The Dallas Cowboys will be taking a break to rest after three consecutive days of practice. While the team is getting a much deserved day off, they are probably getting some work done in the film room.
So far the reports coming in are positive. In my opinion, Jason Garrett runs a tighter ship than Wade Phillips, and Garrett is a perfectionist who demands excellence from his players. Practices under Garrett are tough, and he wants crisp execution. I believe that the way Garrett runs his training camp will make the Dallas Cowboys a better football team.
I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the players making the right and wrong impression at training camp in Oxnard. It is a little early to make final judgement on any player right now, but we can discuss who is standing out in a good or bad way.
Take the jump for more...
- Barry Church: Church was given a big opportunity to become a starting safety when Brodney Pool failed his conditioning test, and Church has stepped up and been great so far. He continues to make plays, but his confidence and understanding of the defense are really showing on the field.
- Cole Beasley: Beasley has watched his stock rise since the mini-camps back in Dallas. He continues to get open and make plays, but his size does become a factor on special teams. I will be shocked if he gets cut when the Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster, but they did cut Danny Amendola due to his size limitations.
- Dez Bryant: Dez really needed to come into this training camp in shape and that is exactly what he has done. He looks great on the field physically, but his improved route running may suggest that he is finally understanding what it takes to play the wide receiver position in the NFL.
- Tim Benford: Benford is trying to make an impression and make the roster as an undrafted free agent, but the odds will be against him. So far he is making plays, and O.C.C. sees a little Patrick Crayton in him, which is a good thing.
- Kyle Wilber: Everything being reported out of Oxnard so far suggests that Wilber is going to be a good player for the Cowboys. His experience in the 3-4 defense from college may keep him ahead of the learning curve, but Wilber has also been showing off his athletic ability as a pass rusher.
- Jason Hatcher: It's hard to evaluate pass rushers and offensive lineman this early into camp, but Hatcher continues to make plays. If he stays healthy, Hatcher could have a career season.
- Clifton Geathers: Geathers is finally putting it all together and having a great training camp. The Cowboys have kept him around because they thought he had talent, and right now it's looking like a good decision to keep him on the roster the past few years.
- Orie Lemon: During the offseason I said that Lemon would have to work on his coverage skills, and that is exactly what he has been improving on. Lemon is making a strong case to make the team as the #4 ILB, but Alex Albright is right behind him due to his versatility.
- DeMarco Murray: I was a little nervous about him returning from his injury and keeping all of his athleticism, but Murray is looking great. Reports from Oxnard tell us that he looks incredibly smooth, but his burst and acceleration look to be just fine. Murray is due for a big season if the offensive line can block and open up holes for him.
- The center position: I was worried when the Cowboys decided not to upgrade this position in the offseason. With Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski out for an extended amount of time, the Cowboys are scrambling to find a reliable center on the roster. The reports coming out of camp so far haven't been too good for Phil Costa either.
- Raymond Radway: Radway stood out last year due to his athleticism, but he may have lost some of it after suffering that awful injury last pre-season. He had a good day yesterday, but up until then he hasn't been very impressive.
- Josh Brent: O.C.C. said that Brent doesn't have good body language, and appears almost lethargic at times. He may of course simply have been winded, but as much as I like Brent, he needs to improve or a player like Rob Callaway will push him off the roster.
- Caleb McSurdy: I haven't heard anything positive about him, and Orie Lemon is really making strides.
- Stephen McGee: This may be his last rodeo in Dallas. McGee has not developed as a quarterback during his career in Dallas, which is a shame because he will be another disaster from the 2009 draft class.
- Marcus Spears: Spears hasn't stood out in a good way and he is playing on the second-team defense. He could be a cap casualty if he doesn't improve his play.
- Brodney Pool: Pool didn't receive too much confidence from the BTB community even before training camp started, and then he goes out and fails his conditioning test. With Barry Church looking like he is running away with his job, Pool is in danger of even making the 53-man roster.
- Andre Holmes: There is really no excuse for Holmes failing his conditioning test. The other wide receivers are much farther ahead of him, and at this point I will be shocked to see him even make the team. He has a lot of catching up to do, and he better do it quick.