First off, take a listen to my visit with Wess Moore on Fox Sports Arkansas as we chop up what's going on with mini-camp and Darren McFadden, a former Razorback star from 2005-07:
Taking It Easy -- Head coach Jason Garrett indicated in his opening presser that receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Mo Claiborne would do less than they did on day one of mini-camp. This was precisely the case as both players weren't active participants in team portion of practice. Bryant was in straight street clothes as Claiborne remained in uniform but off to the side watching. Joining Bryant in street clothes was cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who did some conditioning work off to the side. The Cowboys' plan is to get these players healthy into training camp where the true evaluation begins.
Old Dogs Can't Learn New Jason Witten may be entering his 14th year in the NFL but he still will not give up. The 11-time Pro Bowler took on second year defensive back Byron Jones in practice. Witten caught a Slam against Jones and proceeded to tell the young buck that he owned him and that he was going to be there all day. Certainly this is to be expected from a veteran who still gets butterflies when going to practice every day. Don't worry: Byron Jones is too good of an investment for the Cowboys to cut him even if one were to yell it on the practice field.
Chewing the Fat -- One of the problems with today's social media environment is that pictures can instantly convey what is happening elsewhere. Along with that, everyone exercises their right to free speech, even if not prudentially. When photos of middle linebacker Rolando McClain surfaced from Cowboys practice, some fans speculated that McClain had gotten "fat" over the off-season, an off-season which featured him missing all of voluntary OTA's for the past three weeks. Our Cowboys insider Mike Fisher reports that Ro is anything but fat, and he isn't alone.
Spell It Out for You -- The reigning Scripps Howard Spelling Bee co-champ, 11-year-old Nihar Janga from Austin, Texas, got a chance to attend Cowboys practice with his family. Coach Garrett was impressed with Janga's ability to make competitive spelling look "natural," but acknowledged that Janga put a lot of time and effort into developing his "natural" ability. After practice, Dez told reporters how much he looked up to Janga since "the champ," as Bryant called him, was better at his trade than Bryant was at football. Witten signed Janga's autographed football and told him to go out and repeat in 2017, except we're sure the 14-year pro meant to take undisputed first place next May.
Vital Statistics -- The Cowboys named ex-Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital their new director of college scouting. The Nicholls State graduate, class of '85 got his start in NFL scouting in 1991 as a scout for the Cleveland Browns coached then by Bill Belichick. Vital made the transition with the Art Modell-owned franchise to Baltimore when the team rebranded themselves as the Ravens. In '97, Vital followed Belichick to the Jets for a couple of seasons before once again joining Belichick in New England from 2001-04. Vital has spent time around some of the best organizations in football. For the Cowboys to hire someone of his caliber in a player personnel role indicates a point we keep reiterating often at CowboysHQ: times have changed in the Cowboys front office.
Tomorrow is when mini-camps close and so does Valley Ranch for good. Then, the club heads out to Oxnard for camp and moves into their new digs in Frisco. Keep it here at CowboysHQ as our man Fish keeps you up to date on all the happenings from inside Cowboys headquarters.