<
>

Tyron Smith, Doug Free in team drills for first time since first week of camp

OXNARD, Calif. -- For the first time since the opening week of Dallas Cowboys training camp starting offensive tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free were part of 11-on-11 drills together.

Smith, who is working through a biceps strain, took a handful of team snaps at the start of practice but did not participate in one-on-one pass rush drills. In the situational work, Darrion Weems worked at left tackle.

Free went through more team drills than Smith (10 snaps) and also took part in the pass-rush drills as he continues to work through soreness in his surgically-repaired foot.

Neither is likely to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers but the Cowboys were at least able to welcome back their bookends.

Of course, they had to say goodbye to their first-team tailback Joseph Randle, who aggravated the oblique strain that kept him out of team drills one day last week. Darren McFadden took the first-team reps and had a rushing touchdown near the goal line.

On to the observations:

  • After working in four straight practices for the first time since 2013, Tony Romo sat Thursday and Brandon Weeden took the first-team snaps. Weeden completed his first 11 passes in team and 7-on-7 drills and finished the day completing 14 of 17 passes on the day. His best throw was a bullet in the middle of the field as Jason Witten worked between Barry Church and Damien Wilson. He also smartly directed the offense down the field for a tying field goal in situational work. He was able to hit Terrance Williams on an out route near the sideline and found Witten on consecutive passes to give Dan Bailey the chance to tie the game.

  • Dustin Vaughan was also sharp, completing 8 of 10 passes. In 7-on-7 work the quarterbacks completed their first 12 passes. When linebacker Kyle Wilber broke up a Jameill Showers pass to Ben Malena, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus celebrated.

  • Cole Beasley returned to practice after a two-day break to rest a sore Achilles. While he took part in every part of practice, his number of snaps was lower than normal.

  • Lance Dunbar was unstoppable. Working in the slot he was able to loop around safety Jeff Heath for a touchdown catch from Weeden in 7-on-7 work. He caught four passes from Weeden on the day and added two more from Vaughan.

  • A.J. Jenkins had his best day of camp by a wide mile. Perhaps seeing the Cowboys adding two receivers added to the pick-me-up. He made a sliding catch along the back of the end zone from Vaughan and made a nice grab on a crossing route later. On that play, however, Randy Gregory would have had a sack of Vaughan before the throw.

  • Morris Claiborne and Sean Lee did not work in team drills. It's the third straight practice Lee has not taken any team drills but Jason Garrett said the team is just being smart with Lee's comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

  • Of Chris Jones' seven punts on Thursday, his best hang time was 4.9 seconds on a flip-flop boot that landed inside the 15.

  • Running backs coach Gary Brown had a slip of the tongue during individual drills, referring to McFadden as “DeMo,” which is DeMarco Murray's nickname. Fullback Tyler Clutts couldn't let it go, “Who?” To be fair, DeMo and D-Mac aren't far off.

  • The Cowboys announced a crowd of 1,581 at camp Thursday, which was the smallest attendance this summer.