The Cowboys are inching closer to their Blue/White scrimmage Sunday, followed by their first preseason game Thursday, Aug. 13, in San Diego against the Chargers. Here are five things to know from Wednesday's practice and walkthrough in Oxnard, California.
1.) Quarterback Tony Romo was given the day off, along with tight end Jason Witten. The team called it a “veteran off day,” though Witten joked with the media that it was more like an “old man day.” In Romo’s place, quarterback Brandon Weeden said he was given about 25-percent more snaps than a usual practice. He called those reps extremely valuable.
2.) Running back Lance Dunbar left the practice field with an ankle injury Wednesday evening, though Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said the team does not believe the injury is serious. However, Dunbar’s injury now has two of the Cowboys' expected three running backs out of practice. Darren McFadden, still battling a hamstring injury, is yet to take a snap as a Cowboy. Former Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk seemed to take advantage of the extra reps with a couple of impressive runs showing off his speed.
3.) One of Brandon Weeden’s passes was intercepted by Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford and then returned all the way for a touchdown. Crawford, who is entering a contract year, has never scored a touchdown in a game in his career. When asked about if he had a celebration prepared for if he ever did end up in the end zone in a game, he said yes, but nothing near as a good as Nick Hayden’s guitar celebration from two years ago.
4.) Rookie defensive back Byron Jones continues to gain confidence and show ability on the practice field. I spoke with Jones about the jump in competition from the American Athletic Conference he played in at Connecticut to an NFL practice featuring Dez Bryant. The 2015 first-round pick said facing Bryant one-on-one is obviously a huge challenge, but that when he does make plays against Dez, it gives his confidence a huge boost.
5.) Coming off his best season as a pro, Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley has high expectations for 2015. Beasley caught 37 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns, after only catching two touchdowns total the previous two seasons. Beasley told reporters that his ability to work with Tony Romo so well comes down to both players’ understanding of the offense. He also said that, despite his 5-foot-8 height and going undrafted out of SMU, he never doubted he could make plays in the NFL.