My Thoughts from Cowboys practice on Tuesday:
1. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett displayed sharp focus as the media raced toward the fire that raged outside the Cowboys training camp Tuesday. Garrett was on the field getting in a workout, probably listening to Bruce Springsteen on his head phones. He didn’t bat an eye at the fire. He will probably come up with some life lessen to the team about staying focused on the task at hand no matter the crisis.
2. Garrett refused to say which players would sit out in the preseason opener against the Chargers, but you got a good idea watching practice. Quarterback Tony Romo, tackle Doug Free and tight end Jason Witten were healthy scratches from the portion focused on Chargers game prep. Running back Joseph Randle (oblique) and receiver Dez Bryant (hamstring) are obviously out.
3. It is interesting that rookie running back Gus Johnson will get the start against the Chargers. It’s even more interesting that fullback Tyler Clutts will get second-team reps at running back, putting both players ahead of former Baylor star Lache Seastrunk on the depth chart.
4. Cornerback Morris Claiborne is also expected to be held out of the Chargers game but continues to look good in practice. He had a good series with blanket coverage on Terrance Williams on back-to-back plays Tuesday.
5. Kicker Dan Bailey suffered only his third fieldd-goal miss of training camp when he was errant from 50 yards out Tuesday. He is human.
6. Receiver A.J. Jenkins is showing the Cowboys why he was a bust of a first-round pick with the 49ers and washed out in Kansas City before coming to Dallas. He drops passes at an alarming rate for a guy who is the most experienced receiver in camp not named Dez Bryant. The Cowboys hoped he could give them a veteran option behind Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. They are almost ready to give up on him.
7. Running back Darren McFadden is doing all he can to get healthy and get back on the field. The Cowboys expect him to practice on Saturday. He spent time after practice on Tuesday working with former Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek.
8. The Cowboys switched their practice schedule Tuesday. They did the padded practice in the morning and the walk-through in the afternoon. It has been the other way around every other day in camp.Garrett said they changed it so they can get a feel for the regular season. They have Wednesday off before Thursday’s preseason opener against the Chargers.
“The idea there is to kind of simulate a Friday in the NFL during the regular season so you come in, get your work in the morning and then they’ll have a little time off,” Garrett said.
9. The Cowboys’ defense had a couple of would-be sacks of quarterback Tony Romo in team drills by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jeremy Mincey. The pass rush units of Lawrence, Mincey, Tyrone Crawford and Greg Hardy or Mincey, Hardy, Crawford and Randy Gregory are going to be something to watch on Thursday.
10. Garrett put the Cowboys through a light practice Tuesday night getting them ready for the San Diego game. But there was nothing light about is coaching intensity as he took the Cowboys through late-game situations, using several choice curse words to drive his point home.