My thoughts from Thursday’s practice:
1. And on the fifth day Tony Romo rested. Romo practiced for four straight days for the first time since 2012 earlier this week. Even though the Cowboys were coming off an off day on Wednesday, he got a rest day on Thursday. Still, don’t look for Romo to be in there too long against the 49ers on Sunday. The Cowboys could be without three if not four starting offensive linemen because of injuries. They are not going to put Romo at risk for too long.
2. Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden worked with the starters in place of a resting Tony Romo. He looked sharp, throwing a nice touchdown passes to running back Lance Dunbar coming out of the backfield on a wheel route and to tight Jason Witten over the middle.
3. Tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free practiced today with the first time. It’s the first work for Smith in more than a week because of a biceps strain. He is unlikely to play against the 49ers Sunday but it’s a good indication that the injury is not serious and he will be back soon. Darrion Weems will start at left tackle against the 49ers.
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4. Running back Darren McFadden got most of the first team reps with Joseph Randle sidelined with a strained oblique. McFadden looks fresh, fast and spry. He has nice footwork and does a good job with ropes in running back drills as well as cutting in and out of space.
5. Running backs coach Gary Brown had Freudian slip of sorts when he was trying to compliment McFadden and said “D-Mo” rather than “D-Mac”. “D-Mo” is former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the 2014 NFL leading rusher, who is now with the Eagles.
6. Kyle Wilber is getting more and more comfortable at middle linebacker. He was moved there last week from strong side linebacker. Wilber has played end and outside linebacker. He has never played in the middle. The Cowboys think he could be a good fit in the middle because of his size. Rod Marinelli likes big, tall middle linebackers in his scheme. Wilber, previously known mostly as a pass rusher, showed promise in coverage by batting down a ball from Jameill Showers to Ben Malena.
7. Cornerback Brandon Carr returned to practice with a padded glove to protect his fractured hand. He even had a pass deflection, though it’s unlikely he plays in the preseason out of precaution.
8. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick returned to practice after sitting out more than a week with a knee injury. He says he feels the best he’s felt all camp and certainly looks the part. Scandrick admittedly struggled earlier in camp and he blamed his issues and his injury on missing part of the offseason in a contract dispute.
9. Receiver A.J. Jenkins had his best day in camp. Maybe it’s because he is getting ready to see his former team on Sunday in the San Francisco 49ers or because he has seen the Cowboys cut three receivers already in camp and knows he could be next if he doesn’t step up.
10. Rookie tight end Geoff Swaim had a nice touchdown catch in the back of the end zone. He continues to show he has better hands than he displayed at Texas where he didn’t get many opportunities to catch the ball. He needs to make more of an impact as a blocker.