Dallas Cowboys Training Camp: A Look Ahead to Thursday

Now that BTB's on-scene coverage of Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 2009 has come to a conclusion, we get ready for the next phase, a pre-season game. This Thursday, the Cowboys will take on the Raiders and we'll get a first look at this new Cowboys team under "game" conditions.

First order of business: Who will actually play in the game? We've had some injuries over the weekend and into Monday's sessions, so here's a breakdown of the wounded.

Terence Newman has been sidelined with the groin injury and will likely be held out of Thursday's tilt. It looks to be the same for Mike Jenkins and his sprained ankle. Felix Jones missed the morning session on Monday with soreness in his surgically-repaired toe but participated in the afternoon. Martellus Bennett was held out of the afternoon session with a knee problem, but tweeted he is fine and ready to go. Deon Anderson has been out since Sunday with a knee and Steve Octavien has been out since Saturday.

Much more after the jump.

With Newman and Jenkins out, there's been some shuffling at the backup corner spots. I mentioned how backup corner behind the main three was a problem early in camp, and it doesn't look like anyone has made a move to establish themselves as the fourth CB. Both Courtney Brown and Mike Mickens have had some struggles at camp, and Michael Hawkins, who looked good early has been injured for over a week. Now, the Cowboys will have to use Alan Ball, who was taking reps exclusively at safety for a while, for some of the reps and rookie DeAngelo Smith has now been asked to split time between safety and corner. All of these guys will get opportunites to step forward and claim the 4th and 5th corner spots this week.

Another hot topic at camp, who will claim the fifth receiver spot. Isaiah Stanback was the prohibitive favorite, but another injury has cost him more time and doesn't help the Cowboys gain confidence that he can actually stay healthy. This has opened the door for a trio of guys, Kevin Ogletree, Mike Jefferson and Willie Reid. Both Ogletree and Jefferson had good days at reciever during camp, and Reid is being given every opporunity to grab a spot as a special teams return man. Stanabck will need to stay healthy and shine in the early pre-season, or potentially lose out. This will be a good battle to watch. Meanwhile, for more on the Cowboys WR's, mainly the top-four, check out this Yahoo! Sports article

Keeping the Cowboys receivers on-track at camp, and hitting them financially if they wander, is none other than Commissioner Roy Williams.

"Receivers have fines for mental errors, missed assignments, failing to convert on a route if you block the wrong guy. It all adds up" Austin said. But there is a way to cancel out some of the fines. "Get a touchdown, the more you get the more you can mess up." Of course, that defeats the purpose. Who is keeping track of all these errors anyway?

It's none other than Roy Williams who instituted the system and named himself "Commissioner." Roy adds up the errors as he sees them, writes them on his hand or on receiver coach Ray Sherman's play sheet.

It's a funny article, go check it out.

Having seen new kicker David Buehler kick at  camp, I got a good feeling he's going to stick around. This week, he'll get a real test during those pre-season game-like conditions. I'm hoping to see quite a few touchbacks on Thursday night. He's already got a cult following at camp but fans keep confusing him with other palyers.

"I get ‘Jon Kitna.' ‘Nick Folk,'" Buehler said. "I'm kind of surprised when people in the stands know who I am and shout, ‘Buehler.' We all have the same kind of haircut. We all look alike. It's fun."

I was very curious to see who would step up at the OLB backup spots. After DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, there's not a lot of experience. Two guys caught my eye at the practices, Victor Butler and Steve Octavien. Both guys showed flashes of being able to rush the passer. I've read that Brandon Williams has also started to have some good days. Octavien is the guy who will really be hurt by injury if it keeps him out of Thursday's game, he needs every advantage he can get to make an impression. I hope all three see action so we can all get a glimpse of what they can do. Matt Mosley's a fan of Butler, too.

Other positions of interest include the backup NT which Raf has warned us about and the play of Bobby Carpenter.

Here are the practice notes from the DMN for Monday.

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