Cowboys Practice Notebook: Tempers flare, receivers shine, and kicking trouble

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After a light mock game in t-shirts and baseball caps on Wednesday, the Cowboys were back in pads for the third time on Thursday.

Here are some observations from a pretty contentious day of practice:

*It felt like we were on the verge of the first fight of training camp on Thursday. Tyler Biadasz and Osa Odighizuwa briefly got into a shoving match before they were separated, a couple of coaches traded a few brief words, Micah Parsons complained about the referees not, “calling s***,” and Jourdan Lewis could be heard directing a profanity-laced rant at wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Nothing ever materialized, but it feels like just a matter of time before a scuffle breaks out. A reminder: the Cowboys practice against the Broncos one week from today.

*We finally got to see some one-on-one competition between the receivers and corners. As I’ve mentioned before, these practices, and especially these particular one-on-one reps, are ripe for the receivers to make highlight reel plays. Even still, Dak Prescott’s deep ball looked sharp in the drills, and TJ Vasher beat Kelvin Joseph so bad that he was flagged for holding on two separate plays, and still wasn’t close to Vasher when he completed the catch.

*With fullback Ryan Nall out for the next 2-4 weeks with a deep shoulder bruise, and the recent release of Nick Ralston, the Cowboys only had Connor McGovern to play in the backfield as a lead blocker. The lack of bodies also led to Matt Farniok taking a couple of reps at fullback late in team period.

*It was another brutal day for rookie kicker Jonathan Garibay. With minimal wind, Garibay went 4 for 8 on kicks, making one and missing one from 33, 39, 42, and 49 yards respectively. 3 of the 4 misses from Garibay were pushed to the left, which has been a problem throughout training camp. Lirim Hajrullahu made his first 7 kicks before pushing the final 49-yard attempt wide to the left.

*During the “Mojo Moment” period of practice, the kickers were practicing kicking scenarios including being iced with a timeout, penalties on the kicking team, and penalties on the defense. Mike McCarthy jokingly walked over to the media on the sideline and yelled, “these are fake penalties! Just so the media knows, these are fake penalties!”

*Rookie receiver Jalen Tolbert was better today than the first two practices, making a couple of nice catches in 7-on-7 and team period, including a tough reception over the middle with Trevon Diggs draped over his back. Tolbert was admonished by a coach during special teams drills for losing the point of attack while blocking in front of KaVontae Turpin. The coach yelled that Tolbert was, “going to get Turp killed like that.”

*Jourdan Lewis made a couple of nice plays during team period, and provided an edge that the defense was feeding off of. Lewis has been good in all of the padded practices, but particularly the last two.

*It was another productive day for the defensive line. Tarell Basham was wrecking shop for a lot of the day. Basham was winning running the arc against tackles, and won with a bull rush as well. Basham is on the bubble, and it’s these types of practices that will help his case on cutdown day. Neville Gallimore flashed with a few pass rushes, and once again it was Osa Odighizuwa getting consistent pressure inside.

*Tyler Smith continues to impress since the team started padded practices. The play strength that we could only see brief glimpses of in earlier practices has been on full display in pads. Several times on Thursday Smith was driving his man completely off the ball.

*Good practice for two other corners today: Nahshon Wright and Anthony Brown both made plays on the ball during team period. Trevon Diggs settled down in team period after a rough few reps in individuals and 7-on-7.