Updates: No. 2 QB Named; Smith & Lewis' Status – DallasCowboys.com

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#2 CB
3:26 p.m. – The feel in the air is that Jourdan Lewis will, in fact, be on the field when the Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on Sept. 11 – barring any unexpected setbacks.
Lewis has made great strides in his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered in mid-August, and recently noted he’d begun running and remains on track for the regular season opener, and this sentiment was mirrored by head coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.
“Doing very well,” said McCarthy. “…The goal is to hopefully get him out there on Monday… he’s doing really well.”
The veteran cornerback participated in individual drills on Wednesday but not team drills, with McCarthy also leaving the door open for Lewis to potentially return to the field for team work as early as Thursday. Lewis is coming off of a career-best season in nearly every category and will be key in trying to keep a lid on Tom Brady and the Bucs offense.
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#10 QB
3:31 p.m. – The battle for the seat behind Dak Prescott has effectively ended one day after both Cooper Rush and Will Grier were both set free during roster cutdowns on Tuesday. As expected, the Cowboys re-signed both to the team’s 17-man practice squad as they continue to finalize their roster, but McCarthy has already penciled in who’ll be on the sideline in Week 1.
“Cooper [Rush] will be our No. 2,” said McCarthy.
Grier applied some very real pressure to Rush in training camp but was slowed by a groin injury in August that held him out of reps against the Denver Broncos before he eventually returned to play against both the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.
Rush was solid enough to hold off Grier in the battle for QB2, aided by his familiarity with the system run in Dallas by offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, having been with the Cowboys since joining as an undrafted free agent in 2017 – his only stint elsewhere being a short stay with the New York Giants in 2020 before returning to North Texas that same season.
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#73 OL
2:45 p.m. – After sitting out last week with a sprained ankle, rookie offensive lineman Tyler Smith was practicing again during the portion open to the media on Wednesday.
Smith appears to be the leading candidate to replace left tackle Tyron Smith (hamstring) in the starting lineup Sept. 11 against the Bucs.
The first-round pick from Tulsa spent most of the offseason practicing at left guard but is back to tackle, the position he played in college.
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#2 CB
2:40 p.m. – Cornerback Jourdan Lewis was not practicing during the open portion Wednesday, still recovering from the hamstring strain he suffered during a joint practice with the Chargers two weeks ago. Lewis has not gone on short-term injured reserve, though, which indicates the Cowboys are optimistic he won’t miss much more time.
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#72 DT
8:41 a.m. – There are some very difficult decisions awaiting the Cowboys on Tuesday, and they have only until 4 p.m. ET to make them. The cutdown from 80 players to the mandatory count of 53 must happen today, but it’s unclear which positions will run rich on the roster and which will run lean, although owner and general manager Jerry Jones did give insight into which category the defensive line will likely fall into.
“I’m going to go to the center of the defensive line,” Jones told 105.3 FM the Fan on Tuesday morning. “Trysten Hill has really had a great camp and has come back with the kind of energy – he’s always had the skills and the quick-twitch that we wanted. And [Quinton] Bohanna, the big nose tackle in there. If you look at where we are inside, we’re beefed up. And that’s what we wanted.”
Hill, a former second-round pick entering the most pivotal season of his young NFL career, has flashed in this year’s training camp and stands to be a contributor for the Cowboys in 2022. The same goes for Bohanna and others like Chauncey Golston, Osa Odighizuwa and Neville Gallimore, to name a few.
It sounds as if the defensive line in Dallas may be willing to run plus-one or plus-two to keep one of the strongest units on the team whole, but it’s a numbers game, and that means reducing the number of bodies in one of the other position groups.
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#13 WR
2:11 p.m. – Michael Gallup isn’t putting a timetable on his return to practice and game action.
“That’s all up to the trainers,” he said at last week’s Season Kickoff Event.
But the fifth-year receiver continues to make progress in his rehab from February ACL surgery. He’s currently still on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list, a designation that has kept him out of preseason practice and games.
Last week, Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones indicated that Gallup won’t have to start the season on PUP, which requires a minimum four-game stay on the reserve list. If not, that means Gallup could be ready to return to the lineup sometime in September or early October.
“I’m back to running routes now, actually getting to catch balls now,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot more I’ve really got to do.”
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#54 DE
12:12 a.m. – The rookie pass-rusher has been active for most of the preseason, but he got his first sack on Friday night.
Williams also added two more tackles for loss, capping the three exhibition games with his best performance.
Williams, a second-round pick from Ole Miss, is definitely making the team, but he’s making a push to have an active role in pass-rushing situations.
Williams also had five tackles, but did have two more penalties – both personal fouls.
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#1 CB
7:28 p.m. – Second-year cornerback Kelvin Joseph, who has started every game this preseason, suffered a head injury in the first quarter Friday night against the Seahawks.
Joseph was taken to the locker room for further evaluation.
He was replaced by DaRon Bland and Isaac Taylor-Stuart at cornerback.
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#18 WR
5:01 p.m. – Don’t bank on seeing the Cowboys add a free agent wide receiver to the roster at any point before the regular season gets underway on Sept. 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – barring injury of some sort – the headline thought being the Cowboys potentially carrying Michael Gallup on the active roster as he nears his return to the field.
It’s a stance the team has remained firm on since losing James Washington to a foot injury early in camp, but owner Jerry Jones doubled down on it heading into the final preseason game versus the visiting Seahawks.
“I feel better than I did when Washington went down in training camp — I feel better,” said Jones. “We’ve got some head scratching to do here soon. No room to add [a free agent].”
Jones went on to praise rookie third-round pick Jalen Tolbert, who has had a strong camp in practices but struggled in his first two preseason games, after Tolbert delivered “the best practice he’s had in camp” on Tuesday at The Star in Frisco. It’s a foregone conclusion he’ll have a key role in Year 1 and that expectation combines with the progress of Gallup and the trajectory of players like Noah Brown, Dennis Houston, KaVontae Turpin and Simi Fehoko.
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Head Coach
6:00 p.m. – At the moment, the Cowboys no longer have an internal kicker competition after waiving Lirim Hajrullahu earlier Tuesday to reach the preseason 80-man roster limit.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said Hajrullahu has done “an excellent job” in training camp, but Brett Maher – signed midway through the Oxnard portion of camp – will now get a chance to seize the job in Friday’s preseason finale against Seattle.
“This 80 cut is difficult,” McCarthy said. “Factor in playing in this last game, the other factors, we just felt Brett was in front and give him this opportunity to be the kicker, be the guy in preseason (game) three.
“Just the way he’s striking the ball, I’ve just been so impressed with him since starting with the workout too. If you look at his kickoffs, it’s something that’s something that’s probably the difference between both him and Lirim and gave him the nod too. … He definitely has excellent leg strength and he’s kicking with a lot of confidence right now.”
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#13 WR
5:10 p.m. — There’s great news to be had in regards to Michael Gallup. The veteran wide receiver continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered in 2021, and was recently seen running routes and moving fluidly on a separate field in Los Angeles while his teammates scrimmaged the Chargers.
On Tuesday, McCarthy sounded upbeat and optimistic about the chances of Gallup potentially returning by late September, and that could also factor into how the Cowboys decide to form their roster during the final cutdowns next week.
“[Team trainer Britt Brown] feels really good about Gallup’s progress. There have been no setbacks. … We’ve been really blessed that he’s doing so well.”
Gallup signed a five-year extension this offseason and is set to be the long-term complement to CeeDee Lamb, but he must first return to the field and to prime form that saw him become one of the biggest game changers in the NFL. And it sounds like his return date is rapidly, albeit steadily, approaching.
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Head Coach
5:00 p.m. — There will be no change in how the Cowboys approach their final preseason game when the Seattle Seahawks walk onto the field at AT&T Stadium on Friday. As noted by head coach Mike McCarthy ahead of practice on Tuesday, the approach for preseason game No. 3 will mirror that of the matchups against the Broncos and Chargers.
“We’re gonna work our [starters] as much as possible these next two days [of practice] … We anticipate we will play the third game as we did the last two.”
This clears the way for one final shot at forming the depth chart at key positions like quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback, to name a few. The Cowboys reduced their roster from 85 to 80 on Tuesday and have one final cutdown that must occur prior to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 30 – shaving the count down to a mandatory 53.
McCarthy will use Friday’s matchup as an opportunity to hopefully give Will Grier “a chunk” of reps in his battle with Cooper Rush, and that won’t be the only roster battle going on, another example being the battle at RB behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
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11:01 p.m. — The Cowboys continued to rotate kickers Brett Maher and Lirim Hajrullahu on Saturday against the Chargers as that preseason competition continues.
Maher, who made multiple 60-plus-yard field goals in his first stint with the Cowboys (2018-19), narrowly missed from 61 Saturday. Hajrullahu made his only field goal try (35 yards). Both kickers combined for four touchbacks and 4-of-4 extra point attempts.
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#9 WR
8:45 p.m. – Turpin didn’t turn down after proving himself with a 98-yard touchdown against the Chargers, dipping back into his bag for an 86-yard explosion just ahead of halftime to add a second touchdown to his night.
It seems a foregone conclusion he’s now secured a spot on the final roster, and the Cowboys are hinting at it by removing him from return duty to start the second half.
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#9 WR
7:32 p.m. – KaVontae Turpin just made a convincing argument for a roster spot.
Turpin, the dynamic rookie return man/receiver, gave the Cowboys a 7-3 first-quarter lead over the Chargers with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown here at SoFi Stadium.
Turpin, who starred in the USFL before signing with the Cowboys early in training camp, is pushing for a spot on the 53.
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#15 QB
6:25 p.m. – With Dak Prescott (and many more Cowboys starters) expected to be rested in Saturday’s preseason game against the Chargers, that means the snaps will be distributed among the backup quarterbacks.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said on Cowboys Countdown To Kickoff that backup Cooper Rush will start Saturday, Will Grier will play the middle of the game and Ben DiNucci is expected to finish the game.
Grier will be making his preseason debut after missing last Saturday’s game at Denver with a groin injury. He’s had a solid training camp competing with Rush for the No. 2 job.
#2 CB
11:45 a.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t have a specific timetable for cornerback Jourdan Lewis’ hamstring injury but said he won’t practice the rest of this week.
Lewis pulled his hamstring toward the end of Wednesday’s joint practice with the Chargers.
“It’s too early really to tell until he gets into the rehab process,” McCarthy said, “but I think the immediate goal is to get him ready for Week 1.”
While Lewis is out, McCarthy said the team will work different combinations in the nickel defense. It likely will mean more reps for young players such as a rookie DaRon Bland.
#88 WR
11:44 a.m. – Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (foot) will not practice for a second straight day, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates Lamb returning to practice next week.
McCarthy said wide receiver Noah Brown (toe) will not practice Thursday either, but it also doesn’t sound like a long-term issue.
Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle’s Achilles’ soreness has flared up again, so he also won’t practice Thursday.
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#88 WR
3:21 p.m. – CeeDee Lamb is not expected to practice this week against the Chargers because of a minor cut on his foot that required stitches.
Lamb was at practice in Irvine, Calif. at the Chargers’ facility, but didn’t suit up. He’s likely going to miss a few days of practice next week.
Lamb probably wasn’t scheduled to play Saturday night against the Chargers, or next Friday against Seattle, regardless of the injury.
His setback opened the door for other young receivers, such as Simi Fehoko, Noah Brown and Dennis Houston to get more reps. KaVontae Turpin also got more snaps and had one of his best days since joining the team.
#21 RB
1:17 p.m. – Ezekiel Elliott made it a point to set the tone early for the Cowboys and their offense, presumably after having a sour taste in his mouth following what happened in Denver – when Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb mowed through him with a dirty hit last Thursday.
On Wednesday, facing the Chargers in the first of two scrimmages that’ll take place this week, Elliott laid the boom in Los Angeles. The two-time NFL rushing champ took a handoff from Dak Prescott and burst into the second level of the defense, where safety Nasir Adderley met him for a battle that ended with Elliott rattling off more yards and Adderley literally searching for his helmet (it was knocked off).
“That’s the type of tone I’m trying to set every time I step on the field, period,” said Elliott of the physicality displayed against Adderley and the Chargers.
Now fully recovered from a torn PCL in his knee that slowed him during the back half of the 2021 season, Elliott has seen his explosiveness and power return over the course of 2022 training camp.
#9 WR
1:06 p.m. – Have yourself a day, KaVontae Turpin. The speedy returner is showing he’s more than simply a guy who can impact a game on special teams, and the Chargers now understand that completely.
Turpin was the recipient of several targets during Wednesday’s scrimmage in Los Angeles, and his first impressive grab was a super athletic two-hand stretch grab on the sideline for a completion, but after dropping his next target, he channeled his frustration into a fourth-down conversion that was easily the biggest highlight of the day – a downfield catch in double coverage that then required him to get both feet down inbounds to complete the process.
“The play before, I dropped the ball and I was frustrated,” said Turpin. “When I saw them call the next play, I knew it had a chance to come to me, so I ran my route and saw [the ball] in the air and told myself, ‘I gotta make this play.'”
And so he did, carving his name into the WR depth chart in the process, at least at the moment; but he’ll seemingly get plenty more chances over the next couple of weeks to see if he can replicate what he put on practice film today.
#42 LB
7:20 p.m. – Linebacker Anthony Barr has passed his physical, according to the NFL’s transactions page, paving the way for him to begin practicing as early as Wednesday’s joint practice against the Chargers.
Barr has been on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list since signing with the Cowboys on Aug. 4, going through a conditioning ramp-up period before starting practice.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that the hope is for Barr to at least participate in individual drills Wednesday.
#55 LB
11:57 a.m. – For now, linebacker Anthony Barr is still on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues a conditioning ramp-up before joining practice. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Barr could be activated from PUP in time for Wednesday’s joint practice against the Chargers.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is excited to play with Barr, who signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys midway through training camp.
“With his knowledge and what he brings, he’s obviously a vet and he’s got a few years on me, so there’s things I can learn from him. But getting him up to speed with this defense and what he’s used to, he picks it up so fast. He’s used to the game of football. So he’s picking up things really fast, the communication and everything. He knows all the tricks of the game. Having him out there with me and playing next to each other is super fun.”
#70 G
11:01 a.m. – Zack Martin isn’t walking into his first rodeo this week when the Cowboys scrimmage the Los Angeles Chargers not once, but twice ahead of the preseason clash at SoFi Stadium on Saturday. And while Martin won’t take a single snap this weekend, he’ll get plenty of work on Wednesday and Thursday – along with Tyron Smith, Dak Prescott and the other starters – and this time the offensive line will be tested against a defensive line in LA that is arguably more troublesome than what the Broncos presented
“It’s going to be huge for us,” said Martin on Tuesday. “We played them last year and I think they’ve gotten better on defense in the offseason. It’s going to be a great test for us. They’ve got two elite guys coming off the edge. …. It’ll be big for us — these two [scrimmages].”
It’s no secret things can get a bit rambunctious during scrimmages, however, as it did last week versus the Broncos. And with a second scrimmage set against the Chargers, and with history showing what that second joint practice can devolve into, Martin is expecting (hoping?) there won’t be any chippiness that crosses a line – e.g., the hit delivered last Thursday on Ezekiel Elliott by Bradley Chubb.
“In my experience, the second day has always been a little bit of a – I don’t know what the word I’m looking for here is – adventure,” said a grinning Martin. “But it’ll be good. It will be good. I think we kinda got some of that out in Denver, hopefully, and we can just get to football. And I think the Chargers are on the same page, so we can just go out there and have to very solid workdays and have good reps for our guys out there.”
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#27 S
5:12 p.m. – Don’t expect to see Jayron Kearse on the field this week as he continues to work through injury, and the team sees no reason to force the issue and potentially create a setback.
The veteran safety is recovering from back tightness that held him out of last week’s scrimmage against the Broncos and the preseason game to follow and, on Monday, McCarthy was proactive in ruling Kearse out of any practices in Los Angeles – which inevitably means he will also not suit up in the second preseason game, either.
This will grant more opportunities yet again for others, most notably undrafted free agent Markquese Bell, whom the coaching staff has praised for the entirety of training camp.
Bell is being utilized as a flex player – safety and linebacker – in the same way Kearse has been, giving defensive coordinator Dan Quinn an added weapon when Kearse exits games for rest this season.
#15 QB
5:13 p.m. – It wasn’t a great showing for Cooper Rush on Saturday against the Broncos, being outdueled by Ben DiNucci, but the story of the backup QB position in Dallas won’t be fully told until Will Grier takes the field this August to give the Cowboys an idea of where things really stand in the battle behind Dak Prescott.
Grier, who is working through a groin injury, was held out of all activities against the Broncos, but McCarthy is “hopeful” the young quarterback can take the field against the Chargers.
If Grier can play in Los Angeles, he’ll have a chance to try and build upon the momentum he’s established in training camp practices, but he’ll have fewer reps to achieve this goal – seeing as both Rush and DiNucci already have a one game lead in that category.
The key day to focus on for Grier will be Thursday, because if he’s not yet returned to the field by then, the likelihood of the Cowboys allowing him to take the field on Saturday becomes slim.
#77 T
5:15 p.m. – Tyron Smith exited last week’s scrimmage against the Broncos with an apparent ankle injury, but the Cowboys maintain it was more of a precautionary decision than anything.
There’s now evidence to the latter, with McCarthy clearing his All-Pro left tackle to return to practice this week in Los Angeles. The continued health of Smith will be paramount to just how effective the Cowboys offensive line can be in 2022.
The backup tackle position is a very real concern for the Cowboys as, as such, the team had no plans to play Smith against the Broncos in the preseason opener – instead using the opportunity to assess Josh Ball, Isaac Alarcon and others.
That said, even with Smith returning to practice, it’s not a foregone conclusion he’ll be in uniform to protect either Rush, Grier or DiNucci. In fact, the safe bet is he will not.
#42 LB
5:21 p.m. – The time is near for Anthony Barr to strap on a helmet for the Cowboys.
The newly-signed free agent linebacker remains on physically unable to perform (PUP) list heading into Tuesday, but head coach Mike McCarthy is hoping Barr can take the field for his first practice on Wednesday — participating in individual drills, at minimum – ahead of the coming scrimmages against the Chargers.
McCarthy made it clear last week he’d like to see Barr in “at least one practice” before entertaining any preseason reps for the four-time Pro Bowler, and that means a possible activation from the PUP list and subsequent practice opens the door for the possibility of seeing him on the field as early as this week against the Chargers.
But for a player who, to his own admission, is being acclimated to training camp after “having not played in seven or eight months”, it’s more likely McCarthy would want more than one practice before asking Barr to combat another team, though time will tell how it all plays out.
#87 TE
12:23 p.m. – When rookie tight end Jake Ferguson got in the game Saturday in Denver, he didn’t look like a player who had missed most of camp.
Ferguson was one of the two starting tight ends in the lineup, and caught all three of his targets for 29 yards, including a 19-yard pass-and-catch over the middle.
The fourth-round pick from Wisconsin had been hobbled for over a week with a hamstring injury in Oxnard, but made a big impression on the field.
Ferguson is expected to get more playing time in the preseason, especially with starter Dalton Schultz likely to be limited, if not held out completely until the start of the season.
#18 WR
11:11 p.m. – Rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert sees plenty he can improve on following his NFL debut Saturday.
Starting at receiver against the Broncos, Tolbert caught two passes for 10 yards on seven targets from quarterback Cooper Rush. One of those missed targets was a fourth-down drop.
“Just got in there too fast,” Tolbert said. “That’s something that I’ve got to work on. That’s a learning experience for me. I’ve got make that play. Next time it comes to me, fourth down or first down, I’m going to make that play.
“I think I won some routes early on and I think that we had our opportunities there. Overall, the outcome didn’t come out what we wanted it to be. But we can go back to work and keep competing against each other and come out next week and improve upon what we just put out there.”
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#73 OL
6:34 p.m. — Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said on Pregame Live that first-round draft pick Tyler Smith will get a “load” of snaps in Saturday’s preseason opener at Denver, and Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that Smith is expected to start at left guard Saturday, with Connor McGovern starting at right guard in place of All-Pro Zack Martin (rest).
Smith and McGovern have been competing at left guard through the first two weeks of training camp.
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#77 T
11:21 a.m. – The Cowboys didn’t seem overly concerned, but veteran tackle Tyron Smith sustained an ankle injury near the end of Thursday’s practice with the Broncos.
Smith fought through the injury for most of team drills but eventually was held out for the final plays for precautionary measures.
Injuries have plagued Smith in recent years. He has missed three or more games in every season since 2014, including six last year. While Smith still made his eighth Pro Bowl in 2021, he’s been hampered mostly by neck and back issues.
Smith is not expected to play Saturday night against the Broncos, and like could miss all three preseason games to fully prepare for the Sept. 11 opener with the Bucs.
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9:21 a.m. – The rookie defensive tackle has been impressive for most of camp, but he had to leave practice Thursday against Denver with a knee injury.
Ridgeway was able to limp off on his own power, but the Cowboys’ medical team held him out for the rest of the practice.
It’s unclear on Ridgeway’s status for the game, along with tight end Ian Bunting, who had to leave practice with a neck issue.
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#27 S
10:05 a.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy said safety Jayron Kearse (back) will be hard-pressed to participate in Thursday’s joint practice with the Broncos. Kearse has missed the last two practices with back tightness, and the Cowboys are being careful with his workload.
Cornerback Trevon Diggs did not practice Tuesday but has a chance to participate Thursday. McCarthy said Diggs is just dealing with a little soreness and the Cowboys are managing his reps this week.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was held out of team drills Tuesday simply as part of workload management.
McCarthy said linebacker Anthony Barr (Active/Physically Unable to Perform list) will not make his practice debut against the Broncos. Barr, who had been a free agent since March signed last week, is going through a ramp-up period before starting practice.
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#15 QB
9:47 a.m. – Will Grier left practice this week with a groin injury and no decision has been made regarding his status for the coming clash with the Denver Broncos. At best, the second-year QB has a slight chance of playing in the preseason game on Saturday but, at worst, he’ll be sidelined entirely – from both the scrimmage and the game itself – head coach Mike McCarthy noting Grier will be evaluated by the team’s training staff on Friday. Grier is currently locked in an impressive battle for QB2 with Cooper Rush and an absence would allow more reps for Ben DiNucci.
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Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Secondary
11:39 a.m. – Cowboys defensive backs coach Joe Whitt will not be attending this week’s game in Denver for personal reasons.
The Cowboys sent out an official statement Tuesday morning regarding Whitt Jr., who also serves as the Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator.
Dallas Cowboys secondary coach/Defensive Pass Game Coordinator Joe Whitt is addressing a privatehealth matter and he will not be traveling with the team to Denver for Saturday’s preseason game. He has been absent from practice but he has been participating in meetings with coaches and players.
After Tuesday’s practice, Whitt provided more information on his current health status.
“I’m good. I just can’t be on the field because right now if I get hit or whatever, it’s not the best thing for me,” Whitt said. “…But we have a great staff. … I won’t go to Denver and I probably will regain with on-the-field stuff when the team comes back getting ready for the Seattle (preseason) game.”
Earlier this week, DC Dan Quinn said it’s not a matter of “if, but when” Whitt Jr. eventually becomes a defensive coordinator in the NFL.
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#27 S
10:22 a.m. – Neither safety Jayron Kearse nor linebacker Luke Gifford participated in practice on Monday, sidelined with a back and groin injury, respectively. Head coach Mike McCarthy stated his expectation that Gifford would be “hard pressed” to return to practice this week – a week that includes travel to Denver on Wednesday for joint practice with the Broncos ahead of the first preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 13.
As for Kearse, it sounds as though he’s closer to a possible return this week, but he’s set to be evaluated again by the team’s training staff on Tuesday before a determination is made. Even if cleared, it’s uncertain if Kearse – a key defensive player for the Cowboys – will see much (if any) work in the game against the Broncos.
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#10 QB
10:15 a.m. – The battle for the right to play immediate backup to Dak Prescott is heating up in Cowboys camp, with Cooper Rush and Will Grier leading the charge. Rush has shown consistency but so has Grier, and the latter has often been the arm that launched several of the precision passes that led to highlight plays from receivers such as T.J Vasher and Simi Fehoko.
Mike McCarthy spoke about Grier’s progress ahead of Tuesday’s practice, pointing at how much “quicker” the second-year QB is playing and in how he’s “making plays in and definitely out of the pocket” as the team gets prepped to see both he and Rush take the field against Denver.
The Cowboys listed Rush as the No. 2 QB on their depth chart heading into the Denver game.
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#7 CB
4:34 p.m. – The debate over whether first-team All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs is one of the best in league or a liability has continued to rage going into the 2022 season – despite his record-tying 11 interceptions in 2021.
When asked about the narrative that Diggs gives up too many yards, Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay was unequivocal in his thought on the matter, calling it “click bait”, before explaining exactly what Diggs does for the team.
“There are few who do everything at 100% at the top level, and he does Pro Bowl stuff, so [narratives to the contrary] are click bait,” said McClay.
Diggs not only led the NFL with 11 interceptions in 16 starts, also tied for first place in pick-sixes (2) and being the league leader in pass deflections (21).
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#42 LB
10:15 a.m. – Don’t expect to see Anthony Barr in practice just yet, as the Cowboys allow him to acclimate on the team’s active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
There are no health concerns on Barr, his stint on PUP to begin his Cowboys career being solely based on ramping him up after – to his own admission – having not played football in “seven or eight months” as he sifted through NFL free agency.
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#14 LB
10:13 a.m. – Jabril Cox has not suffered a setback in his return to the field from a torn ACL suffered in 2021, per head coach Mike McCarthy, and that the team never planned to “have him practice all day, every day,” but to instead ease him in deliberately.
Cox participated in individual drills ahead of Saturday’s practice and is expected to do the same on Monday – the training staff making the determination thereafter if he’ll be present in team drills.
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#87 TE
10:10 a.m. – It’s a mixed bag of news for the Cowboys at the tight end position, with rookie fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson making good progress toward potentially returning to practice this week after suffering a tweaked hamstring early last week.
Jeremy Sprinkle, however, is “hard-pressed” to practice this week, per McCarthy, as the veteran rehabs from an inflamed Achilles.
The Cowboys have given extra reps to Sean McKeon, Ian Bunting and rookie Peyton Hendershot.
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#99 DE
10:09 a.m. – The interior defensive line for the Cowboys is led by youth in 2022, but McCarthy believes they can and will all make “the second-year jump,” pointing at the progress in both physical stature and technique from both Quinton Bohanna and Chauncey Golston – noting that Bohanna has “been a force” in training camp.
The two upstarts will be tasked with following the lead of Neville Gallimore to help the interior defensive line upgrade over years past.
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#14 LB
10:11 a.m. – Jabril Cox is getting close to a return to practice. The former fourth-round pick is currently rehabbing from what’s been described by head coach Mike McCarthy as a “ding” to his knee, sidelining him the last several practices. But after participating in the team’s mock game on Friday, a format similar to a walkthrough, Cox is set to be worked out ahead of padded practice on Saturday to determine if he’ll take the field.
The team is taking a very deliberate approach to easing Cox back into the mix, seeing as he’s returning from a torn ACL suffered in 2021 and while the current knee issue is unrelated to that injury, the expectation is for Cox to be a key player in the Cowboys defense in 2022 and, as such, they don’t want to force the issue early with him – seeing as there are still several weeks of camp remaining.
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Head Coach
10:15 a.m. – The team is running a bit thin at tight end as the first week of padded practice concludes, with both Jeremy Sprinkle and Jake Ferguson nursing injury that – like Cox – has held them out of several practices. Currently recovering from an inflamed Achilles and hamstring tweak, respectively, the veteran and the rookie fourth-round pick were off to the side during the team’s Friday walkthrough, working on resistance bands with the training staff.
Both were moving well, and McCarthy notes they’ve progressed “quicker” than the team had anticipated they would, giving them a chance at returning to practice next week ahead of the trip to Denver to practice with and then take on the Broncos in their first preseason game. In their absence, there has been no shortage of opportunity for Sean McKeon, Peyton Hendershot and Ian Bunting to step in and impress.
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#73 OL
3:11 p.m. – First-round draft pick Tyler Smith is still settling in at left guard – a position he hasn’t played since high school – but his natural ability is obvious early in training camp.
“His quickness has jumped off the tape,” offensive line coach Joe Philbin said. “He’s a very quick guy. He’s got that quick-twitch explosiveness. We’ve definitely seen a lot of that. And I think we’ll see more as time goes on.”
Smith’s strength, particularly as a run blocker, was one of his best assets heading into the draft. Combine that with good movement skills for a 325-pound lineman, and the Cowboys clearly feel good about Smith’s potential.
“He’s come a long way in a short period of time,” Joe Philbin said. “… He was well-coached (in college) – they had a good program at Tulsa – but we’re certainly asking him to do some things that he’s not as familiar with and he’s learning every single day.
“All these opportunities that he gets out here – and our defense does a great job presenting a lot of multiple looks and different pressures, twists. Our guys do a great job of that. So all those things. A lot of times it’s the first time he’s seen them. I think once we get through this install phase in another day or two I think then he’ll really start to settle in a little bit more and can focus more on the fundamentals. The game is fast right now for all these young guys, but he’s definitely making strides.”
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#17 WR
8:12 a.m. – Trust is obviously a big thing for quarterbacks when it comes to his receivers. Usually, that comes with plenty of reps. But so far, Dennis Houston has earned the trust of Dak Prescott, who has been overly impressed by the undrafted rookie.
“When you break the huddle, he’s lining up in the right spot, no matter what position he’s in. He’s where I expect him to be on each and every play,” Prescott said. “He’s just a tough guy – very resilient. I might say, ‘hey, did the DB hold you right there’ and he’s like ‘ahh, I’ve got to make the play.’ When you that response from a young guy like that, not making excuses and trying to help the team in any way that he can, it makes you excited.”
Houston is one of several young players getting more reps now with a few injuries to the veteran receivers. At times, he finds himself working with the first-team. On Thursday, there were several plays in which he faced the other No. 3 – veteran Anthony Brown – and even caught a few passes to move the chains.
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#87 TE
10:37 a.m. – The tight end room will continue to be thin to end the week, with both Jeremy Sprinkle and Jake Ferguson joining linebacker Jabril Cox in being held out of practice. But, unlike Cox, it appears both the veteran and rookie fourth-round pick may be out a bit longer – Mike McCarthy noting an expectation of neither suiting up to end the first week of padded practice. Sprinkle and Ferguson are nursing an Achilles issue (inflammation) and hamstring tweak, respectively, which puts an eye on possibly returning next week, but that is still to-be-determined.
Ferguson, a newcomer expected to challenge for the role of TE2 in camp, will now see his (and Sprinkle’s) reps handed over to Sean McKeon, Peyton Hendershot and Ian Bunting. McKeon has the inside track to landing the seat directly behind Dalton Schultz, but Hendershot (a rookie himself) has made noticeable progress in camp and the added reps will give him a chance to show what he can do. The same goes for Bunting, a young player who desperately wants to find a way onto the final roster at the end of August.
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#14 LB
10:08 a.m. – Jabril Cox is being managed with great caution in his return from a season-ending torn ACL suffered in 2021. The former fourth-round pick said he’s “ready to go” physically, at the outset of training camp, but he’s currently being eased back into practice after “dinging” his knee earlier this week – per head coach Mike McCarthy. Cox was absent from the team’s second padded practice that took place on Tuesday, and will again be held out when the third padded practice gets underway on Thursday.
McCarthy stated Cox is “doing good” and is scheduled to return to the field on Saturday, with Friday essentially mirroring the format from Wednesday, when the Cowboys treated their mock game as more of a walkthrough. The second-year linebacker will be expected to make a big impact for the club in 2022, despite the addition of four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr, the latter having agreed to terms on a one-year deal but who is also still working his way through the signing process before he can suit up for practice.
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#23 RB
10:32 a.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that the Cowboys will only have three running backs available for practice Thursday (Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and rookie Malik Davis) because Rico Dowdle and rookie Aaron Shampklin (COVID-19) are currently unable to practice.
In May, the NFL and NFLPA lifted its COVID protocols for players and staff, but a player with a positive test still must isolate for five days minimum.
“It’s definitely something that we’re conscious of and have a plan on how to deal with it. I give a lot of credit to (head athletic trainer) Jim (Maurer),” McCarthy said.
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#20 RB
12:38 p.m. – There are questions a’plenty on if Tony Pollard will see more reps as a receiver following the injury to James Washington, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore dangled a rather sizable carrot on that front on Wednesday. Moore stated the intention going forward is to expand Pollard’s reps beyond “the running back route tree” and went so far as to point at Pollard’s ability to challenge opposing defenses “vertically”, both landing as strong hints at what might be to come for the fourth-year halfback.
Time will tell if this all comes to fruition, however, because it’s currently early August and the young corps of receivers will be given the bulk of the receiving reps as a means of determining how the regular season depth chart should shake out and/or if the Cowboys need to dip back into free agency to add another veteran at the position. But, at least for now, there are hopes of scheming Pollard in space far more often in what will be his contract year with the club.
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#41 S
12:24 p.m. – Markquese Bell continues to be a name to watch in training camp, and probably more so going forward, as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn not only praised the “hungry” undrafted safety but went as far as stating the team’s intention of potentially playing him in a hybrid role. That might involve Bell moving fluently between the safety and linebacker position – similar to re-signed veteran safety Jayron Kearse – to ensure Bell’s skill set is being fully utilized as early as Year 1 in Dallas.
This makes the signing of four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr that much more interesting, considering Barr is expected to garner a hefty amount of playing time in tandem with Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox, and that means the more clear way to look at Bell would be in the specific lane of Kearse: a tight end stopper who can spell the veteran as needed.
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9:45 a.m. – Rookie linebacker Aaron Hansford was released on Wednesday, just after he passed a physical to get off the PUP list. Hansford opened practice injured and spent the first week rehabbing.
Despite being healthy, the Cowboys have decided to part ways with Hansford, which opens up a spot on the 90-man roster.
Hansford was a rookie free agent from Texas A&M. The Cowboys still have two other rookie linebackers in sixth-round pick Devin Harper and undrafted free agent Storey Jackson.
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#14 LB
1:57 p.m.– Jabril Cox was absent on Tuesday with what head coach Mike McCarthy described as a “dinged knee”, but McCarthy emphasized it’s “nothing serious” and that the team decided to take a precautionary approach on Cox ahead of the second padded practice. The former fourth-round pick is slated to return on Thursday, following the mock game on Wednesday, to allow an added day of rest. Cox is returning from a torn ACL that ended his rookie season in 2021 but did not begin training camp on the team’s physically unable to perform (PUP) list – then noting himself that he is “ready to go” for 2022.
He’ll be looked upon heavily to make an impact this coming season as the definitive complement at linebacker to Micah Parsons, and has the skill set to be just that for the Cowboys. His health will be paramount in seeing that come to fruition, however, and both he and club fully understand that point.
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Head Coach
1:52 p.m. – Mike McCarthy echoed the sentiment of owner Jerry Jones in that the Cowboys are digging into their analysis of the young receiving corps going forward, as opposed to seeking assistance in NFL free agency – following the loss of wideout James Washington for upwards of 10 weeks due to a Jones fracture suffered in Monday’s practice. While Jones stated there is no sense of urgency “at all” to sign a veteran replacement, McCarthy agreed that is “not my focus”, and the two are in lockstep on “seeing the young guys improve” over the remainder of training camp.
That said, McCarthy did put a bit of a proverbial pin in the discussion, also noting that any type of potential player acquisition is currently “to be determined”. That, at minimum, leaves the door open for the possibility of adding a free agent receiver down the road, in the event the development of the group of young upstarts behind CeeDee Lamb doesn’t go according to plan.
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#27 S
12:58 p.m. – Not long after James Washington left the field on a cart, the Cowboys got another scare when Jayron Kearse walked off the field and into the locker room momentarily. A big ovation came from the fans when Kearse ran back onto field and continued practice.
Kearse said he stepped awkwardly during a drill and tweaked his knee but was never overly concerned. “I tried to plant but my foot was too wide,” Kearse said. “Maybe (it would be scary) for everyone else. But for me, I knew what it was. I didn’t hear anything. I knew it wasn’t a big deal.”
Kearse is in his second season with the Cowboys, flourishing in a hybrid role that has him playing both safety and linebacker.
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#83 WR
12:05 p.m. — Wide receiver James Washington exited practice on a medical cart after appearing to injure his foot during Monday’s practice.
Washington was competing against cornerback Trevon Diggs on a jump ball play and came up limping. He tried to put pressure on his foot but the team brought out the cart.
The severity of Washington’s injury is unknown. Check back for more updates after practice.
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#73 OL
10:37 a.m. – First-round draft pick Tyler Smith worked as a “left-side player” in the spring, working at both guard and tackle, but he has exclusively practiced at left guard so far in training camp.
Head coach Mike McCarthy says the team will continue to let Smith focus on guard, where he’s competing with Connor McGovern on the left side.
“We really had that talk after the spring. I probably played him too much at tackle than guard,” McCarthy said. “You’ve got to watch and don’t overreact to spring football too because those guys are at a bit of a disadvantage, plus it’s new, the pace is new. That could equate to some football where he’s a tad late, a half-step off.
“I think if we can keep him in one spot and let him get comfortable there, I think then his flexibility will definitely benefit from having a good foundation.”
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10:30 a.m. – Expect to see a lot more kicking in practice this week. Every practice, in fact.
Rookie Jonathan Garibay and Lirim Hajrullahu kicked for the first time in practice Saturday, with Garibay making 4 of 8 field goals and Hajrullahu making 7 of 8.
With the kicker job wide open, head coach Mike McCarthy wants more evaluation time for both candidates.
“I was their first time in front of a crowd but also with the protection and the rush behind them. It’s not what they were looking for. I think the thing that I walked away from practice is we need to do more of it. … We’ve got to make sure we give those guys more opportunities.”
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#54 DE
3:46 p.m. – Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones continues the train of high marks for second-round pick Sam Williams. The rookie defensive end has already garnered high marks from players like All-Pro pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, who stated Williams has “more tools” in his toolbox than he’s currently aware of and, importantly, Lawrence believes Williams can be a Day 1 contributor.
For his part, Jones echoes the sentiment, noting how Williams “has jumped out” in both minicamp and the start of training camp — something that bodes well for the possibility of Williams continuing to progress en route to potentially being awarded hefty playing time in his first year with the club.
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#41 S
3:45 p.m. – If you haven’t seen Markquese Bell play just yet, you likely will soon. The undrafted rookie from Florida A&M is already making waves in the defensive back group, and Stephen Jones stated the rookie “keeps showing up” in team drills and in his preparation.
Additionally, Jones gave a bit of an early nod to Bell, whom he said has “a good shot at making the roster” in September, adding that “it’s good to have one of those” every summer.
Bell should get plenty of works in the preseason, which begins on Aug. 13 in Denver.
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#4 QB
10:41 a.m. – Do not expect to see quarterback Dak Prescott in the first two preseason outings against the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively, with head coach Mike McCarthy unofficially putting that idea to bed.
When asked if he’s going to play in those games, McCarthy had a long pause before pointing out “Dak will practice a lot” against the Broncos and Chargers.
McCarthy did leave open the possibility of starting Prescott in the preseason finale — when the Seattle Seahawks visit AT&T Stadium.
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#14 LB
10:31 a.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy describes former fourth-round pick Jabril Cox as “bright, smooth, quicker and faster than you think”, going on to note what they saw in Cox during limited time as a rookie — prior to suffering a torn ACL — was also a driving force in the decision to release Jaylon Smith.
Although Cox was not placed on the PUP list because of the injury, McCarthy has also said they will be smart with Cox and his practice schedule.
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#41 S
10:28 a.m. – The team feels “much better” about where they are at the safety position as compared to this time last year, per head coach Mike McCarthy, who made a note to shower praise upon former Florida A&M standout Markquese Bell — a UDFA signing in 2022 — who is off to an impressive start that includes what he showed in minicamp.
Bell has been working with the No. 2 defense at safety, but has the ability to play both free and strong safety. That versatility is one of the reasons the Cowboys were so excited to sign him after the draft.
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#1 CB
10:25 a.m. – Wearing the No. 1 jersey, Kevin Joseph is having a good camp in what might be a season wherein the Cowboys expect him to be much more of an impact player, with head coach Mike McCarthy “looking for him to make the [second-year] jump” after showing flashes of his ability when looked upon as a rookie in 2021.
The second-round pick from Kentucky in 2021, Joseph had just two starts last year but will be battling for playing time with the regular starters at corner, including Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis.
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8 a.m. – After choosing not to participate in last week’s final set of voluntary OTAs, tight end Dalton Schultz is expected to return for this week’s mandatory minicamp, which starts with practice Tuesday.
Schultz, currently on the one-year, $10.9 million franchise tag, is seeking a multi-year contract with the Cowboys. Both sides have until July 15 to negotiate a new deal or Schultz must play the season on the tag.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said last week that he understood Schultz’s absence was simply a “business” decision, but wasn’t sure if he’d be back for practice this week.
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Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
Don’t miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys’ regular season and offseason.
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