Cowboys wake-up call: Day 9

OXNARD, Calif. – Every day of Dallas Cowboys training camp we'll offer up a wake-up call that offers a quick review of the previous day and a preview of the current day.

Today's schedule: The Cowboys will have their second off day and return for practice on Saturday.

Quick thoughts on five padded practices:

  • The safety spot next to Barry Church remains J.J. Wilcox's to lose. Wilcox has been OK but he has not been pushed by Jeff Heath or any other safety. Wilcox has had a couple of pass breakups, but there has not been a big hit in the running game and he took a bad angle on a wide run by Lance Dunbar that would have led to a 50-yard run in one practice. You just want to see more from a projected starter.

  • I'm not sure if Dartwan Bush can make it on the 53-man roster but he is making the most of his opportunity. He was at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and went unsigned until early June. He has been active (two sacks on Wednesday and Thursday) and is getting more work with DeMarcus Lawrence out with a broken foot. The Cowboys are short on pure right defensive ends and he is getting in the mix the way Ben Bass did a few years ago. Bass used an invite to a rookie camp and earned a spot on the practice squad before a brief promotion to the active roster.

  • It's easy to see Dezmon Briscoe's NFL experience. Signed at the start of camp, Briscoe has surpassed the work of undrafted rookies L'Damian Washington and Chris Boyd so far. He is smooth in and out of his breaks. He does a good job of catching the ball with his hands. Does it mean he will make the final roster? Probably not but he is putting himself in the mix, which can be difficult to do for a player who was not with the team in the offseason.

  • Jason Garrett has altered the practice plan this season. In previous years the Cowboys had what he called a "blue practice" to open the session with the rookies and younger players taking the field before the veterans so they can get more work. This year Garrett has turned to a "blue period," at the end of the practices in which the young players go through eight plays of team drills. It gives quarterback Dustin Vaughan the chance because he does not take regular team drills or even 7-on-7 throws.

What I'm watching: With the players off again, there might be another media pickup basketball game at a local Ventura park. I didn't bring my golf clubs, so that is out, but I saw a story this week about footgolf where you use a soccer ball. That could be interesting.

They said it: "I was out last year with an Achilles and I went and talked to him. I told him everything I heard that was positive for me, helped me get through it. I'm going to be shooting him texts and giving him a call and making sure he's staying up and just make sure he stays in the books. He's definitely going to be back and definitely will be planning on him coming back where he left off." – Defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford on how he will help DeMarcus Lawrence, who had foot surgery on Thursday.