W2W4: The last practices in Oxnard
August, 16, 2012
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys will have their 13th and final practice in Oxnard today. The team will have a walkthrough Friday before breaking camp and leaving for San Diego.
What to expect: The Cowboys are hoping to get more practice snaps for some players returning from injury, including safety Matt Johnson, who made his practice debut, albeit limited, Wednesday. Defensive end Jason Hatcher (hamstring) will also get more practice snaps after looking good in Wednesday's practice. David Arkin will continue at center and get more snaps against the first- and second-team defenses. Harland Gunn will get second-team snaps, but don't be surprised to see Pat McQuistan receive second-team snaps at center.
The weather: Let's be honest: The hottest it's been here was about 80 degrees last week. The weather is fantastic, averaging around 75 degrees for the full practices and a little cooler for the morning walkthroughs. No biggie. Oxnard is a perfect place to have practice -- grass fields, fans on top of you along the sidelines and sunshine. Coach Jason Garrett is right: You're not putting players in boiling water; you're practicing under the sunshine of California.
James Hanna and John Phillips: The Big Two will see plenty of snaps at tight end the next few days with Jason Witten (spleen) out for the remainder of preseason. Phillips is the starter, and Hanna will be the backup. The interesting deal about these two is Hanna is a better receiver than Phillips, but they each can improve on their blocking.
What to read: Our columnist, Jean-Jacques Taylor says nobody is to blame for Witten's injury. Doug Free did miss a block.
Morris Claiborne is expected to play in the second preseason game at San Diego. Here's a news story on it.
Todd Archer wraps up Wednesday's practice in his daily camp observations.