FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys’ final day of minicamp was just like any other practice. While other teams might have enjoyed a day off or some fun time with teammates, Jason Garrett made sure the Cowboys put in the work.
The Cowboys did have a lunch in the swanky Cowboys Club after practice before heading here, there and everywhere. The next time the team will be together will come July 24 when they fly to Oxnard, California for training camp.
“We laid a great foundation for our team,” Garrett said.
The coaches will tie up “loose ends,” as Garrett called it, on Friday and then go on vacation. As much as the five weeks will go by quickly, it is also a time in which coaches hold their breath in hopes their players do not get hurt or in trouble while not under their watch.
“It’s certainly something you try to talk to your team about and reinforce the importance of making great decisions,” Garrett said. “Not only get yourself ready to play but the decisions you make off the field, to make sure that you give yourself the best opportunity and you don’t do anything that can distract you from really the task at hand, which is coming in and being your best individually so we can be our best as a team.”
On to the observations with some comments about some good and not-so-good moments in the entire offseason program that was open to the media, consisting of three organized team activities and three minicamp practices.
The backups got more work than the starters on the final day of minicamp, but Dak Prescott opened up his day with a perfect back-shoulder throw to Allen Hurns down the left sideline near the goal line on cornerback Byron Jones. The offense then needed two Ezekiel Elliott runs to get into the end zone. Prescott threw only three passes in team drills on Thursday with the focus on red-zone work and late-game situational work.
Backup quarterback Cooper Rush seemed to favor looking to third-round pick Michael Gallup. In seven-on-seven work, Gallup was unable to hold onto a crossing route from Rush but ended it with a touchdown in the back of the end zone after a defensive miscommunication. In team drills, Rush looked to Gallup two more times for completions.
Undrafted linebacker Kyle Queiro dropped an interception of Rush in situational work. While he was able to make a good read on Rush’s third-and-short pass to Rod Smith, he was unable to finish the takeaway. But earlier in the practice, the focus of individual drills was reading the quarterback’s eyes and breaking quickly outside. Queiro was able to show he could read and react quickly. He just needs to finish the play.
Rookie quarterback Mike White’s best throw was a post route to Lance Lenoir in seven-on-seven work in which the receiver beat Marqueston Huff. White’s final three passes of the practice, however, fell incomplete.
After six practices open to the media, here are some players I want to see more from when the pads come on in training camp. Tight end Blake Jarwin, defensive tackle Jihad Ward are at the top of the list. Jarwin might have been the most consistent tight end. Ward showed up on a few occasions in the run and pass game. Things will matter more when the pads come on, especially at their positions, but they have turned some heads.
Injuries derailed Charles Tapper’s first two years. He missed time in OTAs because of a concussion, but in the final two days of the minicamp he showed he has a burst to get off the ball at the snap and affect the quarterback. Tapper must stay healthy. He might not have many more chances.
Jaylon Smith suffered a minor sprained ankle on Wednesday and did not practice. There is no long-term worry and the Cowboys just wanted to give him a break. With Smith out, Joe Thomas moved into middle linebacker with Justin March-Lillard and Damien Wilson playing outside linebacker with the first team.
Connor Williams’ athleticism is one of the rookie guard’s best traits. As the Cowboys were running between drills, Williams placed a football between his feet and flicked it over his head and into his hands similar to how a soccer player would pull off a rainbow. Tyrone Crawford was so impressed, he let out a long, “Heeeeeeyyyy.”