got along through practice without the services of a few key veterans but business as usual.

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

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?

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:

Petty Tweet of the Day: It’s all in good fun, Philly.

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:

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’.

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.

Highlight #2: Tight coverage? Not a problem for Amari Cooper. Is anything really a problem for Amari?

Highlight #3: Dak to Gallup...great throw...great catch...holy blitz pickup, Tony Pollard.

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:

What a positive boost for the Cowboys’ red zone offense to have the future Hall-of-Famer back in the mix:

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:

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.