Cowboys practice report: Day 5

OXNARD, Calif. -- The second practice on Wednesday was without shoulder pads, but it was still pretty crisp. All three offensive units tried to score by driving from inside their 5 to the end zone.

Here are the highlights:

*The missing were Jesse Holley (hamstring), Kyle Kosier (knee), Alex Barron (ankle), Marc Colombo (knee), Scott Sicko (concussion), John Phillips (knee), Mike Hamlin (concussion), Brandon Williams (knee), Dez Bryant (ankle), Stephen Hodge (knee) and Marcus Spears (knee).

*Anthony Spencer left the tail end of practice with a sore joint in his shoulder. Spencer was looked at by the trainers and is deemed fine.

*Backup tight end DajLeon Farr continues to struggle. He dropped another pass early in practice and doesn't seem to be running with any confidence. His blocking is inconsistent and he needs to pick up the pace.

*Patrick Crayton is having a fine training camp. He made a nice, strong catch along the sidelines as Orlando Scandrick tried to strip the ball. Then with three defenders around him, Tony Romo found Crayton with the ball on a crossing route.

*There is a battle brewing between Lonyae Miller and Herb Donaldson for a running back spot on the practice squad. Miller did a good job of picking up the blitz, holding up Bradie James. Donaldson is also running pretty well, especially when he runs inside. Running backs coach Skip Peete said after practice both players are doing a good job at picking up the blitz.

*Say what you will about Roy Williams, but his route running has really improved. He ran a nice zigzag route that finished with a catch near the sidelines. As he ran upfield on a slant, he cut across to the sidelines and was on time for the catch.

*Maybe this is how the Cowboys are going to play their zone defense this season, but there were too many times where Marion Barber was left wide open underneath the zone and where the safeties came up too late to support.

*Sean Lee struggled a little bit in pass coverage. He was either two or three steps too late to catch receivers. Jason Witten made a nice catch in the end zone to beat Lee.