Monday was the second day off of training camp, and it was probably more appreciated than the first.
The Cowboys' first off day of camp came after just one day in pads. Monday's off day comes after four straight practices.
The Cowboys are searching for answers on the defensive line, and that has been aggravated by the slew of injuries, plus a couple of rest days for veterans. But leave it to Jason Garrett to find a silver lining.
"We've had a lot of guys who are out, so a lot of younger guys and some backup players have gotten a lot of work and that's a really good thing for our team," he said. "It provides an opportunity for them to show what they can do. It provides an opportunity for us to see what they can do. That's good. We'll keep creating competition all throughout that group."
It seems like training camp just started, but the Oxnard portion is already half done.
Camp is at the midway point. Eight practices are in the books — six in pads — and eight more remain. Two of those will be walkthrough practices before preseason games.
That means the Cowboys won't have more than three consecutive padded practices for the remainder of camp.
The NFL has changed the rules so the coordinators can now be in the booth and use the radio system to speak to the quarterback on the field, instead of having to relay everything to an assistant on the sideline. Scott Linehan, likes some of the things about being down on the field, but may try working one preseason game from the booth to see if it would be a good idea for the regular season.
But the view the coordinator has from the booth can be helpful during the course of the game. He can see plays and coverages develop with a different perspective from the field. He can get a better feel for the coverages.
The first four years of his NFL career did not go as planned for Morris Claiborne. He has had reason to be unhappy as he has fought injuries and received a lot of criticism. But he is tearing it up at camp, and it is good to see the joy of the game return to him.
"I'm enjoying it, man. I'm just excited about it," he said.
For Travis Frederick, the start of his NFL career has been about as good as possible. The brain trust has started talks with his agent about extending his contract, but his head is not there at all.
"I want to be the best player that I possibly can be and hopefully be the best center in the league, but it's all very opinion based," Frederick said. "For me, I need to come out and do the things right. Take my footsteps right, put my hand placement right and that's what I'm focused on."
Rob Phillips and Dave Helman give Jameill Showers a narrow edge over Dak Prescott at this stage of their competition. As for a surprise contributor on the defensive line, Rob goes with Mike McAdoo, and Dave offers this name.
I think the guy that best fits what you're asking for is Lawrence Okoye. He hasn't shown up much as a defensive end, but his raw power jumps off the field when the coaches line him up at defensive tackle.
Count Clarence Hill as one of the group who think the Cowboys may have the answer to the backup quarterback question sitting on their roster.
Quarterback Jameill Showers should be getting more serious attention from fans and the Dallas Cowboys regarding the backup quarterback position. Most of the focus is on rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott and understandably so. He is the one the team is grooming for the future. But right now, Showers is ahead of Prescott and playing the better football. Showers is throwing it better and making quicker decisions. That was most evident in the Blue/White scrimmage even though he got all of his reps at the end with third stringers.
Not everyone is such a big fan of the two young QBs.
I thought both players performed admirably, but there's no way either one should see the field in the regular season. Prescott remains a developmental quarterback. He's a supremely confident player, but we'll see Saturday how far he has to go. Showers is really in the same boat. I think he'll perform better than Prescott against the Rams because he's had more time in this offense. But this team still has a huge hole at a crucial position. Jerry needs to acquire Tony Romo's backup in time for him to play at least one preseason game.
Just adding an opinion (one that may get expanded later): Given some of the stiffs in QB2 jobs elsewhere in the league, is this really a make or break thing for Dallas?
With the issues on the D line, these observations about David Irving are good to read.
During practice and the scrimmage portion, I thought Irving was outstanding. Like most of his defensive line teammates, there was no break for him due to the lack of numbers, but Irving fought through all that. Irving was difficult to block and when the offense tried to scheme against him in the red zone, he was able to step up, beat the block and execute the tackle for loss. What gives Irving such an advantage along this defensive line is his length. When he is able to extend his arms, he has the ability to keep blockers off his body. Add that to his ability to move and chase and you have an ideal defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
Sean Lee and the Dallas defense want to get more sacks. So do we, of course, but they have given us even more reason to root for them.
With the goal of benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County, fans may pledge any dollar amount per any sack the Dallas Cowboys defense has during the 2016-2017 season as part of the Sacks for Kids program. At the end of each game, pledges turn into actual monetary donations that directly benefit the clubs and their programs. 100 percent of the funds raised will be paid out to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County. Anyone can pledge at any time during the regular season.
To pledge, visit http://www.bgccc.org/sacks/. And join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by following #SeanLee and #SacksForKids.
Finally, yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of Roger Goodell's promotion to the commissioner's office - an event the league was noticeably quiet about. He may be controversial, but as this points out, he has had multiple impacts, both good and bad.