My thoughts from the Monday’s Cowboys practice, which was the final full open practice to the media:
1. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has yet to play in a preseason game but he took part in the full practice on Monday. Bryant looked good and active. He appears to be ready to go for the season opener on Sept. 13. He will not play against the Houston Texans on Thursday.
2. Rookie top pick Byron Jones got the start at free safety because J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath were out nursing injuries. Jones was a cornerback in college. The Cowboys think Jones’ might have a future at free safety and have long pictured him as a ball-hawking centerfielder. He has played cornerback, safety and in the dime package in camp.
3. Rookie tight end Geoff Swaim got some action with the starters during 7-on-7 drills and even caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo. Swaim continues to show abilities as a receiver he didn’t get to showcase at Texas.
4. It was good seeing middle linebacker Rolando McClain back at practice for the first time and lined up next to weak side linebacker Sean Lee for the first time. McClain practiced on a limited basis but the time on the field this week with Lee is invaluable considering he will be gone next week to serve a four-game suspension.
5. Linebacker Andrew Gachkar was back playing musical chairs at linebacker. Gachkar opened training camp at strong side linebacker. He was then moved to weak side linebacker before starting last the preseason game at middle linebacker. When McClain was on the field in the middle, Gachkar was back at strong side with the first team ahead of Kyle Wilber.
6. Cornerback Brandon Carr is finding the way to play and make plays with that fractured hand. He had a pick in the preseason game against the Vikings Saturday and followed that up with a pick Tony Romo in practice Monday.
7. The Cowboys have yet to attempt a 2-point conversion in a game but they practice the situation on Monday. Tony Romo made it count with a pass to running back Joseph Randle.
8. Guard Zack Martin didn’t participate in the full practice but he did work with the starters in the walk through. He also did some individual drills as he continues to work back from a bad stinger that has kept him out of the last two preseason games. Martin wore a neck roll to protect the stinger.
9. Defensive tackle Davon Coleman remains in a fight for a roster spot and he was in a spirited move on Monday, getting in brief scuffles with guards Ronald Patrick and La’el Collins.
10. The Cowboys held a night practice at AT&T Stadium and it was alumni night with players from past teams invited to watch before joint dinner at the stadium club. The Cowboys gave them an old school practice as coach Jason Garrett had the team working in pads two just days after Saturday’s preseason game against the Vikings and despite a short week with the Houston Texans up Thursday in the preseason final.