Just the thing we needed...COMPETITION!



Dez: "Don't just pay attention to the bottom of the roster, I'm coming for the #1 spot!"

With some down time after the much anticipated draft weekend, followed by a few days of rookie mini-camps, we are all beginning to form some sort of mental picture as to how the camp battles may look like and who may win out. With the abundance of talented rookies brought in this year, along with the hold-overs from last year, we have the makings of a great training camp coming up. Just as JG5000 ordered....Competition! I am extra excited for this year's training camp, the battles for positions are everywhere and on every level (even most starters will have to hold-off the young'uns).

With the help of our front-page writers, we now have a pretty good idea of which positions will have the most intense competitions. I'm also taking an educated guess, that most of us here probably like more than 53 players on the current roster, and would find it kind of hard to figure out who to let go or 'try' to stash away to our practice squad. It is quite the 'problem' to have, so I wanted to break-down the roster, present the battles and competition happening this summer, also zero-in on the most impactful camp battles that we should be paying attention to this summer.

I'm going to take a slightly different approach to this break-down. It's not a depth chart, rather a 'competition' chart. I will also be starting with Defense, since that seems to be our front-office and JG's main focus this off-season, plus it is my favored side of the game.

I will try to remain as unbiased as I can, but I left off some names from the full 90 man roster that I didn't feel had too much of a chance. I will appreciate any feedback on how I view the possibilities of certain players and their roles for the upcoming year. Or remind me to add any players into this competition list. Please follow me after the jump to preview the upcoming battles in camp.


Defensive Line

RDE) Jason Hatcher [vs] Tyrone Crawford

LDE) Marcus Spears [vs] Kenyon Coleman [vs] Sean Lissemore [vs] Clifton Geathers

NT) Jay Ratliff*

nt) Josh Brent [vs] Robert Callaway

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[7 spots / 9 players]


ROLB) DeMarcus Ware*

rolb) Victor Butler [vs] Kyle Wilbur

MiLB) Sean Lee*

MoLB) Bruce Carter [vs] Dan Connor

mlb) Orie Lemon [vs] Caleb McSurdy

LOLB) Anthony Spencer*

lolb) Kyle Wilbur [vs] Alex Albright [vs] Adrian Hamilton

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[8 spots / 11 players]

Defensive Backs

RCB) Morris Claiborne [vs] Mike Jenkins

LCB) Brandon Carr*

SCB) Orlando Scandrick [vs] Mike Jenkins

cb) Mario Butler [vs] Lionel Smith [vs] Isaac Madison

cb/fs) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah [vs] Justin Taplin-Ross

FS) Brodney Pool [vs] Matt Johnson

SS) Gerald Sensabaugh*

s) Barry Church [vs] Danny McCray [vs] Eddie Whitley

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[10 spots / 15 players]




QB) Tony Romo*

QB) Kyle Orton [vs] Stephen McGee

qb) Stephen McGee [vs] Rudy Carpenter

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[3 spots / 4 players]

Running Backs

RB) DeMarco Murray [vs] Felix Jones

RB) Felix Jones

rb) Phillip Tanner [vs] Lance Dunbar [vs] Darell Scott

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[3 spots / 5 players]

Wide Receivers

WR) Miles Austin [vs] Dez Bryant

WR) Dez Bryant

SWR) Kevin Olgetree [vs] Danny Coale [vs] Dwayne Harris

wr) Andre Holmes [vs] Raymond Radway

wr) Saalim Hakim [vs] Donovan Kemp [vs] Tim Benford

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[5 spots / 10 players]

Tight-ends & Full-backs

TE) Jason Witten*

TE) John Phillips [vs] James Hanna

FB) Lawrence Vickers*

te/fb) James Hanna [vs] George Bryan [vs] shaun chapas

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[4 spots / 6 players]

Offensive Line

LT) Tyron Smith*

LG) Nate Livings [vs] Ron Leary

C) Phil Costa [vs] Bill Nagy [vs] Kevin Kowalski

RG) Mackenzy Bernadeau [vs] David Arkin [vs] Bill Nagy

RT) Doug Free*

T) Jeremy Parnell [vs] Jeff Adams [vs] Levy Adcock

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[10 spots / 13 players]

[Special Teams]

K) Dan Bailey

P) Chris Jones

LS) L.P. LaDouceur [vs] Charley Hughlett

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[3 spots / 4 players]

[Total] ===================================================[53 spots / 77 players]

I understand we have 90 players in camp, however I didn't want to add too many names into this list due to there are some 'camp-bodies' out there, so these 77 players are those I consider having a realistic shot at the 53-man roster come end of august. I would appreciate if anyone thinks I really should consider adding anymore names into the 'competition list'. I found this to be hard enough to cut down as it is.

As you can see above, there are only very few players who's spot is still relatively safe on the roster (*). The rest of the players all face competition, whether it's for their starting spot or for their place on the roster. From the names I've listed that are in competiton, I really find it difficult to 'cut' any of them, of course this is before seeing them in action. I think once we actually get to watch these guys fly around, we can actually come to a better conclusion as to who looked good, who can 'surprise' us this year, and all them exciting discussions.

As of now, while we wait for the OTAs to arrive, I've began to really narrow down my targetted positions to keep my eyes on this camp. Of course from all the names I listed above, I will be looking forward to all the competition and battles this summer, but after looking at the roster again, I realized there are only 2-3 real impactful spots to watch this year. As the rest of the battles are for depth, positions that usually have little to no playing time, mostly special teams. This list includes: 3rd QB, 3rd RB, 3rd TE, 5th WR, 4th MLB, 5th CB and 4th Safety. The battles for these spots will be intense, and we will be losing some good players before all is said and done. However, the positions and battles that will be most 'impactful' to our upcoming season will be....

The most important group to watch of course will be our Interior offensive line, this group consists of two Free-Agents and six 1st-2nd year guys fighting it out. Can Bernie and Livings hold-off the young'uns? Will one of the young guys surprise us and really take a leap forward in progression with a full off-season? I'm really nervous but excited about this battle, it is shaping up to be the most important for our season.

The second spot that can impact a game is the 3rd WR, this is almost a luxury position, but with the pass-happy league we are in now, it is quite important for the success of winning. We have Olgetree who has re-dedicated himself to improving after seeing Laurent cash-in. I'm not too concerned about the motivating factor of Olgetree, since we have tons of younger more talented players waiting in the wings. I basically view this as win-win, since if Olgetree wins out, he will likely have improved quite a bit and gained JG's trust (at least this year). And if one of the younger guys beat-out Olgetree, than we can almost feel confident that whoever it is, should be anywhere in between a Laurent Robinson and a very motivated Olgetree, which can't be too bad. I guess I'm just curious to see who this guy will be.

On defense since most positions play in some sort of rotation and packages, it isn't so cut and dry. But I am keeping an eye on our 4th CB and/or 3rd Safety. The reason being, one of the two positions that I mentioned will be on the field a lot with Rob's crazy schemes, he loves to play 3 safeties and if our strength happens to be the 4th CB this year, I would expect Rob to lean more that way. So this guy currently in my mind should be Jenkins or Matt Johnson, even Barry Church to an extent. It will depend quite heavily on any possible injury situation or Jenkins being dealt, but whoever this extra defensive back is, he will be very impactful to our defense this year.

Our linebacker core is pretty sick! I really couldn't complaint too much about it currently, I even like the depth behind it. So the Dline is the last group to watch. It was a relative strength of our team last year, but it always seems to lose wind near the end of each season. I would have loved to get our hands on a big athletic NT, but that wasn't in the cards for us this year. I do hope that Crawford can provide us with that relentless motor even in December and January this year, along with Ratliff. Hatch and Lissy, hopefully we can keep collapsing the pocket when it matters most (4th quarters and late in the season). Maybe Brent can be the surprise of the year? ...Remains to be seen.

I wanted to bring up the back-up TE, but I have this gut-feeling with Vickers on board, maybe the 2nd TE won't be as important to us, as I don't think JG predominantly called 2TE sets past few years due to that being his preference, rather due to our roster's strength being that way. Plus, if Phillips gets back to how he looked 2 years ago (pre-season), we won't be missing Martellus all that much, if at all.

I would love to hear you guys' thoughts on the upcoming BATTLES in camp this summer! Any positions you feel may be impactful OR any players that I may have missed that could 'surprise' us.

I'm so pumped for the season! ...But it's only May, so I guess I'll just go back to counting down the days to OTAs.



Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.