Cowboys Training Camp Primer

2015 Camp Day 2

Training camp is twenty-eight days away, ARE YOU READY!?!?!?

Camp is where championship teams are built (barring significant injuries) and hard work is rewarded with the possibility of playing time. For the last three years the Cowboys have been lauded as a championship contender by NFL analysts. I can understand why, with an offense that is this stacked. You have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant returning from injury, a highly rated rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliott and what some rank as the number one offensive line in the NFL. This is the recipe for a potent high scoring offense. Terrence Williams is in a contract year and ready to prove his inability to grab the number one position in Bryant’s absence was because of poor quarterback play versus his own.

The Cowboys have so many options on offense that if key players stay healthy I expect the team to average at least 26 points per game. This offense will have to heavily improve it’s red zone efficiency in order to reach that point total. That will fall on Scott Linehan and his play calling who at times has run an offense that is too vanilla. I know it would never happen but it would be interesting to see Linehan create a red zone package for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. The package that I envision would consist of no more than five play-action roll-out plays with two reads. I know it sounds crazy but it would give Prescott the opportunity to get his feet wet in a actual NFL huddle as well as keep him engaged. A man can only wish but you know the old saying “Wish in one hand and crap in the other”. I wish that the Cowboys had a plan for this defense.

The defense will start camp with most of the starters ready to compete. Maliek Collins and his broken foot will miss the majority of camp which will set him back. My biggest concern is not the defensive tackle group. I firmly believe that Tyrone Crawford and Co. will provide the needed push in the middle but the defensive end group is another matter entirely. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will be in camp and play in preseason games but once the season starts they both will serve their suspensions. I think it is imperative for Marinelli to not waste precious preseason snaps on either player. This is the time to look at Charles Tapper, David Irving, Russell Ryan and Michael McAdoo and if I was Stephen Jones, I would have a strong conversation with the Jeremy Mincey haters in the building. Although he didn’t produce in his final year with the team, i’m sure his exile has more to do with him speaking out about the locker room dissent than his productivity. Maybe Red Ball has a little Jimmy Johnson in him after all. (Insert smirk)

The linebacker group took a hit with Rolando McClain’s suspension but i’m under the belief that Anthony Hitchens is ready for the job and will excel if given the opportunity. This linebacker group lacks the experience you’d like but have young athletes in Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha who will need to show that they have a firm grasp of the defense before they move up the ladder. I think the team is going to give this group the opportunity to prove itself before deciding if a veteran is needed. Lance Briggs anyone? (I Kid)

It seems the Cowboys secondary will be playing with an attitude this season. Morris Claiborne is tired of hearing about his shortcomings and is sounding like he is ready to fulfill his potential. Sounds good, right? Let’s just hope that it’s not all talk (again). If he can escape camp injury free, is it possible that he has a great season? Anything is possible and playing on a one year contract can inspire greatness.

This team will need Orlando Scandrick back and ready to play by the season opener and that can happen with a light camp. The team will most likely hold him out of contact drills for the beginning of camp and increase his workload later. The team will see how fifth round draft pick Anthony Brown handles himself. Josh Thomas is on his second tour with the team and Deji Olatoye provided enough positive plays last year to to earn the chance to compete.

In my mind, this team has a long way to go before fulfilling fans dreams of winning another Super Bowl, but camp is where it starts. The team has acknowledged some of it’s shortcomings but remains steadfast in its belief that a good running game will help hide some of it’s deficiencies. Tut are they the only ones that believe that?

So Mote It Be!