Garrett all business as Cowboys leave Oxnard

Posted Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Jason Garrett didn’t say anything new or awe-inspiring in his final training-camp message to the team, imploring them to keep the same work ethic when they return home.

The Dallas Cowboys packed up Friday and headed to Phoenix after a walk-through practice, their 29th day in camp.

“The messages don’t change a whole lot,” Garrett said. “It’s the same kind of message about really focusing on trying to be your best and working hard each and every day. I thought we had a really good camp. Guys came in in shape, ready to go, worked hard. I thought it was very competitive, as competitive a training camp as I’ve been around, and that’s really a tribute to the players and the approach they’ve taken.

“We try to put them in those situations, but they have to respond to those situations. So there’s a lot of battles on our team to make the roster, to become a starting player, to have a role on our team. I think those guys brought that to practice each and every day, and I think it made our team better.”

The Cowboys return home Saturday night after their third preseason game. They have two weeks before the season opener against the New York Giants.

“I think our intensity level since Day One was sky high, and we came out and performed to the best of our ability,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. “We’re very excited about the hard work we’ve put in, and we’re looking forward to going out and expressing our skills.

“... Don’t leave that training-camp mentality. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Romo snaps

Tony Romo will play “15 or so” plays in Saturday’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals before turning it over to the backup quarterbacks.

“It depends how it goes,” Jason Garrett said. “We have kind of a play idea for the starters and Romo is a part of that. Fifteen or so ball plays, and we’ll see what happens. It might turn into 20 if they’re really good. It might be less than that. I anticipate him probably playing into the second quarter.”

Romo didn’t play in the Hall of Fame Game. He played 14 plays last week against the Oakland Raiders.

In his second preseason game last season, Romo played the first quarter. He got in 20 snaps, leading the Cowboys to a field goal.

Terrance Williams and David Arkin will be among the starters who will play more.

Williams, a rookie, will make his preseason debut after missing the first two games with a concussion. The Cowboys are counting on him as their third receiver this season.

“It’s been disappointing for him that he hasn’t been able to play in the first two games, but he’ll get some action in this ballgame, probably more action than some of the other starting-type players will,” Garrett said. “He’ll play a little bit longer just because he missed the first two weeks.”

Arkin will start in place of Ron Leary, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday morning. The Cowboys are without their top two left tackles, Leary and Nate Livings, who had left knee surgery two weeks ago.

“Ark is going to play a lot in this ballgame,” Garrett said. “Ron Leary had surgery this morning, and we felt like the surgery went well. It was a scope. We don’t think it’s a major, major thing. We think he’s going to be back in a couple of weeks, but it gives a guy like Arkin a lot of opportunities, both in practice and in games to show what he can do.”

Webb honors Wilcox

Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb wanted J.J. Wilcox to know that he was thinking of him. So Webb wore Wilcox’s No. 27 jersey to practice Friday.

“That’s like my brother, so I’m just showing my love, let him know I’m still here with him,” Webb said. “Whatever he needs, I’ve got him.”

Wilcox has been excused from practice since his mother, Marshell Wilcox, became gravely ill. Marshell Wilcox died Tuesday after a long battle with lupusa, a chronic and lifelong autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissue and organs. The funeral is Saturday in Cairo, Ga.

Wilcox is expected to rejoin the team in Dallas.

“I’ve talked to him,” Webb said. “He’s doing a little better, but it’s hard right now. I can’t imagine losing your parent. I just want to let him know I’m here for him if he needs anything.”

Webb will wear his own No. 20 in the game Saturday against the Cardinals.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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