Dallas Cowboys

Five takeaways from the Dallas Cowboys' first week of OTAs

Coach Jason Garrett heads to Dallas Cowboys training camp on the hot seat for the first time.
Coach Jason Garrett heads to Dallas Cowboys training camp on the hot seat for the first time. Star-Telegram

The Cowboys are in their first of three weeks of organized team activities (OTAs). Right guard Zack Martin is a notable player who isn’t taking part in the practice portion, as he holds out in hope of reaching a long-term deal with the team.

Also, it’s the first time in years that the Cowboys have held a practice session without Jason Witten at tight end or Dez Bryant at wide receiver. Anyway, on to the observations from Day 1:

Former Cowboys tight end and current Monday Night Football announcer Jason Witten accepted the Roger Staubach Award at the Emmitt Smith Rising Stars Gala. Witten retired after 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

1. Wide receiver Terrance Williams made headlines for the wrong reasons last weekend, being arrested for public intoxication. Coach Jason Garrett didn’t offer much of an update on Williams, declining to speak in detail because of an “ongoing investigation.”

“I have spoken to Terrance a couple of times about it,” Garrett said. “I don’t really have a comment about what he and I talked about, but he’s been in our building the last couple of days working out. He hasn’t practiced because he’s coming off a knee injury, but he’s part of our team.”

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo thinks receiver Terrance Williams could emerge in 2018. The team is looking for Dez Bryant's replacement.

As Garrett stated, Williams wasn’t going to participate in the OTAs because of the injury. Still, it’s got to be frustrating for a coach who preaches about the “right kind of guy” to have this situation come up.

“It’s something we try to address with our players and staff all the time, about how to handle themselves both on and off the field,” Garrett said. “There’s a lot of resources that we have. Again, not talking specifically about his incident, but just stuff that we try to emphasize to our team, in general.”

2. Along with Williams and Martin, several other players were held out of on-field drills, including linebacker Sean Lee and defensive tackles Maliek Collins and David Irving.

Lee, who has never played a full 16-game season in his career, acknowledged the encouraged rest is probably the best way to go about it.

“This time of year, I’ve got to put the governor on,” Lee said, smiling.

Collins, meanwhile, continues to recover from foot surgery and likely won’t be ready until the middle of training camp. Irving is “trying to get himself in shape,” Garrett said.

Irving has been sporadic in his attendance during the off-season program.

3. OTAs are known as the “underwear Olympics.” But here are a few observations from practice:

With Martin out, Chaz Green worked at right guard with the first team during Wednesday’s practice. Green had a forgettable season a year ago, particularly the debacle in Atlanta when he couldn’t contain the edge rush of Adrian Clayborn.

Starting at tight end was Geoff Swaim, now the most-tenured tight end on the roster after the recent retirement of Jason Witten. Swaim is entering his fourth season with the team.

Blake Jarwin, signed as an undrafted free agent last year, also got first-team reps at tight end.

4. Garrett has been pleased with the progress Byron Jones has made in his move back to cornerback. Garrett said the organization had no regrets about using Jones at safety the past two seasons.

Jones made a play, too, breaking up a ball intended for Deonte Thompson. Defensive backs made a couple other plays, too.

Donovan Olumba, an undrafted corner out of Portland State, came away with an interception off a deflection on a pass by Dalton Sturm. Sturm threw an interception later in practice to former Texas A&M quarterback-turned-DB Jameill Showers.

5. Boxer and DFW native Errol Spence Jr. attended practice Wednesday and promoted his June 16 fight at the Ford Center.

Spence (23-0, 20 knockouts) said he is expecting to come away with a knockout of Carlos Ocampo.

“My whole motto is ‘man down,’ ” said Spence, a 2012 Olympian. “It’s not pressure, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get it [the KO] when I let it come to me.”

Spence said he wouldn’t “duck” any fight against a Cowboys player, too, especially a wide receiver or quarterback. So he’d like his chances against quarterback Dak Prescott?

“Oh, yeah, definitely,” Spence said. “Definitely.”

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott discusses the team's decision to release receiver Dez Bryant.

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