OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Dallas Cowboys training camp:
From the one-on-one drills in front of the entire team to the 11-on-11 drills, the Cowboys’ defense stood up to an offense, winning a number of battles in Sunday’s workout.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Orlando Scandrick got into a brief shoving match after a series of plays in which Bryant kept coming after Scandrick at the tail end of plays. At the end of the practice, Bryant said this was the best practice the defense had. “They got in our heads,” Bryant said. “Like I told Scandrick [Saturday] when we’re talking back, it’s obviously a good sign that y’all are doing something against us. On the offensive side of the ball, we have a high standard. We want to be the best and that’s the way it’s going to be, and that’s the kind of mindset that we’re going to have and we go out there each and every day.”
Tony Romo completed 14 of 17 passes in team and seven-on-seven drills Sunday. Unofficially through training camp he is 79 of 112 in those drills. He missed connections with tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Cole Beasley on tight throws in red-zone drills. He directed the offense to a touchdown in two-minute drill work, punctuated by a DeMarco Murray draw from inside the 5 thanks to a clearing block from Mackenzy Bernadeau. On the next two-minute series, Romo was stopped by linebacker Kyle Wilber on a keeper, which might be a sign his back is feeling better since the call was for him to run.
Linebacker Rolando McClain returned to team drills for the first time in almost a week after battling through a bout of tendinitis. He made the play of the day on defense, tracking down Murray on a counter after sifting through the blocks. If he did not make the tackle, Murray would have had a long touchdown run. On the next play he sprinted to his right to tap up running back Lance Dunbar. While he might have been a fraction late, his reaction time was better than any other defender.
While the defense won the overall day, the receivers were able to dominate in tight red-zone one-on-one drills. Bryant beat Scandrick on two fades. On the first one Romo shouted, “Quit guessing Orlando.” On the second Bryant was able to pluck the ball over the top of Scandrick and pull the ball away at the last second as the corner came for the strip. The best route, however, might have been Cole Beasley’s quick work in which he faked in, jetted out and sprinted forward to the back of the end zone, tapping hit feet down for the score from Brandon Weeden.
Linebacker Bruce Carter took part in individual pass rush drills. He worked on the outside against the tackles. That might bear watching as the Cowboys continue to look for pass rush help and continue to find the right spots for Carter.
The Cowboys have their final off day during their time in Oxnard, California, on Monday.