By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ The Cowboys returned from the bye week as healthier than they were at the start of the season and recharged to improve on their 2-2 start.
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick returned to practice for the first time since suffering a sprained ankle in the season opener and will play against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
It will be the first time all season that the Cowboys will have a healthy secondary, particularly the top three cornerbacks, Scandrick, Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman on the field together. Newman missed the first two games with a groin injury.
Also returing to practice Monday after the bye were receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (quad), safety Barry Church (shoulder), safety Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion), kicker David Buhler (groin).
"Well, it feels good," coach Jason Garrett said. "You guys have heard me say this before, injuries are a part of the National Football League in 32 cities across this league. We just have to understand that. We did a good job of battling through some of the injuries -- the individual players fighting through it themselves but also the backup players trying to take advantage of their opportunities. Having said all that, it's better to have the guys, your starters, back out there practicing and moving towards playing in the game on Sunday."
The Cowboys are also ready and excited to play again after an up and down first four games that included two comeback wins and two tumultuous losses in which the team collapsed after taking fourth quarter leads. The Cowboys practiced twice last week then Garrett gave the team four days off.
"I think it’s important to recharge your battery and get away from it a little bit," Garrett said. "We’ve got some good work in on the practice fields and in the meeting rooms last week but the players were off after practice on Wednesday until this morning. For those guys to just get away from the building, some guys just get out of town, spend some time with their family and certainly try to think at time about the first four games of the season and where we’ve been and maybe more importantly get away from it and start thinking about where we are going. And we tried to do that as coaches and we tried to reset it this morning in our meetings and in our practice today and said, OK, this is what happened, this is where we’re going and this is the plan for getting there."