W2W4: Cowboys practice Day 4

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
11:30
AM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- The weather here is fantastic.

Wake up and it's about 60 degrees, watch practice in the late afternoon and it's in the 70s. But enough about the weather out here, let's preview the fourth day of training camp practice.

Bass vs. Wilber: Ben Bass took over as the first-team defensive end at Tuesday's practice over Kyle Wilber. Will that continue today? I assume so, but at times the Cowboys are mixing and matching players at different spots to see what they can do. Bass is a defensive tackle and Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin moved him to end. The Cowboys always want their linemen -- on the offensive and defensive sides -- to have position flexibility. This is the case with Bass. Can he maintain the spot? We'll see today.

Offense catching up: The offense gut beat up in the first two days of training camp. There were dropped passes, linemen on the ground, plenty of yelling from the coaches at the offensive players. Tuesday's third practice was different. Forget about what Dez Bryant is doing to the defense for a moment, but the interior of the line performed better Tuesday with fewer linemen hitting the ground and the quarterbacks getting more and more time to complete passes. There were more defensive coaches upset than offensive coaches. Kiffin threw his hat down twice Tuesday and secondary coach Jerome Henderson yelled at his secondary players. Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus told his group if they made a mistake they were going to run sprints.

Wide receiver battle: Let's get this out the way now: Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris and Bryant are locks to make the roster. Terrance Williams is on the 53 too because he's a third-round draft pick. Williams is getting snaps with the first-team in three receiver sets, but he's not performing like he should keep that role. Williams has dropped some passes and isn't getting off the line of scrimmage fast enough on a consistent basis. Maybe he needs more time to develop, but right now, Eric Rogers and Jared Green are playing better than him. Slot receiver Cole Beasley has been steady, but nothing special right now. If the Cowboys keep five receivers, that last spot is going to be a fight.

More hamstring issues: The Cowboys are awaiting the MRI results on backup tackle Jermey Parnell's hamstring. He's another player out because of the injury. Jay Ratliff, Mackenzy Bernadeau and James Hanna are on the list too. There's one thing for a player to get hurt as a result of getting hit or something happening in a non-contact drill, but are players getting stretched enough? Are the players following directions of the strength and conditioning staff? Something is not right.

If you come today: Practice starts at 4 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Watch for these players: B.W. Webb, who struggled Tuesday, needs to bounce back. Dez Bryant is someone you can watch every day. Tyron Smith's battles vs. DeMarcus Ware are fun. Linebacker Ernie Sims doesn't get a lot of press, but he's a solid player who understands his role; monitor how he's always around the ball.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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