JJT: Without David Irving, Maliek Collins, Opportunity Exists for Jihad Ward

The Cowboys think Ward, who played defensive in Oakland, can be an effective defensive tackle

OXNARD, Calif. - Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett covered a variety of topics in his daily news conference.

Here are five highlights:

1. With defensive tackles David Irving and Maliek Collins not practicing at training camp, it has provided opportunity for players such as Jihad Ward.

The former 2016 second-round pick was acquired in a draft-day trade for Ryan Switzer.

In Oakland, Ward played defensive end. Dallas thinks the 6-foot-5-inch, 290-pound Ward can move inside and play effectively.

He'll get plenty of opportunity because Irving did not report to camp. Two sources have said he's at a rehab facility.

Collins is recovering from a broken foot. He just wants to be ready to play when the season starts.

"It's about an opportunity," Garrett said. "Anytime there's an injury or something like that, it's an opportunity for another player and they get a chance to take advantage of it."

2. Garrett said he's interested to see how the officials handle the new rules regarding players using the crown of their helmets to deliver blows.

It will be a penalty this season and could lead to ejections and suspensions.

The key, said Garrett, is how consistently the officials call the play.

"They do a good job telling us how they're going to officiate the play and giving us clips to watch," Garrett said. “But it'll be a lot more clear once we start playing.

"I think it's a good rule. Since we all started playing Pop Warner football, coaches have been saying, 'Keep your head up and see what you hit.' This is the same concept."

3. Terrance Williams has been working with the second team since training camp began.

Garrett said Williams is progressing well, but the team is still cautious working him back into the mix.

4. Fullback Jamize Olawale, once a member of the Cowboys' practice squad, drew praise from Garrett for his versatility.

Olawale, who's replacing Keith Smith, is a good blocker, receiver and special teams player.

He's spent the past five years playing for Oakland.

5. Garrett spent Monday night, a day off for players and coaches, at the Los Angeles Dodgers game.

He spent much of the night listening to former manager Tommy LaSorda's never-ending list of stories.

"Coach LaSorda has been a good friend of ours for a few years now, and we got a chance to visit with him for a long time," Garrett said. "There's always great stories and there's always great wisdom.

"He's 91 years old and he's at that ballpark every night. He's become a dear friend and I love him very much."

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