As some succeed, others will struggle. Which is exactly the case out in Oxnard, California where the Dallas Cowboys try to build a foundation for a successful 2015 campaign. Though it's been rather good thus far for guys like Joseph Randle and Tyler Patmon, others are for one reason or another having a hard time. This is not to say that things can't change with a blink; let's look at some of the early fallers from Cowboys' camp.
5. QB Dustin Vaughan
Early reports from resident scout Bryan Broaddus and Nick Eatman have not been good for the former West Texas A&M standout. After being kept off the 53-man roster all season long, his time could wear thin if he doesn't find some way to show development. According to Broaddus, Vaughan was expected to make a bigger leap but has struggled to get through practices. He often hangs on to the ball far too long and isn't making the throws with crispness that is needed at the NFL level. He certainly has some time to turn this around but for now the unheralded Jameil Showers has looked better. In order to make the roster this year as a third option, the coaches must have the confidence in a young passer to run the scout team. So far, Vaughan has been erratic and needs to settle down. Hopefully, some preseason action can get him some confidence and help him get on track.
4. LB Jasper Brinkley
Brinkley was brought in as a dependable insurance policy for Rolando McClain and was supposed to get the nod through McClain's suspension. At this point, he's looked slow and his instincts just haven't been there. In ESPN's two-hour special, Brinkley was getting sliced through the middle of the field by running backs and receivers. Granted, it's very early and he's still getting acclimated to his assignments. However, Anthony Hitchens looks to be the better option at the moment. Brinkley hasn't been reading the quarterback's eyes very well and often has looked out of place. He's a little tight in the hips which is not good for a middle linebacker but maybe he'll gain more fluidity with comfort in the scheme. The Cowboys are counting on him as a veteran presence, let's hope Brinkley can show something soon enough.
3. OT Chaz Green
This one is simple because Green was selected in the third round but has yet to practice in training camp and is firmly placed on PUP. It's slowly starting to look as though Green could find himself as a redshirt for his rookie season. While he's been out, Laurence Gibson and a few undrafted guys have been getting the nod. The longer Green stays out, the more difficult it will be for him to get up to speed with the NFL rate of play. Green was a highly-rated lineman on the Cowboys' board and they were certainly hoping he could be the answer to the swing tackle opening. As of right now, Green is still recovering from hip surgery and there is no timetable for his return. This alone raises the question from fans on why he was taken in that spot to begin with. Especially when you look at the current injuries to some running backs and the amount that were available at the time Green was selected. We'll soon find out what the plan will be, if any, for Chaz Green's rookie season.
2. DT Terrell McClain
For the second straight year, McClain has entered training camp with high expectations to compete with Nick Hayden. And for the second straight year, he's been sidelined with injuries. It's a shame because he really has the ability to play both tackle spots and is a better overall athlete than Hayden. He managed to have some good moments in 2014, but the Cowboys would like to see if he can get healthy enough to really make a go for a starting position. Yet again, "The Golden Cock" has all the leverage for lack of competition. McClain has great strength to his game and is solid in defending the run but can't get his body to agree. McClain is currently dealing with a bone bruise and hamstring injury. The bone bruise is very tricky because if you remember, Anthony Spencer had a bone bruise that kept getting worse and ended up needing micro-fracture surgery. The hope is that with another week or so of rest McClain may be ready to show something, but again there is no timetable for him right now.
1. RB Darren McFadden
There has got to be some disappointment about this one. Though he is set to make his debut after the first preseason tilt with the Chargers, there was much more hope that he would be battling it out with Joseph Randle by now. As has been with his career to this point, there is always something going on with McFadden. Of course, he is a veteran that could change minds quickly should he come back ready to roll. However, McFadden is the best back on the roster for blitz pickup, which is a very important aspect for this Cowboys' offensive production. The one positive is that McFadden doesn't have a history of nagging hamstrings like some former players. Yet the Cowboys need to find what their answer at running back is going to be. Randle has been practicing very well and looks the part of a guy who really wants the job, but he's had virtually no competition. With injuries to Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden, it's kind of hard to feel comfortable about the position in general. McFadden really needs to hit the ground running upon his return.