Finally the Dallas Cowboys are back together and beginning to put in the hard work needed for the long season ahead. Training camp isn't the most exciting time of the year for me, but it does provide the opportunity to see what players are ready to take the next step in their development. Some fold up under the pressure and can't adjust to the NFL game, while others begin to put the pieces together and make a name for themselves.
While we should take training camp performances with a grain of salt and not over-evaluate them, there are some players whose performances deserve to be recognized.
The first player of the summer to make my list is Lance Dunbar. The former North Texas star went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and found a home with the Cowboys, but failed to make much of an impression or impact during his rookie season. With a year behind him, Dunbar has probably been the best running back in camp besides DeMarco Murray.
Much of his improvement can be credited to not being a rookie anymore and hard work. Having experience and familiarity with the offensive system is a major advantage for him now. In an article written by Rowan Kavner of the mothership, Dunbar expressed his feelings about being more comfortable on the football field.
"I feel like I’m a whole different person," Dunbar said. "I know what they expect of me. I know what I’m doing now. I feel more comfortable. You get better as a player."
Gary Brown, the running backs coach, has also seen the strides Dunbar has made and he also made sure to point out that his pupil is a hard worker who is devoted to becoming a better football player. It's the extra attention to detail and willingness to improve that have the coaching staff excited.
"He’s had a really good camp," Brown said. "He’s into it. He studies. He’s practiced hard. He’s doing exactly what we want him to do. "
The Cowboys lost a fairly good receiving back in Felix Jones and they need to find a player on the roster who can come out of the backfield as a receiver and seize that role. Dunbar has the speed and quickness to become that guy. He is diminutive in size (5-8, 191), but he could definitely become another "space" player that this offense needs. His ability to make people miss and hit the hole quickly definitely can help this football team. Honestly, there aren't a lot of players on the roster with the type of quickness that Dunbar has.
In an article written by David Moore of SportsDay DFW, head coach Jason Garrett had plenty of praise for Dunbar. Garrett also noted that he believes that the running back is a hard worker and possesses quickness and speed, but he pointed out that his receiving skills make him a player who could add another dimension to the offense.
"He’s a very good pass receiver," Garrett said. "For a young player, he’s got a really good understanding of how to release, how to work guys. He understands leverage and angles, he’s quick and explosive and can separate really well as a route runner."
Dunbar still has a lot of work to do ahead of him. The Cowboys didn't feel that he was the number two running back when they drafted Joseph Randle. Dunbar's size was a major concern for them and they addressed that need for another runner to fill in for Murray. Regardless of what they thought back in April, Dunbar is starting to open some eyes in the organization. If he keeps it up, then #25 could actually make an impact for us in 2013.
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Rookies, Roster Moves, And QBs
- Cowboys Training Camp Report, Practice Number Nine: Returning To College
- Cowboys 2013 Training Camp Practice Summary: Something Old, Something New
- Cowboys Training Camp Open Thread - Day Nine - 7/30/13
- Cowboys Bring In Four Players For Workouts, Defensive Lineman Injured