I like to take the fire hose approach in drinking information about the Dallas Cowboys training camp, and Twitter is the modern fountain of choice. Then I troll the more detailed accounts (and kudos to rabblerousr for his most excellent posts from Oxnard). There are some stories emerging from the info overload I'm watching that I hope will bear fruit as the team figures out who will be on the final 53.
Battle to be the last wide receiver in.
From what I am seeing, the first four are set. Dez Bryant is looking like a monster, Miles Austin seems to be playing like we want him to, Dwayne Harris is solid and should also be a key special teams player, and Terrance Williams is shaping up as a good pick in the third round. That leaves Cole Beasley on the bubble, plus the club still has to decide whether it will go with a sixth wideout on the roster. Two players have shown up a lot in the first week of camp. Eric Rogers has gotten a lot of notice for his play early on. And when Dez Bryant and Miles Austin were held out to protect them a bit, Anthony Armstrong had some very good plays. Armstrong may be the fastest receiver in camp, and unlike past speed burners the team has tried to bring in, he actually looks like a real receiver.
The big loser in all this is likely Danny Coale, who may see his NFL chances derailed by injury. Tim Benford is another player who has shown flashes, but as Jason Garrett has made very clear, flashes aren't good enough.
I do think Beasley is going to hang onto a job, and with the 11 personnel package still a big part of the team's offense, I think the team is going to keep a sixth WR for the final 53. With his excellent play the past couple of days, Armstong is my early leader in the race. An added factor to consider is that he is not practice squad eligible, and Rogers is. I think the team will try to get Rogers to the PS, and Coale and Benford both have a shot at that as well, since it is always good to have some insurance players handy, given the beating wide receivers can take during a season.
Safety is looking much better than expected.
The top four safeties in camp, Barry Church, Will Allen, J.J. Wilcox, and Matt Johnson have all looked good, with Allen perhaps the most impressive. Johnson is still having to make up ground after missing his rookie year due to that nasty "I" word, but he is progressing well. Wilcox just looks to be a gamer. I would expect the team to carry five safeties, and that is pretty open at the moment. Eric Frampton may have the lead over Jakar Hamilton at the moment.
The scouting department may have some nice finds that will make the team.
With the loss of Tyrone Crawford and the practices missed by all the expected starters on the defensive line, there are some players that are getting a chance and that may have potential. Although they may be benefiting from the injuries across from them on the offensive line, players like Nick Hayden, Cameron Sheffield, and recent pickup George Selvie are all showing they deserve consideration (despite Selvie getting schooled a bit by a DeMarco Murray stiff-arm on Saturday).
In other areas, linebacker Brandon Magee has started to show why the team went after him as a priority UDFA since the pads came on. Offensive tackle Edawn Coughman may have an opportunity with the problems Jermey Parnell has seemed to have in the early going. And based on comments about his skill set, quarterback Alex Tanney may find himself on the practice squad as a developmental project. Could lightening strike again for the Cowboys with an undrafted signal caller?
In Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli I trust.
A lot of people were outright dismissive of the Kiffin hire, and scoffed at the switch to the 4-3. But when Dallas got the band back together by bringing in Marinelli to join him, the gibes decreased greatly. All early indications are that the personnel on hand are taking to the new scheme like Kardasians to cameras. This is a coaches' league. And it looks like the two gurus still have plenty of mojo left.
And Bill Callahan, too.
The playcalling is starting to look pretty good. The red zone practice showed some things that many have been wishing for over the last couple of years, like more effective use of Jason Witten when the team gets in close. How big an improvement it is remains to be seen, but Jerry Jones is talking about admitting he made a mistake by insisting Jason Garrett handle the playcalling himself his first two seasons. That says a lot in itself.
There is still a lot of camp to go, and undoubtedly more developments will catch our attention. Stay tuned to Blogging The Boys for them all.
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: And Garrett Said, "Let There Be Tackling."
- Cowboys Training Camp Report, Practice Number Six: Studying For The Midterm
- Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Open Thread - Day Six - 7/27/13
- Cowboys 2013: How Good Will Cornerback Trio Carr, Claiborne & Scandrick Be?
- Is The Sense Of Entitlement Gone For The Dallas Cowboys?