The "Dog Days of Summer" are just a few weeks away. For Cowboys fans, they've been here for quite some time. The 2015 season ended about as bad and as early as your worst nightmare. Heck, I'd venture to say that folks around here would embrace some preseason football right now, but that's still months away. Another thing that is months away is training camp, where the battles at certain positions give you the sizzle that you've been missing.
Let's take a dive into the depth chart and bring forth a few battles that may get a few people around here excited for the upcoming year. A lot of positions at the top are pretty set, but what if we just throw some spaghetti at the wall and see if a few noodles can stick?
Barry Church VS. J.J. Wilcox
Usually, when you mention the name J.J. Wilcox, it's met with groans and visions of missed tackles. However, Church has had his struggles too in many areas and most of Wilcox's come when he's out of position. The Cowboys are set at free safety with Byron Jones but why not open up the competition at strong? The skillsets of Church and Wilcox practically mirror each other anyway. Wilcox is not only younger but quicker than Church, too. Is he better? Well, that's what a heated battle could determine.
It's always been an interest of mine to see these two compete due to their various similarities. It's important to have competition at as many levels as you can create. This is a battle that could make some sense but it's still hard to see the Cowboys favoring Wilcox over Church. If Wilcox can't fix the angles in which he attacks the ball carrier, it may be better to keep Church out there. At 25, Wilcox has hardly made it impossible for himself to fix some of his bad habits. If he could re-work some of his technical issues, he could certainly jump into the conversation. He can lay a hit on someone as you like strong safeties to do, but he has some work ahead.
Kellen Moore VS. Jameill Showers
It yet remains to be seen how plausible this one really is but Bryan Broaddus made no apologies in calling Showers the second-best quarterback on the field in practice. Showers, who is solely a quarterback now, has a lot of skills you like. He's got a decent arm, perhaps better than Moore's, and he's got some mobility and room to improvise. He played well in last year's preseason. It's going to take a lot more prgoression and trust from the coaches to unseat Kellen Moore at this point.
Moore is concerning as a quarterback because he just doesn't really even vaguely resemble an NFL passer. Every time he throws the ball, he looks as though he straining to get it to it's destination. Nick Eatman joked that Kellen Moore is the only quarterback that can make a 14-yard completion look as though it traveled 45-yards. There is no certainty that he can make all the throws. It may not even matter because without number nine, this team has shown they can't function. At some point, Dak Prescott will jump into the mix but not likely this season. The best thing that can realistically happen right now is Showers challenging Moore. Every position needs a little competition, Moore scares the daylights out of a lot of us.
Kyle Wilber VS. Mark Nzeocha
Let's preface this by comparing it to the TV Show "Beat Bobby Flay". It's a cooking show where two chefs have to battle it out for a chance at Flay. That's how I see this one too, Wilber and Nzeocha have to battle it out to get to Anthony Hitchens. This team really trusts Hitchens and he's proven them to be right. As of now, Hitchens is starting at middle linebacker at OTA's due to Rolando McClain's absence. Both of these guys are going to make the team, but it'll be interesting to see them fight for playing time. Both guys have some size and can be used as a strong side linebacker that rushes the passer.
Nzeocha spent his rookie season rehabbing but make no mistake, they really liked what they saw out of him at Wyoming. He's one of those SPARQ-ling guys that O.C.C. talks about with supreme athleticism. He's also caught the eye of Broaddus recently on OTA's Live. He likes the explosiveness that Nzeocha has shown when handling the SAM position. Rod Marinelli doesn't always use blitzes but it's important to get home when you do. Wilber has been a very solid player for their depth and has a complete understanding of what he is now. If Nzeocha's pure athleticism keeps shining through, they will be forced to get this guy on the field. He may be a pet cat for many once training camp rolls around.
Terrance Williams VS. Brice Butler
Without trying to get ahead of ourselves just yet, this could be a great battle should it ever come to fruition. Williams has been getting the WR1 reps with Dez Bryant easing back into the mix, but Butler has been looking rather promising though we're only one week into OTA's. This is perhaps the battle that everyone would dream about but just may never materialize. It reminds me of my childhood wanting to see Ric Flair destroy Hulk Hogan but by the time they actually had a match, both were past any sort of prime. Still, Butler has speed and big play ability that is hard to overlook.
Williams has become a reliable target for Tony Romo but has issues remaining consistent. He's made it clear that he's going to let his talking be done on the field, you got to respect that. As far as Butler is concerned, there is an extreme desire for more out of him. So far, he's done a nice job on the practice field with he and Williams manning the outsides and Cole Beasley handling the slot. It would be really interesting to see a rivalry form once Bryant is back with the ones. The thought of a healthy Romo having Butler and Bryant on the field at once is tantalizing to say the least. Besides, when Williams gets his second contract, it's not likely to be the Cowboys who give it to him.
Charles Brown VS. Chaz Green
Though many folks want to see Green challenge Doug Free, that's not likely at this juncture. Still, this is a very important battle for the swing tackle position. As Free has shown us, he can't be relied upon to remain healthy for the entire season. Whoever wins this position fight will have a definite role to play and one with playing time. You can only dress so many linemen and tackles are of the highest priority. If Green can show the pedigree that got him drafted, he can certainly become a cog in their plans for the future. Brown was playing swing tackle last season and wants to hold onto his spot.
All that said, it's imperative that Green fight his way to victory to prove that the Cowboys made the right decision to draft him in the third round. He didn't see any playing time last season and he's got eyes on him now. When they drafted Green, they saw potential for him to be their right tackle of the future. He's now got an uphill battle to make sure that's still in his reach. It's starts with outplaying Charlie Brown.
We're always curious to know which position battles are on your minds. Any potential out-of-nowhere competitions that you see revving up with the temperatures in Texas?