The Dallas Cowboys returned to their training camp “home” for the first time in almost a week Monday. There were plenty of takeaways from another practice.
1. Jason Witten still has it. A tight end that many believe is Canton-bound continues to impress. In one-on-one drills, Witten got the best of All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee. Shortly after that, Witten made linebacker Mark Nzeocha look silly with a double move that left Nzeocha on the ground and Witten catching an easy touchdown pass. Witten, at 35 going into Year 15, still makes plays at a high level.
2. Left tackle Tyron Smith returned to practice after being sidelined with back tightness. And Smith didn’t appear to lose a beat. He went through the entire practice and looked like his All-Pro self throughout the day. He handled DeMarcus Lawrence easily in pass rush drills, and went on to have a solid showing in team drills.
3. Wide receiver Ryan Switzer went through individual drills and some punt returns for the first time since being limited with a hamstring. Switzer felt good for the most part, although he did fumble a punt. Switzer believes he’ll be 100 percent shortly and partake in team activities. The only thing Switzer isn’t overly happy about is missing the Hall of Fame trip. He was among a group of injured players who stayed in California for rehab, but it wasn’t all bad. He said Brice Butler and Cole Beasley posted plenty of videos from Jerry Jones’ Hall of Fame bash that featured Justin Timberlake and that he was able to be there “vicariously.”
4. Just when the defensive line appears to get reinforcements, another player goes down. On Monday, defensive end Charles Tapper exited with hip and leg tightness and Benson Mayowa sat out with knee soreness. But defensive tackle Maliek Collins (hip) and defensive end David Irving (ankle) went through individual drills before working on the side during team drills. Starting in Collins’ place was undrafted rookie Lewis Neal. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has liked what he’s seen from Neal early in camp. The other DL starters? Cedric Thornton inside and Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence outside.
5. With an NFL investigation continuing to hang over his head, Ezekiel Elliott appears to be unfazed. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said he doesn’t see anything from Elliott that concerns him. But Jones and the rest of the organization would like to see the league conclude its more than yearlong investigation. Jones said the NFL has to become more efficient in matters of this nature.
Quote of the day
“I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan. You know, he’s from Tennessee, so he’s representing the home state there. We’re proud of him. The guy was remarkable, his ability to connect with the crowd and the charisma he showed and just ridiculous how talented he is. And it was a surprise. That was the best part about it. That was one heck of a party.” — Jason Witten on Jerry Jones’ Hall of Fame bash
DT Maliek Collins (hip flexor): Returned Monday.
LT Tyron Smith (back): Returned Monday.
DE Benson Mayowa (knee): Day to day.
DE Charles Tapper (hip/ leg): Day to day.
OL Chaz Green (shoulder): Out extended period.
WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring): Day to day.
CB Anthony Brown (hamstring): Day to day.
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring): Day to day.
OL Joe Looney (toe): Day to day.
DE David Irving (ankle): Returned Monday.
LB Justin Durant (Non-football injury): Day to day.
Aug. 3 Cowboys 20, Arizona 18
Saturday 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
Sept. 10 vs. New York Giants (KXAS/5), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Denver (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Arizona (ESPN), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Los Angeles Rams, (KDFW/4) Noon
Oct. 8 vs. Green Bay (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Oct. 15 Bye
Oct. 22 at San Francisco (KDFW/4), 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Washington (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 5 vs. Kansas City (KTVT 11), 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 12 at Atlanta (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia (KXAS/5), 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 vs. LA Chargers (KTVT/11), 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 vs. Washington (KXAS/5), 7:25 p.m.
Dec. 10 at New York Giants (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 17 at Raiders (KXAS/5), 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 24 vs. Seattle (KDFW/4), 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Philadelphia (KDFW/4), Noon