I finally succeeded. Saturday was a big milestone for me here at Blogging The Boys, as it was my first visit to Oxnard as the (semi) official representative of the Dallas Cowboys training camp site. It was exciting and a little crazy.

While it was a fascinating chance to see what I saw differently being there, it was also highlighted by being joined by @rabblerousr, @ DannyPhantom24 and @NoHuddle, all social media friends that I was able to meet face to face for the first time. They also helped me with their own observations from the practice, which brings us directly to my first thing to note.

  • You are going to miss some of the things that are happening no matter what. Of course, there are times early in practice when several things have happened, like special teams working on punters and field goal assignments, quarterbacks working with crosses and the rest of the players. line involved in their own exercises. It’s just the way it is. Even in 11v11 work, when those 22 players are the only ones doing anything, you can really focus on just one thing. For the most part, that’s almost always where the ball is. It takes a real effort to see what’s going on with other players, which can sometimes be even more informative. But it’s hard.
  • Dan Quinn has been so noted for his one-on-one and hands-on teaching. John Fassel followed suit on Saturday, stopping a placement rep to adjust the position of the feet and hands on one of the linemen. It would have been easy to miss, but it happened right in front of me and caught my eye.
  • It may be that the substitute quarterbacks are starting to find their rhythm, or maybe the coaches are preparing them for more success. Anyway, they looked better. The first 11-on-11 job of the day was in a goal-line situation, and Garrett Gilbert made back-to-back touchdown pitches, followed by a Cooper Rush. Ben DiNucci would get his later in the session.
  • I’m not sure what that means exactly, but towards the end of practice the team was in a lot of 11v9 work. They only had two defensive linemen on the pitch, and they were generally working. a blow. The rest of the activity was pretty much normal, and it turned by one, two, and three like everything else. One possible reason is to protect the players involved in the trenches by not having too much to do at once. It might not be the real reason, but I’m just trying to figure it out.
  • Tyron Smith saw limited action but was not held throughout the practice as expected. And the most impressive moment of the session, at least for me who am easily impressed, was when he, Zack Martin and La’el Collins strode across the pitch at the start of practice. Have you ever seen someone come in and own a room? This is exactly how they took the field. It was a real “We have arrived, you least mortals, just go about your business.”
  • Yet the most impressive player continues to be Randy Gregory. During situation work, I lost track of how many times he would have gotten a sack or broken the pass if he hadn’t resisted to protect the quarters. He’s not unstoppable – just really, really hard to deal with.
  • It’s sort of known at this point. What is a little less obvious is that Neville Gallimore is perhaps the second most impressive lineman. He was doing a lot of penetration on passes and runs. Its good.
  • To take it one step further, the defensive line is perhaps my favorite unit on the team after a day. With Gregory and Gallimore, Dorance Armstrong and Quinton Bohanna performed beautiful pieces.
  • This stuff is harder to see. What drives the average fan in the stands is something like the ongoing battle between CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs. The two have had their moments, and it seemed to my untrained eye that Diggs was covering a bit too close. The referees on the pitch apparently agreed, tossing a flag or two in his direction. But it’s a good thing to see as the two reinforce each other.
  • Another player who seemed to make frequent nice plays was Cedrick Wilson. With Amari Cooper out (Michael Gallup was back in action), Wilson took over, and did it pretty well, including a nice TD reception on a scrambling game from Gilbert.
  • Don’t sleep on Malik Turner either. He was probably the best of the rest among the WRs and needs to be in the conversation about how many of them the team will carry.
  • There were several good plays from the running backs and wide receivers. But Rabs summed it up a bit harshly, albeit perfectly accurately, by describing such an example as “a nice piece from a guy who has no chance of making the list.” We can hope that the injuries won’t change that and force some of these decisions to take a different direction. Yet it’s always sobering to remember that in just a few short weeks the NFL dream is going to derail, in some cases permanently, for a whole bunch of these players.
  • I know this horse may be beaten past the point of its own demise. Or maybe we’ve heard so much about it that we’re just taking note. But on a seemingly routine-looking game, Jaylon Smith had a stoppage from a ball carrier – and was doing a little celebratory dance. It wasn’t a big hit, and not even his scoring shot. It just stood out, mostly because not many other players celebrated much when they had a good game. It was almost like they felt like they were doing their job.
  • Finally, it has nothing to do with how the team is formed. But the fan base is clearly excited and expecting big things. To get into practice this morning, there was a line of cars stretching for a mile. Local authorities stopped letting people in shortly after the practice began, as the facility was considered to have reached capacity. Beyond the typical yelling and screaming when someone is making a big game, this is a clear sign of the pent-up demand for a real winner from this team.

We discussed Saturday’s recap in detail with the highlights included, as we did with every Dallas Cowboys practice on Blogging The Boys’ YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (that you can do here) so you don’t miss any of our videos.