Last week on DallasCowboys.com we posted the Top 10 position battles heading into training camp. I want to try and take it a step further if I can.
The number one battle on our list is at right cornerback. To be honest, I don't believe that the front office drafted Morris Claiborne to sit on the bench and watch while Mike Jenkins played out his final season with the club. There is a reason that Jenkins is part of trade talks and the club is willing to field calls in hopes of maybe getting a acceptable offer.
If a team is willing to part with that type of selection, then the Cowboys will take action in what they feel that is best for their future. Time is on the Cowboys side here, they can move Jenkins or they can keep him as an insurance policy if Claiborne were to struggle out of the gate. Either way, the Cowboys win on the move. There are those of you that read our site everyday that feel that the front office needs to act now to move Jenkins and get what you can. Nobody feels that Claiborne might struggle but what if he does? As a fan wouldn't you feel better allowing Jenkins to step in and play while Claiborne worked out his issues? To me, the front office is handling this the right way. As you are building your team, the first order of business is to try and obtain the best talent. Second, you want to make moves that protect your roster for potential problems. This front office has a price for Mike Jenkins in mind but they also understand that he can also be a solution if something were to go wrong.
I believe that the battles along the offensive line at center and guard are going to take care of themselves. The bottom line will be is Mackenzy Bernadeau better than David Arkin or Ronald Leary and at center is Bill Nagy or Kevin Kowalski better than Phil Costa? In that case, the best player will rise and take that job. I think the same could be said about the third receiver but the battle I am looking forward to is at inside linebacker and who will start next to Sean Lee.
I am willing to go on record and say that the signing of Dan Connor during the free agency period will be just as important as what the front office did in signing Brandon Carr. This signing is another example of what I spoke of earlier and the way that the club makes moves to protect itself and the roster. Bruce Carter is on the field now during these OTA's as Connor rests his shoulder which is good for Carter while he gets these reps but once the pads go on in Oxnard, don't sleep on what Connor can bring.
Connor is an intense and talented player. Carter will need to be at his very best each practice to hold him off from this job. In studying both players, you see guys that are always trying to get to the ball. Carter is a better athlete but Connor understands how to fit and finish in the scheme. Connor's reactions at this point are quicker, while when you watch Carter as when he is paired next to Sean Lee, is a step slower right now. Carter in his pass drops in the OTA's have been spot on and his athletic movement will help him in coverage. I have seen Connor in coverage before against Owen Daniels of the Texans out of the slot and the ability to carry him up the field to defend the ball. Connor can be stout at the point while Carter has to learn how to fight blocks.
There plenty of position battles to watch this pre season but with Carter and Connor you have two players with unique playing styles that could be nice fits for what Rob Ryan is looking for in his defense. I really believe that the other positions will take care of themselves but this inside linebacker spot might be a little more difficult because the players involved because neither one of them is going quietly.