IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have three more practices left this offseason before the start of training camp in late July in Oxnard, Calif.
Until then, the three-day minicamp here at Valley Ranch will give the team one last look at player development, position battles and how some guys are returning from injury.
Since it's the only mandatory practices for the players this offseason, it should also provide the first time all year with the full 90-player roster will be on hand.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have weighed in on their most intriguing storylines for this week's minicamp.
David Helman: Given the amount of shuffling in the defensive secondary, it's going to be interesting to take a look at this team's defensive backs during minicamp. Orlando Scandrick is still rehabbing from last year's knee injury, and it's unlikely he's going to participate much in the competitive portions of this week's practices. On top of that, the Cowboys released former draft pick Terrance Mitchell last week, along with rookie Brandon McGee, in an effort to churn the depth chart. We don't know much about their two most recent additions, veteran corners Isaiah Frey and Dax Swanson, but it's a good bet the two will have some opportunities at the back end of the order. Safety figures to feature some similar movement. Byron Jones is holding down one of the starting spots, but Barry Church said last week he'll be sitting out of the full-team portions of practice until training camp. That leaves plenty of reps for the likes of J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier. In other words, we have a pretty good idea of what the starting secondary will look like in September. But for the time being, there should be plenty of reps to go around in filling out the depth chart.
Nick Eatman: I'll take the somewhat-easy answer here and focus on the players we haven't seen here at Valley Ranch this summer. Guard Ron Leary has skipped out on most of the offseason work, including all OTA practices, but is expected to be here for the minicamp. Likely not excited about his role as the backup guard here in the final year of his contract, Leary has requested a trade but the Cowboys have made it clear they aren't interested in giving away a proven starter that can provide quality depth for cheap. I think this is a good chance to see how he compares to veteran Joe Looney, who should be able to back up both guard and center spots. If Looney holds his own, it might give the Cowboys the peace of mind of parting with Leary for the right price. The Cowboys also haven't seen Rolando McClain much this offseason but the linebacker is also expected to be here this week.
Rob Phillips: Dez Bryant got in some individual work last week during OTAs and likely will follow a similar plan during minicamp, according to Jason Garrett. So while Bryant's unlikely to get in full practices this week, the star receiver will continue to make steady progress from January foot and ankle surgery as the Cowboys build toward training camp in a few weeks. It also means more reps for the other receivers this week. Brice Butler has been working with the first-team offense opposite Terrance Williams, and younger wideouts such as Lucky Whitehead, Devin Street and Vince Mayle will continue to get reps. Minicamp's also another opportunity for the Cowboys' three rookie free agent receivers – Andy Jones, Chris Brown and Ed Eagan. Jones in particular made some plays in OTAs.
Bryan Broaddus: It has been a great sign that Tony Romo has been able to practice without any limitations through these OTA practices. Romo hasn't had any days off which means physically is he is doing well with the collarbone, but more importantly his back. What I am interested to see if in these next three days whether Jameill Showers is going to get any more work than he has? It appears that it's Romo and Kellen Moore, then a one- or two-snap set from Dak Prescott and that's it. I don't believe that there is any doubt that we won't see Showers in these preseason games but it sure looks like the coaching staff is protecting Moore from any real competition right now from what I have seen these past several weeks.