Cowboys DBs finally take it away but injury mars practice

OXNARD, Calif. -- Before the knee injury to Orlando Scandrick put a damper on the Dallas Cowboys' practice, the defense was having one of its best days of training camp.

Scandrick had his first interception of camp when he was able to beat Terrance Williams to a spot for a pick of Tony Romo in team drills. In 7-on-7 work, Brandon Carr deflected a crossing route to Williams up in the air that gave Barry Church the chance for a diving pick.

Rookie cornerback Byron Jones had the third interception of the day when he picked off Dustin Vaughan.

After not coming up with any turnovers in the first two preseason games, it was a positive sign.

But it meant little after seeing Scandrick get carted off the field with a his t-shirt covering his face.

On to the observations:

  • Dez Bryant's return to practice was muted to say the least. He went through individual drills but he was kept out of 7-on-7 and one-on-one drills, much to his chagrin. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan put his arm around Bryant at one point. Bryant did get four team snaps in the play-action period of practice but all of them came on running plays. Maybe he'll do more Wednesday.

  • Running back Darren McFadden was held out of team and 7-on-7 drills because of a sore neck from the game against the San Francisco 49ers. He played four snaps in the game.

  • There are days where it seems like Jason Witten might be able to play forever, like Tuesday. In a compete period against J.J. Wilcox, Witten was able to get the third-year safety to bite on an out fake before turning up field for a long completion from Romo. To close the first-team's work in situational drills, Romo fired a bullet to Witten in the middle of the end zone between Wilcox and Church.

  • Tyron Smith went through pass-rush drills for the first time since suffering a right biceps strain. He was able to stone rookie defensive end Randy Gregory on a spin move in those drills as well as in team drills.

  • With McFadden out, Joseph Randle got all of the first-team snaps. His best run came on a zone run to the left in which he slithered through the line and was able to slide back inside of linebacker Sean Lee.

  • Jason Garrett took some one-on-one turns with Brandon Weeden out with a concussion and Vaughan and Jameill Showers working with the running backs and tight ends. Unofficially, Garrett went 11-of-16.

  • The Cowboys had just about every player on the active 90-man roster in pads on Tuesday even if they didn't go through a full practice. Ronald Leary, Zack Martin, R.J. Dill, James Hanna, Gus Johnson, Terrell McClain and Nick Hayden went through rehab on the side in full pads.

  • Rookie tackle Laurence Gibson has played much better of late and did a nice job in pass-rush drills but he was beaten to the edge by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who was able to dip his right shoulder while turning the corner.

  • Dan Bailey made all six of his field goal attempts with the longest coming from 51 yards. Chris Jones punted nine times in special teams' drills with a best hangtime (unofficially) of 4.9 seconds.