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Cowboys Camp Notebook: A TE Thumbs-Up, A LB Thumbs-Down

We empty the Sunday Cowboys notebook with an Oxnard win and an Oxnard loss

OXNARD, Calif. - They're all on the same squad, practicing together. So when one guy or one side wins a play at training camp here in Oxnard, the Dallas Cowboys win.

But because they opponent is a teammate ... the Dallas Cowboys also lose.

So it was on Sunday as backup tight end Dalton Schultz took advantage of his opportunities while starter Blake Jarwin eases in ... with linebacker Keanu Neal one of the defenders who on the day was taken advantage of.

We empty the Sunday Cowboys notebook ...

*THUMBS-UP: Schultz had his best practice of camp despite a drop.

"I start with (what) I can improve,'' he said. "I dropped an easy one-step slant," Schultz said. "That's really all I'm thinking about, minimizing those plays. But yeah, I thought it was a good practice but you always have to be thinking about what you can do to make it better."

*'CHARISMA DAWG': Micah Parsons simply has star quality. We can harp on his dropped interception, or we can note that he is all over the field, on Sunday even slipping inside to line up as a defensive tackle.

The coaches are trying to not over-feed him. But he is hungry.

*BLOOD-THIRSTY: So is the O-line - hungry "for blood,'' that is, as Connor Williams explains above.

Zack Martin got a vet's day off on Sunday, so there was some shuffling. Williams played some center. Connor McGovern subbed for him at left guard, with Brandon Knight getting a shot at working as the first-team right guard, while Connor Williams' move to center allowed Connor McGovern to get some work as the left guard.

*LB PUSH: Micah's presence, by the way, has pushed Jaylon Smith in a good direction.

“I think he’s done a great job, once again not only with Micah Parsons but other guys,'' coach Mike McCarthy said of Smith. "Jaylon is all football.”

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But, McCarthy added: “The competition is real.”

*PICK IT UP: Carlos Watkins does not look ready to be a first-team defensive lineman here. "Lethargic'' might be the word. All in all, the interior defensive linemen are lacking ... and yeah, the Cowboys should probably give that Geno Atkins idea continued consideration, though third-round draft pick Osa Odighizuwa might get a chance to accelerate this thing.

Or, McCarthy can be right when he says of Neville Gallimore, a 2020 third-round pick, “He’s had a tremendous, tremendous offseason. ...Neville has taken a huge jump." OK.

*SAFETY PIN: Meanwhile, the Cowboys do recognize that the safety situation is mediocre. A few days from now, Malik Hooker should be under contract. In the meantime, yes, Donovan Wilson, trying to hang onto a hard-earned starting job, is aware of the buzz.

So he made a buzzy play on Sunday.

*COOP CORDS: Amari Cooper (ankle) was rehabbing on the cords on Sunday, leaving CeeDee Lamb to play the star. But Malik Turner, Noah Brown and Reggie Davis all flashed here.

*8BALL Had a good talk with camp visitor Troy Aikman, the Cowboys Hall-of-Famer. Watch it all below.

*QB2: The fight for the backup QB job isn't going to be won by Cooper Rush unless he overcomes the back spasms that have sidelined him. Tough deal. Meanwhile,  Dak Prescott is in command, Garrett Gilbert is the No. 2 and we would suggest you not believe too much of the hype of a "new'' Ben DiNucci.

*CB DREAM: Does Dallas need more cornerback help? Here comes the signing of Kyron Brown ... and here comes the dream of Xavien Howard.

*WE CAN'T!: "We can't block'' Randy Gregory ... yeah, again. Bigger and stronger, but still fast and bendy. A force.

*MISCELLANEOUS: I don't like Lamb as the punt returner; risk/reward is a bad deal. Along with him, Cedrick Wilson and Trevon Diggs took some Sunday turns. ... Monday is a full day off for players - and then it's full-pads for the first time on Wednesday. ... Rookie receiver Simi Fehoko offered up a pair of tough catches ...  Ezekiel Elliott - slimmed down to 218, as he told me - is having more on-field fun at camp than he's had in years. There is a pep in his step that is reminiscent of his "playful-puppy-dog'' rookie season. ... DeMarcus Lawrence continues his sideline rehab work and looks slim.

*THE FINAL WORD: "