The Dallas Cowboys’ first day in pads didn’t disappoint on Wednesday.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith looked fluid during individual work and in his eight snaps in team drills. Defensive end Taco Charlton struggled at times against right tackle La’el Collins, but ended up winning a compete drill in front of the team.
Here are five takeaways:
1 All eyes were on Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys view the linebacker as a first-round talent and he looked fluid his first time in pads since joining the organization. Smith took eight snaps in team drills, and will continue to be monitored throughout camp.
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2 Taco Charlton had his moments. As stated, he won a ‘compete’ drill against Collins in front of the team, but was beaten by Collins in a pair of pass rush drills before that. Then Charlton ended practice by getting chippy with 6-foot-10 undrafted offensive tackle Dan Skipper. The adrenaline was running high.
3 The defense had success in taking the ball away, forcing three fumbles during team drills. Defensive end Damontre Moore pried the ball loose from Terrance Williams; linebacker Joseph Jones knocked it out of fullback Keith Smith’s hands; and defensive end Darnell Leslie had a strip later on. Executive vice president Stephen Jones joked that it’s a positive for a defense and a sign the offense needs to improve on taking care of the ball.
4 The offense had an up-and-down day. They won all three drills in the first ‘compete’ period. Dak Prescott found Williams on a deep play against Nolan Carroll; James Hanna beat Jeff Heath; and Ezekiel Elliott got the best of Anthony Hitchens. Later on, though, Williams dropped a pass that could have gone for a big play and so did Ryan Switzer.
5 Rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie made a strong first impression. In one-on-one drills, he had tight coverage on veteran receiver Brice Butler and swatted Dak Prescott’s pass in the air. Awuzie then tipped it to himself for an interception. Said Awuzie: “It’s confidence building. That’s what you’ve got to do as a DB – take the ball. When I took it away, it felt good.”
Quote of the day
“I have to give it to [Ryan Switzer], man. Switz went up there a couple times and he blew it up. … I don’t remember what song, but it was Justin Bieber.” – Darren McFadden on who the best rookie singer has been
DT Maliek Collins (hip flexor): Day to day.
DE Charles Tapper (cramps): Day to day.
LB Justin Durant (Non-football injury): Day to day.
DT Richard Ash (Physically unable to perform): Day to day.
CB Jourdan Lewis (personal): Expected to join team Thursday.
QB Zac Dysert (back): Returned to Dallas for surgery.
Aug. 3 vs. Arizona (NBC)*, 7 p.m.
Aug. 12 at Los Angeles Rams (NFL Network), 8 p.m.
Aug. 19 vs. Indianapolis (NFL Network), 6 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Oakland, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Houston, 7 p.m.
* Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio