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Dallas Cowboys

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Cowboys end minicamp with spirited moments

All you need to know about the Dallas Cowboys offseason and focus heading into training camp was on full display on the final day of minicamp.

It was spirited and competitive, highlighted by a shoving match between safety Byron Jones and tight end Jason Witten.

"Just having a little fun, competitive, you know," Witten said. "It's been chippy all offseason between the offense and defense. Just making each other better. He's turning into this player and I'm constantly challenging Byron that I think he can play at that level. I think he can be one of those guys. It's good to have those competitions and get him fired up a little bit. Great stage to do it."

Said Jones, "We were just having fun. Just a little fun out there. One more day to compete so why not make it good. He's the ultimate competitor."

That Jones was jawing at Witten showed that he is ready to step up into a leadership role on a defense that lost two cornerbacks and two safeties in free agency.

But it was also evident the team's maligned defense is not going to take a back seat to a Cowboys offense that has been the heart and soul of the team for so long.

"As a team, I think the defense dominated," Jones said, smiling. "We like to get in the offense's behind. They talk some smack to us and we get back at them. It's always a back and forth between us guys. I think we did pretty well today. Guys were going after it."

That can only be a good sign for a team heading into 2017 looking to improve on last year's 13-3 campaign and make a run at the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.

There is no question they are confident in an offense that features Witten, quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Dez Bryant, running back Ezekiel Elliott and the league's best offensive line.

The issue is whether the defense can hold up its end of the bargain. One thing is certain, the defense will be competitive. That was evident in the Witten-Jones battle, per head coach Jason Garrett.

"Guys love to compete and that's what they do," Garrett said. "That's why those two guys are really good football players. It matters to them. Everything matters to them. They scratch and claw and fight for every inch. That's a really healthy thing for your football team."

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