A new feature on DallasCowboys.com this training camp is to hand out some Cowboys-themed "gold stars" after each padded practice here in Oxnard. Monday had rare appearances on this list from Jaylon Smith and Ezekiel Elliott. But both have definitely had impressive camps so far.
Rob Phillips:Zeke needs more 'camp stars' in this space than he's gotten so far in camp. Not that we take Ezekiel Elliott for granted, but perhaps we haven't said often enough how good he's been in practice. He looks to be in terrific shape, and 230-pound running backs just aren't this agile. Elliott made another one of those special cuts during team drills, bouncing outside (with a nice seal from Cameron Fleming) for a big gain. He might've scored about a 60-yard touchdown later in practice if he hadn't slipped on the grass.
Nick Eatman: The Cowboys have seemingly fixed their lack of depth issues on the offensive line last year, and a big reason for that is Cameron Fleming. On Monday, the tackle got first-team reps with Tyron Smith sitting out and he was pretty good once again. He doesn't win every rep but he's a physical presence who is hard to move. Once he locks in with his hands, these defensive ends are having a hard time breaking free. The Cowboys might have found a suitable swing tackle with this guy.
Bryan Broaddus: I was asked today by another writer covering practice if Dorance Armstrong was having a better camp than what Randy Gregory had when he was a rookie? I remember Gregory doing some special things as a rusher his first year but I don't remember him doing them as consistently as Armstrong has. It really hasn't made a difference for Armstrong on which side he has lined up or who he has been matched up against. His ability to play with a plan in mind and the ability to bend has made it tough on blockers.
David Helman: I continue to be impressed by Jaylon Smith. if the guy carries this run of play into the season, he's going to have a hell of a year. His improvement in coverage was on full display on Monday, as I counted at least three occasions where he broke up balls down the field. He started things off with a nice PBU on Dalton Schultz, and he carried that into red zone drills where he didn't bite on a double-move from Geoff Swaim and kept the tight end from scoring a touchdown. He also played fantastic coverage on Ezekiel Elliott in the flat, as he denied him a short pass from Dak Prescott. His instincts are on point, and he is showing the athleticism to go with them. It's a lot of fun to watch.
Mickey Spagnola: Been noticing this the past couple of days, so it's time to send some love toward Geoff Swaim, the most complete tight end the Cowboys have. He's been really good on the underneath routes and is developing a good rapport with Dak Prescott. Monday he had a nice catch on an underneath route. Then when working in a red zone, he ran one of those Jason Witten routes to the back of the end zone, leaping up to make the catch as he was trying to keep his feet in bounds. He was ruled out, but I say he was in. Would definitely have thrown the red flag to challenge that one. Plus, he has been doing a nice job blocking, better than any of the other guys. Star No. 1 for Swaim.
|Player Name||Star of the Day Total|
|Leighton Vander Esch||2|
|Lance Lenoir Jr.||2|