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Cowboys training camp: Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle are UDFA stars for Monday’s practice

The battle for RB2 is heating up as Tony Pollard misses a day of practice, giving Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle plenty of opportunities.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After Sunday’s day of rest for the Dallas Cowboys, the team was all about business on Monday. First, the team announced they were releasing kicker Tristan Vizcaino. This news is noteworthy because it means that ex-MLS soccer player and USFL kicker Brandon Aubrey is the only kicker on the roster.

Owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy further explained their reasoning behind the decision when speaking to reporters:

McCarthy said, via the team’s website, the team is “always open” to considering other options, but that Aubrey is a young kicker and they plan to “make sure he gets the reps” this summer.

Jones shared a similar view of the situation.

“We’re comfortable,” Jones said, via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. “We’re excited about what we’ve seen, excited about how he got here and he’s having a real solid camp and so we’re very comfortable going into the season with him.”

The team also returned to the practice field for the first time since the Blue and White Scrimmage on Saturday. The defense had an outstanding day and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn mixed things up with his looks along the defensive front. Offensively, running back Tony Pollard was absent from practice for personal reasons — however, no Pollard, no problem. His replacements Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle made the most of their opportunities.

The reserve running backs making their appearance in this series is overdue. Both Dowdle and Davis have shown glimpses of their talent playing behind Pollard and the now departed Ezekiel Elliott. Despite being undrafted, Dowdle and Davis provide traits that could make them viable options if given extended opportunities. Arguably Davis’ best run as a rookie last season came against the Tennessee Titans on a play where Davis exploded through a tight crease in the Titans front for a 23 yards scamper.

Davis has a good balance of speed, elusiveness, and power for his size. This offseason, the Cowboys made the difficult decision to release franchise stalwart Ezekiel Elliott, and one can’t help but think it’s partially because the team sees something in the ex-Florida Gator.

On Monday, Davis left it out there for everyone to see. Davis showcased his speed and shiftiness for the crowd in attendance, getting through holes and getting to the second and third levels of the defense.

Not to be undone, Rico Dowdle also had a very nice day as well. He showed that his burst on a carry up the middle and racing into the secondary. Dowdle hasn’t gotten much playing with the Cowboys just yet because of injury, but he isn’t going away quietly. In fact, the Dallas Cowboys released their depth chart with Davis as the number three running back on the roster and Dowdle penciled in as the number two behind Pollard.

Tony Pollard is unlikely to see the field in the preseason, which leaves a window open for either runner to not only make the team, but to carve out a significant role for themselves as the primary backup to Pollard. When the Cowboys face the Jacksonville Jaguars this Saturday, pay close attention to the snap distribution of the running backs.

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