Three thoughts on Day 5 of Cowboys camp

OXNARD, Calif. -- Three thoughts on Day 5 of Dallas Cowboys' training camp:

1) Stephen Jones made it pretty clear the Cowboys have no intention of signing DeMarco Murray to a new contract before the season ends, but that doesn't mean he won't be on the team next year.

The reality is that last season was easily his best season -- 1,121 yards, nine touchdowns and a 5.2 average per carry -- in 14 games.

He's 26 and heading into his fourth season, and he still hasn't played 16 games. Running backs break down more quickly than any other position, so it's easy to see why the Cowboys don't want to give a guy with an injury history a new contract as he nears 30.

The franchise tag -- $9.54 million -- would be one option, and working out a three-- or four--year deal after the season would be another.

Murray is a good player, and if he puts together another good season, the Cowboys will find room and money for him.

2) Anthony Spencer said he's doing considerably more running and lifting than he has done in the recent past, but he still has no timetable when he'll return to the practice field.

He remains on the physically unable to perform list.

Whatever he gives the Cowboys this year must be considered a bonus. He's still recovering from micro fracture surgery and the longer it takes the more you have to wonder if he'll even play this year.

Spencer doesn't.

"I wouldn't be out here putting myself thought all of this," he said, "If I didn't think I could come back and play. I don't have a timetable, I'm just doing everything I need to do to put myself in a position to get back on the field."

3) DeMarcus Lawrence showed moves on consecutive plays in a pass rush drill that had to get the coaching staff just a tad excited -- even though each play occurred against backup Darrion Weems.

On the first play, Lawrence burst off the line, dipped his shoulder low and blew past Weems for what would've been a sack. On the next play, he faked outside, used a rip move and burst inside past Weems.

The confidence to use an inside move was impressive. Most young pass-rushers get so enamored by the outside move, they forego the inside ones.


One way to judge whether an offensive staff is doing a good job with the game plan is to look at their success with the first possession of the game.

The Cowboys scored 47 points on their first possession -- five touchdowns and four field goals. Only Denver scored more.

The Broncos scored 62 points on eight touchdowns and two field goals.

Player to Watch: Joseph Randle

This is an important season for Randle, who averaged just 3.0 yards per carry on 54 carries last season.

The Cowboys took him in the fifth round, hoping he could provide an adequate replacement if Murray went down. Well, he had an opportunity and he didn't do much with it.

If he doesn't play better this year, then the Cowboys will be looking to possibly add two running backs in the offseason. He must play well in the preseason to fend off Ryan Williams because the Cowboys probably aren't keeping four running backs.