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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
W2W4: Cowboys practice Day 3

By Calvin Watkins

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys begin their third day of training camp practice Tuesday morning on the West Coast.

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Injury blues and stadium news: It's early in training camp, but already the Cowboys have big news. Tyrone Crawford is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Anthony Spencer might need surgery, Jay Ratliff's return is uncertain, and Jerry Jones is close to a naming-rights deal for Cowboys Stadium. All of this came from Monday's practice. What more could happen out of Tuesday's practice?

Dez Bryant quiet so far: The Cowboys wide receiver didn't want to speak with reporters Monday, saying he'll chat with them Tuesday. Bryant has talked to ESPN's Colleen Dominguez and that's about it. Reporters will ask Bryant questions about his maturity level, of course, and whether he can have an even bigger year than last year. Bryant has been solid in the first two days of work. He's got a businesslike attitude out here during practices.

The offense is behind: Between the offensive linemen getting knocked around, dropped passes by receivers, and some uneven play by Tony Romo, the Cowboys' offense has struggled through two days. The defense has been outstanding, with an unofficial count of six forced turnovers and eight sacks in the first two days of training camp. There have been some bright spots for the offense: Doug Free, Jason Witten, Lance Dunbar and Bryant have looked good.

Miles Austin struggles: The other starting wide receiver is off to a slow start. On Sunday, he dropped a pass and fumbled. On Monday, he was marked down for a drop when he allowed safety Will Allen to snatch a pass out of his hands on a deep throw. Austin is a talented receiver and isn't in danger of losing his job -- rookie Terrance Williams has struggled, too -- but he needs to start putting together some better practices.

Closer look: If you get a chance to watch practice, check out defensive end Monte Taylor, who has replaced Crawford with the second-team defense. He's pushing the pocket and taking down ball carriers. Taylor is No. 61 in your program. All three running backs -- DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner and Dunbar -- have been solid the first two days. Watch how all three cut back when there are no holes. Romo hasn't been sharp, however, when the pocket closes in on him; watch how he moves. There were some questions about his weight coming into camp, but the quarterback is moving pretty well.