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Cowboys training camp #8 battle of the day: Several undrafted free agents making their case

And a few other battles from Thursday’s action

NFL: JUN 02 Dallas Cowboys OTA Offseason Workouts Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A day after taking things easy with their walkthrough practice, the Cowboys got back at it on Thursday’s portion of training camp. The helmets and pads came back on, and with it, some added intensity. Here were some of the more prominent battles from the day.

Honorable Mentions

Jourdan Lewis vs CeeDee Lamb

Training camp fights happen all the time - daily if you’re the New Orleans Saints - but the Cowboys have yet to see the intensity boil over this year. While that may be a testament to the coaching staff’s emphasis on avoiding penalties, the streak was nearly broken today when Jourdan Lewis was apparently talking a good amount of trash to CeeDee Lamb after a play.

Ultimately nothing happened, but it’s a reminder of how the constant back and forth between players in a training camp setting can grow old for some. Lewis has generally been a vocal trash talker, so this isn’t all that surprising, but it’s a positive sign that neither he nor Lamb escalated things any further.

DeMarcus Lawrence vs Terence Steele

Arguably the most underreported storyline this season is Terence Steele’s ascension to full time starting right tackle. Thus far in practice, he’s been seeing a lot of reps against Micah Parsons, which isn’t fun for anyone. But on Thursday, Steele had his hands full with DeMarcus Lawrence for a change, and it didn’t go very well for the tackle.

In the first video, Lawrence pretty much blows by Steele; the second one has Lawrence beating Steele for a sack after the tackle was too slow to react on a stunt between Parsons and Lawrence. It should only help Steele’s progression as a pass blocker by going up against such stellar edge rushers on a consistent basis, but it seems there is still room for improvement.

Kicking competition stays weird

Much has been made of the Cowboys’ kicking battle between Jonathan Garibay and Lirim Hajrullahu, especially how poorly both performed in Tuesday’s practice. While Mike McCarthy chalked those struggles up to the wind, Thursday marked each kicker’s next shot at redeeming themselves. The coaching staff didn’t make it easy on them either.

Prior to the “mojo moments,” Garibay had hit on just four of his eight field goal attempts on the day. Hajrullahu made his first seven but missed the eighth and final kick to fall short of perfection. The coaching staff deserves credit for making this competition as interesting as it is, but so far it appears that Hajrullahu is maintaining the upper hand leg.

Camp Battle of the Day: Dennis Houston vs everybody

The Cowboys have a solid history of undrafted free agents turning into regular contributors for them, and they were especially praised this past draft cycle for their impressive UDFA class. But few thought that Dennis Houston out of Western Illinois would be the hottest undrafted rookie at this point in training camp.

The Cowboys are searching for answers at wide receiver now more than ever after James Washington’s injury earlier this week. Rookie Jalen Tolbert has been getting better each day, while veteran Noah Brown and second-year pro Simi Fehoko have had a few moments of their own.

But Houston seems to be in the mix every day, and he’s been seeing a steady amount of reps with Dak Prescott. That the Cowboys franchise quarterback is speaking so highly of him is a testament to how far Houston has already come. The first week of August is definitely too early for any undrafted player to have clinched a roster spot, but in a wide receiver room where nearly everything is up for grabs, Houston has been snagging a lot more than just the passes thrown by Prescott.