The Cowboys don’t seem to have much urgency when it comes to adding a wide receiver following the loss of James Washington, even though so far in Oxnard they’ve mostly seen the secondary winning team drills. Dallas also believes in players taking advantage of opportunity on offense, which receivers like Noah Brown, Jalen Tolbert, and T.J. Vasher have done so far.
With the Cowboys beginning padded practices on Monday, the focus has shifted a bit towards evaluating the trenches on both sides of the ball. This didn’t stop their newest WR1 CeeDee Lamb from dominating on Monday, but this next practice appeared to be more inconsistent for the offense.
Jourdan Lewis looking good in 7 on 7 with two pass breakups and a pick.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 2, 2022
The Cowboys opened practice with more special teams drills, still working both kickers Lirim Hajrullaha and Jonathan Garibay.
By simulating game speed with “mojo moments” in practice, both kickers continued to struggle and the only make during this period came off the foot of Hajrullaha.
Lirim Hajrullahu & Jonathan Garibay both just got the chance at 3 attempts from long range, in front of the team. Mojo Moment setting.— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 2, 2022
Combined 1/6, with the lone make coming from Hajrullahu.
Rookie left guard Tyler Smith is one of the players that fans and media alike were most looking forward to seeing with pads on, and so far he’s jumped out as the boost in the run game Dallas expected.
fun footwork by Zeke to cut this inside pic.twitter.com/CNn6tbvf3W— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 2, 2022
In the passing game, tight end Dalton Schultz saw even more targets with rookie Jake Ferguson and Jeremy Sprinkle both missing practice. The Cowboys biggest need at receiver and tight end may be a player that can get open late in a down or on a scramble drill for Prescott, and Schultz did that for a touchdown here.
Schultz also got behind Leighton Vander Esch for a big catch, and for the moment gave just some merit to the Cowboys feeling comfortable about the weapons around Prescott.
Dalton Schultz is gonna catch 100 balls this year. pic.twitter.com/evMAMBkWo9— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 2, 2022
In other situations where Prescott or any Cowboys QB faced pressure, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard became frequent check down targets, according to the mothership:
The screen passes were a big part of the offense on Tuesday- or at least that’s what the Cowboys were forced into throwing. There was often heavy pressure on the quarterbacks, leaving the best option to dump the ball off to the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and the backups, including Dowdle and Davis.
When it comes to Dan Quinn’s defense bringing pressure, there was also plenty of that as the team gets used to the physicality of daily padded practices.
Things got a bit chippy on Tuesday, with the defense attempting to set the tone on more than one occasion. From running back Malik Davis and the offense (including Dak Prescott) taking exception to a Davis handoff that saw his defender get very physical in taking him to the ground out of back, to safety Tyler Coyle knifing through traffic at full speed to lay a hit on Rico Dowdle that sounded like a sonic boom - followed by Coyle standing over Dowdle in taunting fashion — the Cowboys defense looks to be preparing for the season with a very sizable chip on their shoulder. Davis came back a few plays later to lower the shoulder on Coyle in one of the most physical runs of camp with both players going to the ground.
Overall, the Cowboys still have a lot of questions left to be answered on the field in Oxnard, but after multiple injury scares in their first padded practice, Tuesday was a step in the right direction towards staying healthy and finding continuity between so many new players and coaches.