On average, the Cowboys had almost 1,000 fans fewer at each of their 16 training camp practices this year compared to the same number of practices in 2017 in Oxnard, Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports.
The difference was noticeable, with the stands adjacent to one of the fields mostly empty for the free practices.
The Cowboys had 55,432 fans at their 16 practices in 2017 in Oxnard. This year, the total attendance dipped by 15,351 fans to a total of 40,081 for the 16 practices that concluded Thursday.
The Cowboys opened their new team headquarters at The Star in Frisco in 2016 and finished up training camp there in 2017 with a week of practices. The Cowboys break camp in Oxnard on Friday to head back to Dallas and will again conclude training camp at The Star with five practices beginning Monday.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been hesitant to cutoff the club’s connection to Oxnard and move all of training camp to The Star because of the ideal weather here for the outdoor practices and wanting to stay connected to the club’s strong Southern California fan base.
This was the 13th time since 2001 that the Cowboys held at least part of their training camp in Oxnard.
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Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has been fully reinstated to practice and play in games, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Gregory, who hasn’t played since the 2016 season finale because of an indefinite suspension due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, was reinstated on a conditional basis last week.
He was cleared only for meetings and conditioning work. He was not going to be cleared to practice or play in games until “arrangements have been confirmed regarding Gregory’s clinical resources in Dallas, and subject to continued compliance with the terms of his reinstatement and all aspects of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse,” the NFL stated in its initial release.
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OPEN CAMP: July 26, Oxnard, California
LAST YEAR: Cowboys missed playoffs year after dynamic rookie tandem of QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott fueled Dallas to NFC-best 13 wins. Elliott’s six-game suspension during season over domestic violence allegations was big reason. Prescott’s performance dipped after winning NFL Offensive Rookie of Year in 2016. Offensive line was less consistent than usual. Defense was solid but not spectacular.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Leighton Vander Esch, WR Allen Hurns, G Connor Williams, WR Tavon Austin, WR Michael Gallup, TE Dalton Schultz, T Cameron Fleming, secondary coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant, LB Anthony Hitchens, CB Orlando Scandrick.
CAMP NEEDS: Cowboys need to sort out jumbled picture at receiver and tight end after dumping Bryant in cost-cutting move and somewhat surprising retirement of Witten, who went into broadcasting. WR Terrance Williams broke foot and was arrested during tumultuous offseason when Cowboys needed to know if he could take Bryant’s place atop receiving depth chart. Barring unexpected resurgence from six-year veteran, replacing Bryant will fall to Hurns and collection of rookies, other young players. Geoff Swaim likely to get first crack at replacing Witten, but Dallas likes Blake Jarwin. LB Jaylon Smith needs to show explosiveness in second season since recovery from major knee injury in college. Sean Lee needs to stay healthy. Without those developments, heavy responsibility could fall on Vander Esch as rookie.
EXPECTATIONS: Coach Jason Garrett has two playoff appearances and one postseason win in seven full seasons. Elliott saga and untimely injuries, particularly to offensive line, gave him pass last season. Hard to imagine owner Jerry Jones sticking with him if Cowboys miss playoffs again, particularly after offseason overhaul of coaching staff. Healthy and eligible Elliott figures to be factor in NFL rushing race after leading league as rookie two years ago. Elliott still led league in yards rushing per game during suspension-marred season. Prescott wasn’t as good at protecting ball year after rookie record for passer rating. Cowboys want him to feed off Elliott-powered running game. Dallas believes young talent in secondary can help defense make difference. Cowboys could use repeat from DeMarcus Lawrence, who finished second in NFL with 14½ sacks last season and will play on franchise tag. Lawrence needs help, and prime candidate would be Taco Charlton, last year’s first-round pick.
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Cowboys cornerback Marquez White is facing a second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to Collin County court records.
But his attorney, Dallas-based Toby Shook, is confident the charge will be dropped, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
“Marquez did everything legally,” Shook said. “He displayed a gun but didn’t point it at this individual because he was very concerned with how this individual was making threats. I’m hopeful that this case can be dismissed, because I don’t think he violated the law.”
The Cowboys do not have a comment “at this time.” An NFL spokesman has yet to return a request for comment.
White made a court appearance last week, and the next date is scheduled for Aug. 10, the day after the Cowboys’ preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Shook said the delay from when the incident happened, Oct.20, to the indictment, June 7, is unusual, but White had moved in that time and changed his number.
“There was a series in breakdown in communications,” Shook said. “He didn’t have notice that hearing was going on and was shocked to learn this warrant came out months later. It’s a bit unusual. It was an unfortunate series of miscommunication.”
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Cowboys cornerback Marquez White was arrested on June 15 for second-degree felony assault with a deadly weapon in Collin County, Texas according to Jon Johnson of the Dothan Eagle.
White said the incident stems from a “road-rage” dust-up that occurred last October. White was allegedly heading home and exiting a tollway when another man tried to speed by him on the service road. White felt his “life was threatened,” then pulled a gun he legally owned. White was not arrested until June. A sixth-round pick out of Florida State in 2017, the 23-year-old spent his rookie season on the Cowboys’ practice squad and was re-signed to a reserve/future deal in January.
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The Cowboys have a plan to keep oft injured linebacker Sean Lee healthy this upcoming season which involves him missing workouts, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports.
“I get the governor put on me and have to be smart this time of year,” Lee said. “It’s tough not being out there because you want to be out there trying to lead from the front, but there’s perspective that’s kept this time of year that we’ve got to build toward training camp and build towards the year.”
It’s not always easy for the Cowboys’ athletic trainers and strength and conditioning staff to convince Lee that this plan is best for him.
“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ for me,” Lee said. “I kind of fight them and they put perspective on me and I listen to them.”
Lee, 31, missed five games because of a hamstring injury last season. The Cowboys defense has suffered significantly when the two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t been on the field. Dallas is 1-7 without Lee over the last three seasons.
Lee tore the ACL in his left knee during an OTA practice in 2014, causing him to miss the entire season.
“I’ve had an issue staying on the field,” Lee said. “Really, two years ago, I felt in ’15 and ’16, we did a good job staying on the field. Last year, I didn’t. So I think we have a great game plan to try to keep me out there.”
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Third-year Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has fully recovered from the concussion that cost him the entire 2017 season according to Todd Archer of ESPN.
Gathers suffered the concussion last summer and its effects were compounded by jaw and neck injuries. A star basketball player at Baylor, the Cowboys took a sixth-round flyer on Gathers in the 2016 and the coaching staff had been high on his potential prior to the concussion.
The 24-year-old has yet to appear in a regular season game in the NFL but t flashed big-time potential last preseason to the tune the mix to replace retired Jason Witten in an offense desperate for playmakers in the passing game. At the very least, his 6’6″, 285-pound frame should make him an enticing target in the redzone.
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