OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys enter their seventh day of training camp by having their sixth practice. Got that? Of course your do. Here's a preview.
Days off: The Cowboys gave wide receiver Miles Austin and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher a day off on Friday. It's part of coach Jason Garrett's plan to give some veteran players a day off to rest their legs and the such. Austin has endured hamstring problems in the past so giving him a break isn't a big deal. Hatcher got hit in the calf with a ball and his groin was acting up on him a little after Wednesday's practice. Who's next? The Cowboys might give some other vets such as Jason Witten, Brandon Carr, Justin Durant and maybe even Dez Bryant a day of or so.
The defensive line rotation: It will be interesting to see what the Cowboys do at defensive line the next couple of days. Ben Bass was moved to starter at defensive end, but left Friday's practice with an ankle injury. Cameron Sheffield, who has performed well on the second team, moved up to the first team at defensive end. The Cowboys have had four first-team left defensive ends during training camp: Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, Ben Bass and now Sheffield. Bass, before he was hurt, moved back to defensive tackle with Hatcher getting an off day.
Is anything wrong with Joseph Randle?: Not really. He's still behind Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner in terms of offensive plays. When Randle does get some carries, he does a nice job of hitting the holes. But Dunbar and Tanner have experience and are more familiar with the offense than Randle. It's OK, not the end of the world. Where Randle can surpass them is in pass protection. Dunbar struggles because of his size, 5-8, 188 pounds, and Randle is 6-0 and 198 pounds and once he understands who to block and when, this is where he makes his mark.
The young wide receivers: Terrance Williams is emerging and earning first-team snaps over Dwayne Harris. Cole Beasley is off to a good start as well. So counting Dez Bryant and Austin, we've got five receivers on the 53-man roster. What about Eric Rogers, Jared Green and Anthony Armstrong? Whoever plays well on special teams could force the Cowboys hand to keep six receivers. Armstrong isn't eligible for practice squad but if the Cowboys can get Rogers and Green through waivers then maybe both of them can be retained for the unit.
What to watch for: Left guard Nate Livings made his training camp debut on Friday and worked on the first and third team offensive lines. Livings was fine on Friday, let's see how he performs on Saturday. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said Kevin Kowalski has had a good camp so far, but check out the work of David Arkin. He's struggled in pass protection and the Cowboys are hoping that improves. Sean Lee and Bruce Carter make plays all over the field. It's fun to watch how they make plays at different times. Sometimes Carter does it on the pass rush and Lee in the passing game.