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Only a little tension between Cowboys, Rams in first practice

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar went against each other frequently in joint workouts on Monday. Mark J. Terrill/AP

OXNARD, Calif. -- Day 1 of practices between the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams were largely calm with only a couple of minor dustups.

Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson took a swing at Cowboys receiver Devin Street after Street didn’t take kindly to Johnson’s hit on Joseph Randle. There was a brief dustup between the Cowboys defense as well but nothing like what occurred last year, when the Cowboys practiced against the Oakland Raiders and a fan took a swing with a helmet at a Cowboys player.

By the end of practice Dez Bryant, who didn’t practice, was visibly upset with something. He kept jawing with several St. Louis defenders and had several coaches and teammates keep him at bay.

“Obviously Dez is a competitor and I’m sure he’s dying to be out there,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s probably a good thing he wasn’t out there today. He probably didn’t need that. It was good for him to have a break today.”

One of the more vocal discussions came between Jason Witten and Rams assistant linebackers coach Joe Bowden. Witten drew two holding penalties and had his t-shirt ripped from the Rams' clutching and grabbing.

“Oh, just a little chit chatting you know?” Witten said. “Got two holding penalties that were there. Ripped the shirt. Told him, ‘If you can’t cover get out of Cover 1.’ Nah, I’m kidding. He’s a former player so he’s definitely passionate. That defense, the style they play, they attack. They’re downhill. [Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams] been that way everywhere he’s been so we knew that and I got lot of respect for their defense.”

On to the observations:

  • For the first time since the third full-padded practice, Tony Romo was intercepted, a span of 98 throws in team and 7-on-7 drills. With linebacker Alec Ogletree unblocked Romo had to hurry a screen throw that defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks picked off. Romo finished the day 13 of 15 but did not take many downfield chances. He was without Tyron Smith and Ronald Leary on the left side of the line and Doug Free took only a few turns at right tackle. His best throw in team drills was a seam route to Witten over linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. In one-on-one work he went deep to Terrance Williams for a 30-yard touchdown on Janoris Jenkins.

  • Running back Darren McFadden got his first carry of training camp in team drills. Unfortunately the blocking did not give him much of an opportunity to gain any yards. However, McFadden looked fast and strong in one-on-one routes against the St. Louis linebackers.

  • Much of the anticipation of the work between the Cowboys offensive line and Rams defensive line was lost because of the Cowboys' injuries up front. In the play-action drills to start practice, the Rams won with Robert Quinn beating La'el Collins to stop Randle at the line of scrimmage. In one on one pass rush, Chris Long was able to use a spin move to beat right tackle John Wetzel. Quinn was able to gain the edge on left tackle fill-in Darrion Weems.

  • Randle had a fumble on a check down from Romo in seven on seven work when linebacker Bryce Hager, the ex-Baylor player, poked the ball free.

  • Rams corner Lamarcus Joyner really had no answer for Cole Beasley in the slot. Neither did any corner the Rams put on him. In 7-on-7 he was able to run away from a defender and in team drills he worked outside Joyner and ducked under him as he closed to make a tackle.