Boys will be boys, and it is good for them to get a chance to get together for the initial part of the preseason in a place more suited for physical activity than is Dallas in August. The Cowboys had a chance to bond in an environment that is somewhat different than they would have at home. That time has drawn to a close and the team is headed home to make final preparations to defend their NFC East crown. The time has come to reflect on what took place in Oxnard this year.
The most disconcerting thing to come out of the 2015 training camp is the loss of Orlando Scandrick. Injuries are the bane of preseason programs at every level. It seems that every year someone vital to a team's success is lost even before the regular season begins. In recent memory the Cowboys have lost placers like Sean Lee, Anthony Spencer, and Jay Ratliff at times when the squad most needed them on the field. Losing Scandrick, the 'Boys best cornerback last season, will have a ripple effect throughout the next several months The additions of Byron Jones and Corey White will help to reduce the loss as will the development of Tyler Patmon. The undrafted second-year player will most likely be the one absorbing the bulk of Scandrick's loss.Fans will be on pins and needles waiting to see just how much this injury will hurt the Cowboys.
To offset the blow to the secondary, the defensive front appears to be in much better shape than the past couple of years. The addition of Pro Bowl defensive lineman Greg Hardy and the drafting of Randy Gregory has brought new blood to Rod Marinelli's Merry Band of Rushmen. To that you can add one of last year's draft selections, DeMarcus Lawrence, as a player who is poised to make the National Football League stand up and take notice in 2015. Guys like Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop are stepping up as well.
One of the most memorable events during this season's visit to the coast involved extracurricular activities. The Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams held a couple joint practice sessions. The second day featured the type of action that helped to make Vince McMahon a rich man. At times the practice threatened to turn into a battle royal. When it was not threatening, it became the real thing. You always worry about stupid injuries when the fisticuffs begin, but you also like to see just how willing a group of men are to go into battle for each other. In the end, the only casualty was the practice session itself. Jeff Fisher and his boys loaded up the buses early and went home to where ever it was that the came from.
One of the unexpected performances of camp came from Jameill Showers. The undrafted rookie quarterback may not have fought his way on to the roster, time will tell about that, but he did show poise in the pocket that many passers with more impressive pedigrees have yet to develop. It is always nice to have an arm come into camp and serve notice to players like Brandon Weeden and Dustin Vaughan that there are other men, hungry men, who are willing to put in the work to take away what they have. Did Showers accomplish that? We will know are the cuts start rolling in. It will be interesting to watch over the next two preseason games.
Training camp is always an interesting time, but its close brings us closer to what we really crave; real hard-hitting football. California is now in the rear view mirror and as the action heats up it will be a distant memory. For some of the participants it will be their last memory of being a football player. To them I say thank you and good luck. To those fortunate enough to experience another year on the gridiron; we are behind you all the way. The initial part of the journey is done, now on to the next phase.