On Thursday, Cowboys players will arrive for camp in Oxnard, California, where many questions await them. But which one is the biggest? We have lots of questions for you to chose from today.
With several camp battles going on, there will be many jobs at stake. Which veteran player is most likely to get left off the final roster?
A veteran whose job is in jeopardy. JJ Wilcox. He had a horrific season last year and missed way too many tackles for a safety. He has been a disappointment since the cowboys drafted him. With Byron Jones moving to safety, which is his natural position and the dependable Barry Church, Wilcox could be out of a job when camp breaks on August 18th.
Machota identifies five important questions going into the 2016 season, including the ever-so-high expectations of Zeke.
How will Ezekiel Elliott perform when the pads come on?
Elliott has passed all tests up to this point. Many expect the fourth overall pick in this year's draft to immediately become a 1,000-yard back. But we have yet to see Elliott run behind the Cowboys' talented offensive line in pads. That will come in Oxnard. Will Elliott immediately impress or will it take him some time to get acclimated?
Some may be tapping the brakes a little since Elliott will have to endure the typical growing pains of a rookie. He’s a smart guy and RBs hit the ground running. Remember, Murray only started seven games his rookie season in 2011, but still managed to put up 897 yards, including a 253-yard effort against the St. Louis Rams.
NFL training camps preview: Looking at questions surrounding each team - Sam Farmer, LA Times
Camps kick off this week, and Farmer takes a look at the comings, goings, and questions surrounding each team. Here's his take on the Cowboys.
Big questions: Can this team resume its 2014 form now that quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant have had time to heal? Will a playmaker step up on defense?
Hello: The Cowboys are hoping they have their answer at running back in No. 4 pick Ezekiel Elliott, who denied the domestic-violence allegations that surfaced against him this week. Dallas also drafted linebacker Jaylon Smith, but the former Notre Dame standout likely will miss the season rehabilitating his reconstructed knee.
Goodbye: A defensive line overhaul included parting ways with Greg Hardy, Jeremy Mincey, and Nick Hayden.
Training camp preview: Will Redskins improve in 2016? - Connor Orr, NFL.com
Orr breaks down Washington's season outlook and gives us this prediction for the NFC East.
Way-too-early season prediction: The NFC East will be worlds better than it was last year, when Washington exploded offensively down the final stretch to take the division. Are the improvements good enough to fend off two teams with top 10 quarterbacks?
Two teams with top 10 quarterbacks? Who, pray tell, is the other top 10 QB in the East?
The Cowboys will be hoping their two play-making leaders stay on the field, but who else on each squad is most critical to the team's success?
Outside of Romo, who is the most important piece on the Cowboys offense? And same question for defense excluding Sean Lee?
Machota: "On defense, I'll go with Tyrone Crawford. The three-tech is so important in Rod Marinelli's scheme and everything starts up front. I think Cedric Thornton could step into the role if Crawford was to go down, but they would be in trouble without Crawford. DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones would probably be my next two players on that list."
Previewing NFL training camps for all 32 teams - ESPN
ESPN reporters preview all 32 training camps, and offer a three-sentence summary for the Cowboys.
The health of QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant is the top priority this preseason. If they are good to go, the Cowboys will be good to go. But can the defense hold up its end?
NFL training camps begin; biggest question for 32 teams - Peter King, The MMQB
Even Peter King weighs in with with a question for the Cowboys.
I get the Romo collarbone issues, but is the defense going to be competent enough for that to matter?
Dallas had a crummy pass-rush to begin with, and 17.5 of the team’s 31 sacks from last year came from players either suspended to start this season or let go. I trust Rod Marinelli to make something out of very little, but the most important thing for Dallas to do during camp is get a suit of armor to fit Ezekiel Elliott—because he’d better be ready to carry it an Emmitt-like 375 times this year. Dallas needs to keep its D off the field.
While Tony Romo’s health is of utmost importance, nobody ever really thinks about his effectiveness. Will there be rust? Will there be some regression due to his age?
I vividly remember the first Dallas game of 2014—at home against San Francisco—when Tony Romo dropped back to pass on 63 percent of his snaps, in no small part because his three first-half interceptions (all terrible decisions) had put them in a 25-point hole.
There was no such reckless extravagance the following week, as they leaned on their RBs for 43 carries to put away the Titans.
While there’s a chance he could be slow out of the gate, look for that to be short-lived as he does what he’s used to doing - playing great football.
From one veteran safety who might get the hook to another one who might shine. The combo of Wilcox and Barry Church has collectively been under scrutiny because of what they lack in coverage ability. But the problem may lie with just one of them.
Church is undeniably a tackling machine. With the Cowboys 2015 first round pick Byron Jones being permanently cemented at free safety beside him this season, it should allow the veteran strong safety to do more of what he does best. With a legitimate ballhawk beside him in 2016, Barry Church might finally get the recognition he deserves for the things he can do on the field and less vitriol for what he can’t.
Over the next several weeks, a big topic of conversation will center around guessing the Cowboys 53-man roster. While the talent of certain players plays a huge role, it also helps to get inside the mind of the front office.
A key factor in knowing what roles to fill is knowing how the Dallas Cowboys like to think. That means knowing what the collective priority and ideology of Jerry and Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, and Will McClay tends to produce. You only get this over time; the study of their decision making.
Inside The Star also takes another approach when examining some roster battles as they take a close look at some head-to-head matchups that may occur on the field.
- J.J. Wilcox vs. Geoff Swaim
- Lucky Whitehead vs. Deji Olatoye
- Ryan Russell vs. Charles Brown
Which NFC East player has the best shot at winning the MVP?
Yes, Romo is a legitimate MVP candidate. He showed why last season and has throughout his career when he's been sidelined. Why? Because the Cowboys can't win without him, and that's a testament to his effectiveness. No player in the NFC East is more valuable than Romo, though Eli Manning merits some consideration. When healthy, Romo is one of the eight best quarterbacks in the league. His career quarterback rating is 97.1, which is the third-highest in NFL history. With Dez Bryant healthy and Ezekiel Elliott in the fold, Romo is going to return to his 2014 form, when he threw 34 touchdown passes and nine interceptions with a rating of 113.2.
Runner-up: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Eli Manning? That’s really the next best choice? That seems crazy to me, but the odds-makers over at Bovada don’t think so.
The Cool One will be making a Vegas trip in a couple weeks, and you can bet your bottom dollar he won’t be laying down any money on the Giants football thrower.
Manning has led the league three times in interceptions thrown, and has never in his entire career been in the discussion for league MVP. Even Big Blue View, the Giants' SB Nation Blog, concedes that the younger Manning has "never been a serious regular-season MVP candidate in his 12 NFL seasons."
They have Zeke at 100-1. If I’m a gambling man (and I am), that’s where my money would go.
There are two kinds of people in this world - those who play Pokemon Go and those who have girlfriends/boyfriends. But if you're a Cowboys fan that also indulges in this demonic game from Japan, you might enjoy these cute little comparisons.
I think that is fitting considering squirtle is what happens when you try to catch the ball with your body.
Cowboys bus involved in crash that claims four lives - Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
We write this with heavy hearts: The annual Cowboys bus tour to Oxnard resulted in tragedy when the Cowboys bus hit a van and killed four occupants of the van.
The van and the bus were the only vehicles involved in the accident.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports that four people in the van died.
According to KTNV.com, officials said the collision occurred as the driver of the van was making an illegal turn onto U.S. 93.
Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple told ABC News that only staff members were on the bus, and that they sustained "bumps and bruises."
Our thoughts are with the families of those lost.