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Training Camp | 2023

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Highlights from Thursday coordinator availability


OXNARD, Calif. — Training camp in Oxnard officially wrapped up on Thursday afternoon, as the Cowboys will travel to Seattle this weekend for their second of three preseason contests before returning home to finish off the backend of camp.

Thursday's final session also included offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and special teams coordinator John Fassel catching up with the media to discuss the 89 guys in the building at this point and the team's progression through the preseason.

Here were the highlights from the availability.

Turpin's job is safe, if there was any doubt

Coming into training camp, there was a small buzz on social media and in Oxnard about if KaVontae Turpin's roster spot was solidified with little offensive experience and another capable returner in Deuce Vaughn being in the building.

However, Fassel communicated to the media on Thursday that he expects Turpin to have an even bigger season in 2023 in the return game as he continues to also pick up a role offensively.

"I think Turp is the incumbent, for sure," Fassel said. "We have a Pro Bowl returner in Turp. I think he's become a much better punt catcher, even though I think he was very good at it before. He's special, I envision him being even more special this year than he was last year."

That being said, Fassel also sees potential for Deuce Vaughn and others in the return game, but it is Turpin's full-time job until further notice.

"I see him as the guy who's returning kickoffs and punts, and as Deuce continues to get some work, he'll be right there too to give us an extra guy," he said. "Going into the season, you always want at least two guys that can do it. I think we actually have more than two."

Confidence in short-yardage Tony Pollard

With Ezekiel Elliott out of the equation and Tony Pollard taking over full-time RB1 responsibilities, a question that has arisen has been if Pollard can be the reliable option in short-yardage situations or on the goal line to punch it into the end zone. For Schottenheimer, that answer is simple.

"Can Tony be a really good short-yardage, goal line runner? Absolutely," Schottenheimer said. "There's a part of that that's heart and desire as well. It's not just him doing it himself, it's the offensive line. There are certainly things that we can structure from a play type, gameplan and things like that. I have no question that he can be efficient in that role for us. His explosiveness, his speed, his finishing skills, I think will make him a very good short yardage runner."

Preparation for week one is near

When asked on Thursday when the staff will start preparing for the season opener against the New York Giants, Schottenheimer gave a timeline that should excite everyone about how close the season really is.

"Probably in the next week-to-10 days," he said. "Division opponent, we know them well, but we're finishing up the installation phase. We're pretty much done with the installation phase, get through this game and then one more game. We'll start doing a little bit more on them in the next week-to-10 days. It'll be a fun matchup, look forward to going up there on Sunday night."

Quinn excited for Jourdan Lewis' return

It's been a long wait for defensive back Jourdan Lewis in his return from a Lisfranc foot injury that he suffered last season, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is growing in excitement as Lewis' day to return to the field gets closer.

"We're so excited, because for those of you that don't know Jourdan, he is an absolute warrior," Quinn said. "He's one of our very best competitors for those of you that have been around him and watched him play. It's no surprise that a person like that attacked his rehab portion like he did, because this is a really serious injury that Jourdan had."

"I'm not surprised going through the offseason, early in the mornings seeing him in the weight rooms and doing his stuff. It'll be a really cool moment when he's able to get back on the field with these guys. Every single person in that locker room knows he is a true warrior and he's a true part of that in a big way."

Confidence growing in Brandon Aubrey

The newest Dallas Cowboy in the building remains very much in the hunt for a starting job in 2023 as rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey continues to take in reps both in training camp and the preseason in order to etch a potential starting position in 2023.

When asked about where Aubrey is at, Fassel alluded to his growth and belief in himself now that he has taken all of the reps since Tristan Vizcaino's departure earlier this month.

"I've seen growing confidence in the operation, and he's really shown great professional attributes as far as preparation, his plan, his work ethic and then obviously his talent," Fassel said. "I'm excited about these next couple of games and seeing what he's got, because I think he's got some game."

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