OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys got an earlier look than normal at their young players and new additions before breaking camp Friday afternoon in Oxnard, Calif.
This year, they had a fifth preseason matchup added to the schedule with the Hall of Fame Game, giving everyone more time to analyze the group and think about the 53-man roster. As the Cowboys get set to head to Arizona for their third preseason game before returning to Dallas to continue preseason practices, the DallasCowboys.com staff has put together its highlights from training camp.
Nick – Earlier this week, I put D-Ware as the No. 1 player in camp and I stand by that. But MVP is different than best player.
Rowan – It’s got to be DeMarcus Ware. He answered every question about whether or not he could be as effective with his hand on the ground as a defensive end. The switch might make him even more dominant, as long as he stays healthy. He’s created tremendous pressure on the quarterback and been a handful for Tyron Smith every day in practice. In addition, he’s been able to stop the run on the way to the pass, which is what Rod Marinelli asks for in practice.
Best Draft Pick:
Nick – It’s hard to argue Frederick, since he’s the only starter. Wilcox has been pretty good, too. But I have this feeling when the preseason ends, the Cowboys will be very high on
Rowan – Travis Frederick has been everything the Cowboys hoped he would be, and he’s the only draft pick consistently playing with the first group, so for that, he’s my answer here. Frederick’s presence makes the injuries at guard a little easier to deal with because of his flexibility, and he seems to provide the base in the middle the Cowboys needed. In a couple years, though, this answer could be
David – J.J. Wilcox. He’s shown enough understanding of the scheme to earn a second-string spot on the defense as a rookie. He’s shown enough aggression and physicality to be a constant topic of conversation in Jason Garrett’s press conferences. He made 13 total tackles during the two preseason games while the Cowboys were in California. Factor in a red zone interception against Oakland, and it’s a pretty solid camp.
Caught My Eye…
Nick – Sticking with the theme of this category, it has to be
Bryan – In my list of top ten players in this camp for DallasCowboys.com, I wrote about what I had seen from
Most Significant Injury:
Bryan – It happened in the first hour of the first practice, when
Rowan – Anthony Spencer. Clearly, Tyrone Crawford’s injury is much worse than Spencer’s, but the loss of Crawford wouldn’t hurt as bad if the team knew what they had right now in Spencer. The starting defensive end hurt his knee at the very beginning of camp and still hasn’t returned to the field. In a switch for the first time to defensive end as a pro, it would be nice to know what Spencer can bring down after down. Without a day of practice and with no set date for a return, the Cowboys have to hope Spencer can come back strong and play the way he did at the end of last season at a different position.
David – Tyrone Crawford. Much is made of the problems on the offensive line, but the Cowboys got absolutely no production from Crawford, who they expected to make significant contributions this year. As a result of Crawford’s injury, the Cowboys are juggling between journeymen backups.
Nick – With all of the injuries the Cowboys endured the season before, staying healthy was on everyone’s mind. But on the first day of camp, just watching Tyrone Crawford slam his fist on the ground and hold the back of his ankle, we all knew what it was. Crawford had just torn his Achilles without much contact at all. He got carted off the field with his face buried in a towel and it was hard not to have the “here we go again” mentality. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the injury bug hasn’t been too devastating after that.
Bryan – Watching my son interview
Rowan – Throughout the course of a season, night games on the road usually mean arrivals back home in the wee hours of the morning. We got a taste of that after the Hall of Fame Game, but it also led to one of our best radio shows of camp. The group arrived back in Oxnard around 5 a.m., and rather than wake up and do our site’s respective radio shows in the morning, we decided to have a joint show of Talkin’ Cowboys and Lunch Break right when we got back. Everyone was groggy, but it turned out to be one of the better shows this year and was surreal to think we’d been at the Hall of Fame earlier that evening.
David – That time I thought Sean Lee was going to kill Terrance Williams. The rookie receiver apparently held Lee, who is one of the most ferocious people I’ve ever seen practice, during a play, and Lee let him know what he thought about it in no uncertain terms. As if that wasn’t memorable enough,
Nick – There are so many ways to go here but I think this team still has to figure out if they're deep enough to win. Sure, they have talented players at several spots but when, not if, but when the team suffers major injury setbacks, can they find a way to rally enough and still compete. This is a dangerous league and injuries happen to every team. We all know that. I just wonder if they're good enough from player 1 to 53 to survive at the end of the season.
Bryan – I am still not sure who is going to start at this Sam linebacker spot and whether its
Rowan – It’s still tough to gauge how this red zone offense will respond this year. The Cowboys only scored a touchdown half the time they got in the red zone last season, and the numbers weren’t much better when they got in goal-to-go situations. The preseason game against the Raiders couldn’t make anyone feel much better about the red zone woes for the first-team offense, either. It’s an area the team is emphasizing during practice with mixed results, and we’ve yet to see if they can turn it around in a game. A better rushing attack should help that out.
David – Thanks to this latest news about Ronald Leary, it’s hard to feel totally confident in the offensive line. When will Leary be ready to play again? What about