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.
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.
Almost got the first fight of camp when Jourdan Lewis wanted all the smoke from CeeDee Lamb.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 4, 2022
Here's the very end of a contentious 15 seconds or so. Lamb continued to walk back to the huddle as Lewis was calling him out. pic.twitter.com/3gfbrAPjgv
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.
DeMarcus Lawrence beats Terence Steele. pic.twitter.com/hWU6vAjpEW— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 4, 2022
DeMarcus Lawrence with a sack. pic.twitter.com/QzPIZVBSJJ— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 4, 2022
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.
LMAO, the coaches are TORTURING Jonathan Garibay during the Mojo Moment.— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 4, 2022
Garibay connected from 41, but the defense “iced” him. Hit it from 41 again, but the OL was hit for “false start.” Missed from 46, but the DL was hit for “offside.” Connected again from 41 to go 3/4.
Same routine for Hajrullahu with the 2nd team, simulating timeouts & penalties to throw him off his game. Went 3/3 from 41, 41 & 46.— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 4, 2022
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
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.
Cowboys’ Dak Prescott lights up when talking about WR Dennis Houston the way franchise QBs seldom do with undrafted rookies. “He’s where I expect him to be on each and every play. And he’s coming back and asking about things, communicating about things.” Tough, resilient player. pic.twitter.com/6PxWrQZmca— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 4, 2022
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.