OXNARD, Calif. – Hawaii awaits.
The Cowboys will leave for Honolulu on Thursday in anticipation of Saturday’s preseason matchup against the Rams, which will mark an end to the Oxnard leg of training camp.
Head coach Jason Garrett is pleased with the foundation they’ve set on the West Coast the last three weeks.
“I think it’s been a great camp,” he said. “I think it’s been an extension of what we’ve done all offseason long. Our team is filled with guys who are committed, committed to be their best and committed to be a part of something special as a team. That’s all fine and good to say that, but you’ve got to show it. They’ve shown it really since we’ve gotten together in April, the work they had done prior to that, the work they did through the offseason program and now through the first couple of weeks of camp.
“We have not had perfect days by any means, but there is no question the approach has been right.”
Tuesday did not qualify as a perfect day. Garrett said the morning walkthrough lacked its typical focus and concentration. The afternoon practice was better.
Wednesday’s session, the final open practice in Oxnard, was competitive as well.
“Guys are working hard to get better,” Garrett said. “We’ve seen a lot of young players play in this camp. We’re a young football team. We have a lot of rookies who have gotten great opportunities, some other guys, second- and third-year players who have played a lot of football for us. I think that’s good. You’ve seen them grow day by day.
“We like the chemistry of the team. We like the work ethic of the team. We’re not near where we need to be, but again, I think the approach has been right. They’re going about it the right way each day.”
Some highlights from Wednesday’s practice:
- How fitting that on the very last day in Oxnard, we saw the biggest scuffle of training camp. It came during the two-minute period, and it seemed to center around Taco Charlton and Cam Fleming. Well after the play was dead, the two got into it and were quickly surrounded by a huddle of teammates. The skirmish died down before anything drastic happened, but it looked like Charlton and Fleming were sick of each other.
- Speaking of two-minute, it has to be considered a win for the defense. They gave the offense fits at every, single level. It started off with Dak Prescott rolling out to his right and firing and interception to Xavier Woods – only for the play to be called dead by an offsides flag. On the very next snap, he looked for Michael Gallup on a comeback, but Chido Awuzie undercut the route and picked it off. On the next possession, Prescott did guide the offense down to the 2-yard line and score a touchdown on a quarterback keeper. However, the offense went for a two-point conversion and the “win,” but Prescott couldn’t connect with his receiver on a slant route, resulting in another win for the defense.
- Dorance Armstrong punctuated a strong stint in Oxnard with a takeaway. During team period, he raced around Cam Fleming on the left side and took the football right out of Prescott’s hand.
- Devin Smith continues to show up since his nice outing against the 49ers. He had multiple nice catches during Wednesday’s practice – one in 1v1 drills and several during full team. Smith’s ability to re-position himself to haul in catches at different angles has been impressive.
- Another perfect day for Brett Maher, as he went six-for-six during special teams period and also hit an extra point during team drills. This was the first time Maher hit all of his field goals on consecutive kicking days, and it’s only the third time during this camp that he’s had a perfect day.
- It was a bit of lightly-attended practice, with multiple guys taking veteran days. Tyron Smith, Jason Witten Randall Cobb and Jeff Heath all took rest days.