Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Preview
The Dallas Cowboys have always been known as America's Team, but they have just won only two playoff games in the past 20 plus years. Dallas hasn't won the Super Bowl since the 1995 regular season and the 1996 postseason. The Cowboys missed the playoffs last season with a 9-7 record.
They had a 13-3 record the previous season and the Dallas Cowboys once again were eliminated in their first game. In 2017, the Cowboys had to deal with a lot. Tyronn Smith wasn't fully healthy and more importantly, running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games for his off the field issues. He appealed his suspension a couple of times, but then Elliott realized it was enough.
Dak Prescott wasn't the same without him. The Dallas Cowboys have a simple formula: run the ball 25-30 times, play turnover free football, and play fundamentally sound defense.
Dallas also released wide receiver Dez Bryant in the offseason. Bryant couldn't create separation anymore and he didn't have the same energy. Bryant brought a lot of attention to the Cowboys and in ways, Prescott's numbers weren't good when throwing to him.
He will miss throwing to tight end Jason Witten and Witten decided to retire this offseason. He will probably be a first ballot hall of famer. Witten is one of the best tight ends to ever play this sport. The Dallas Cowboys open training camp on Thursday July 26.
Dak Prescott will be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper Rush will be the backup quarterback. Rookie Mike White and Dalton Sturm will compete for the third quarterback spot on the roster.
Ezekiel Elliott will be the starting running back. Rod Smith and rookie Bo Scarbrough will both make the roster, but they will both compete for the number two job. I could see Smith winning that job, but Scarbrough will improve as the year goes on and he could steal carries away from Smith, when Elliott is not on the field. Trey Williams, Jordan Chunn, and Darius Jackson will compete for the final running back spot on the roster.
Jamize Olawale will be the full back for the Cowboys.
The wide receiver battle will be the most wide open battle in training camp. Dallas doesn't have a true number one receiver at the moment. The Cowboys may not have a true number one until the middle of the regular season or later. Rookie Michael Gallup and Allen Hurns will most likely be the starting wide receivers. Cole Beasley will most likely be the slot receiver. Terrance Williams, Tavon Austin, and Deonte Thompson should make the roster, as the fourth, fifth, and sixth receivers, but you never know. Rookie Cedric Wilson, Marchie Murdock, Noah Brown, K.D. Cannon, Lance Lenoir, and Mekale McKay will also compete for a potential roster spot.
The starting tight end spot is also up for grabs in training camp. Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers, rookies Dalton Schultz and David Wells are the five tight ends on the roster entering training camp. Jarwin has been targeted a lot by Prescott in offseason programs . Dallas will most likely keep three tight ends on the roster and I don't see them keeping four on the roster. I think the three tight ends that will make the roster are Swaim, Jarwin, and Schultz.
The offensive line is the Dallas Cowboys strength of this team. Tyron Smith will be the starting left tackle. Rookie Connor Williams and Kadeem Edwards will compete for the starting left guard job. Travis Frederick will be the starting center. Zack Martin will be the starting right guard. La'el Collins will be the starting right tackle. Marcus Martin will be a key backup offensive lineman. Chaz Green and Cameron Fleming will compete for a backup tackle spot.
The Dallas Cowboys play a 4-3 defensive front. As the year went on last season, they started to develop a pass rush. Defensive end Randy Gregory was recently reinstated by the NFL after his year long suspension. It may not be a sure lock he will make the Cowboys roster. Gregory is 25 years old and he is a heck of a talent if he ever gets on the field.
On the defensive line, Demarcus Lawerence and Tyrone Crawford will be starting at defensive end. Maliek Collins will be one of the starting defensive tackles. With David Irving suspended for the first four games of the season, the other starting defensive tackle spot is up for grabs. Jihad Ward and Brian Price will compete for the other starting defensive tackle spot. Taco Charlton and Datone Jones, and Kony Ealy will most likely be in the rotation on the defensive line. Randy Gregory will have a tough time cracking the roster.
The Cowboys will have a very good linebacking core in 2018 if they stay healthy. Rookie Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee will be the starting linebackers. After those three, they are very thin at the linebacker position. Damien Wilson will be a key backup linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown will be the top three cornerbacks on the roster. Jourdan Lewis will be the fourth cornerback on the roster. Marquez White and Duke Thomas will compete for the final cornerback spot on the roster.
Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods will be the starting safeties. Marqueston Huff will be a key backup safety.
Dan Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker and and Chris Jones will be the Cowboys punter. Tavon Austin will be most likely be Dallas's kickoff returner and punt returner.
The Dallas Cowboys will open up the regular season on the road on September 9 against the Carolina Panthers. Dallas will look to have a bounce back 2018 season and they hope to have everyone stay healthy, including linebacker Sean Lee and running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Dallas Cowboys can win anywhere between 8-13. They could be fighting for a wild card spot or they could be one of the best teams in the NFC. This is also a big season for head coach Jason Garrett.
This article was originally published on @gk18