The Summer stretch is over, and training camp has finally kicked off.
Day one is in the books.
- Dez Bryant arrived 45-minutes early for practice and was the first Cowboy on the field, much to pleasure of the 19,000 odd fans that clambered into the Alamodome, who gave him a loud round of applause. What I found just as intriguing, was the fact that Bryant was also the last Cowboy off the field. Staying longer to sign autographs and speak to the media about how happy he is to be a Cowboy and be playing football again.
- Bryan McCann, who I did a Q & A with earlier in the offseason, had a practice to forget. Both Bryant and Ogletree made catches over McCann, who wasn’t actually beat, but just couldn’t make the play on the ball.
- Romo will need to shake off some rust, after looking rather pedistrian in most drills. Most of his throws were either under or overthrown, and he never seemed to get into a consistent rhythm. Nothing to be concerned about, but still worth to watch. As I said earlier in the offseason, I believe Romo will be working hard on improving his deep balls during training camp, and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.
What to watch for as camp continues:
- Marcus Spears, and how he responds to being paid less than two bench players – Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen – and being the subject of numerous trade rumours (all of which have been shot down by Jerry Jones). Last season was, in my opinion, Spears’ best. He came into training camp tipping the scale at just over 300-pounds, and performed admirably, considering he was only a two-down player. Can he hold of Hatcher and Bowen for another season, though? He may lose more playing time, as the coaches insert Hatcher and Bowen more, to try and gauge whether either deserves a long-term deal. But ultimately, I believe Spears will keep his starting job.
- Dez Bryant vs. Roy Williams. If Bryant can digest the playbook and develop a rapport with Romo, he could be seeing a lot more balls coming his way than anyone first predicted. However, Williams will not lose his starting job because of this. Period. Bryant may take snaps away from Williams, but he won’t take away his title as starting receiver. Why? Because Bryant doesn’t care about the title, so why rock the boat? Phillips let Greg Ellis keep his starting position during the 2008 season, even though he was really just a glorified pass-rush specialist.
- The competition for the fourth-cornerback position. Bryan McCann and JaMar Wall, probably have more of a chance at making the final 53-man roster, as oppose to Cletis Gordon. Both offer more upside and special teams ability. However, Gordon does have starting experience and history with Wade Phillips. It’ll come down to who can hold their own the best against the likes of Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Co.
These are just a few of the things to watch as training camp progresses. I will post my observation regulalry and any new position battles I see brewing.
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