- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Dallas Cowboys training camp:
Saturday’s practice featured goal-line and short-yardage drills, which also meant the first "live" reps of training camp. "It’s the first time you can really strap it on and go against each other," tight end Jason Witten said. "It creates a competitive edge for you to go full speed like that and gets guys in a football mindset. It was good for us to get the work."
Depending on how you want to count the snaps, the offense and defense won. With the top offense going against the top defense, the defense got stops on two of three plays, but they let up a Joseph Randle touchdown on the first carry with a run over Mackenzy Bernadeau and Tyron Smith. Safety Barry Church forced a throwaway on an out-of-pocket pass by Brandon Weeden, and Ryan Williams was stopped short of the goal line by a mass of tacklers. "It was good but it wasn’t good enough," defensive tackle Nick Hayden said. "We gave up the first one, a touchdown, so obviously if we do that in a game we don’t get two more chances. We’ve just got to be better that way and stop them all three times."
As they did last year in camp, the Cowboys did not give DeMarco Murray any of the goal-line snaps in order to preserve the Cowboys’ top rusher. "We know DeMarco can get a yard," passing game coordinator Scott Linehan said. "I think the whole thing is to see these younger players, get some reps to see how they respond. That’s not uncommon to do that." Murray had a career-high nine rushing touchdowns last season.
Cornerback DaShaun Phillips left practice early with a hamstring injury leaving the Cowboys with only four cornerbacks for practice: Orlando Scandrick, B.W. Webb, Terrance Mitchell and Tyler Patmon. As a result safety Jakar Hamilton took work as the nickel cornerback, working the slot for the first time in camp. The Cowboys are hopeful Sterling Moore (groin) can return quickly after missing two practices. Morris Claiborne is resting a sore knee, and Brandon Carr will not be back to camp until after the preseason opener at the San Diego Chargers. Patmon came up with an interception of Caleb Hanie on a comeback to Jamar Newsome.
How important is downfield blocking for wide receivers coach Derek Dooley? He had his crew working the blocking sled during individual drill.
The Cowboys will hold their Blue-White scrimmage at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The veterans go through a normal practice, and the younger players will have live tackling.