OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Dallas Cowboys training camp:
Linebacker Rolando McClain is expected to be at Saturday’s walkthrough after being found guilty of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct from an incident in April 2013. He appealed the decision and was on a plane for California after the trial.
“We’ve got to learn a little more about it, but I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to keep him from playing,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said.
The Cowboys were aware of McClain’s trial when they made the trade with the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to Jason Garrett speaking with Alabama coach Nick Saban, Jones spoke with Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome.
“I had a great visit with Ozzie, very comfortable with what he’s been through,” Jones said. “That’s why we decided to make the decision we did.”
Jones said the Cowboys will ease McClain into practice once he arrives.
The Cowboys completed their two-day ease into training camp with their second straight practice in which the offense and defense did not work against each other in drills. Jason Garrett, Jones and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said they liked how the players handled the work and the emphasis on fundamentals before the pads come on for Saturday’s workout. “You get guys hurt the first couple days like we did last year and you look for ways to do things a little different,” Jones said.
Wide receiver Dwayne Harris was one of the better kick returners in the NFL last season and will be the Cowboys’ top returner this season, but the Cowboys had a cast of characters working it on Friday. Harris, who averaged 30.6 yards a return in 2013, was joined by Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Ben Malena, J.J. Wilcox, Devin Street, B.W. Webb, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams, Joseph Randle and Tim Benford in kick return drills.
The best part of training camp is getting up close to see the instruction the coaches give to the players. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson had the cornerbacks working on a walk-off release by wide receivers, telling his players to be mindful of hand placement. With receivers getting lower off the line, cornerbacks need to aim their hands at the receiver’s chest to make sure they don’t draw flags for illegal contact or contact to the face.
During the special teams’ portion of practice, tight ends coach Mike Pope put Jason Witten through an interesting drill in which Witten tossed a ball in the air, had to catch a pass from Pope and then corral the ball he initially tossed in the air. Once he mastered that, Pope had him do the same with his back to the coach, toss the ball, turn around and have to catch both passes. Later on Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray joined in the drill.