Let’s take a spin around Dallas Cowboys training camp and examine some of the current story lines.
It’s a cautionary tale
Fourth-round pick and explosive slot machine, Ryan Switzer, was visited on the practice field by trainers before heading toward the medical tent. He’s been diagnosed with a hamstring injury but the seriousness is not known yet. The Cowboys have said that they will be very cautious with Switzer but won’t have an MRI done at this time:
Per source: #Cowboys will hold off on MRI for WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring). Monitoring and could be available again at practice post HOF game— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) July 27, 2017
They seem to proceed this way with most of their players but especially guys that they have a good feel for their potential contributions:
We will mention that Switzer returned to be a spectator during the walkthrough Thursday evening. Some folks that were present don’t seem to think this is a long-term issue but hammies are tricky:
He's not participating, but Ryan Switzer is present at walkthrough. Hamstring issue doesn't seem too, too serious.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) July 28, 2017
Signing RB Ronnie Hillman has nothing to do with NFL probe on Ezekiel Elliott:
Cowboys’ fans were excited when they saw that the scat back from Temple, Jahad Thomas, was one of the UDFA’s brought into the Star. On Wednesday, Thomas was sidelined with a hamstring injury. After releasing Lucky Whitehead, the Cowboys filled that vacancy by signing the former Bronco’s 2012 third-round pick, Ronnie Hillman. Despite entering his sixth season, Hillman is only about to celebrate his 26th birthday in two months. Hillman has just fewer than 2,000 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns; he was part of Denver’s 2015 Super Bowl team.
Many believed that the signing of Hillman was in part due to the NFL’s investigation of Ezekiel Elliott. However, Jason Garrett said that is not the case:
Jason Garrett says the addition of Ronnie Hillman is about Jahad Thomas' injury, not Ezekiel Elliott. pic.twitter.com/7QoM7Ixb1s— David Helman (@HelmanDC) July 27, 2017
David Moore, of Sportsday DFW, also reiterated Garrett’s point by clearly stating why Hillman is a Cowboy:
“Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is intrigued by the threat of a quick, elusive player out of the backfield as a receiving threat. Dunbar's departure eliminated that dimension from the offense. Hillman will also ease the strain on the backfield.”
That’s a good point because veterans Darren McFadden (29) and Alfred Morris (28) will not be overworked in practice. That leaves Rod Smith and Keith Smith getting more carries. Hillman fits more of the scat back style and will relieve some pressure on the rest of the depth chart.
Damontre Moore gets the couch:
The term “getting the couch” is an old 70’s term coined by comedians who performed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It signified someone that was funny enough to be invited to sit and chat with Carson. Well, a similar thing happened with Damontre Moore who has found a way to impressing owner Jerry Jones. Here is a photo of the two after practice on Thursday:
Damontre Moore told by Jerry Jones after practice he liked what he saw today: pic.twitter.com/d812mGwiXq— Brandon George (@DMN_George) July 27, 2017
Moore has been a fan favorite dating back to minicamps where he’s found a way to get noticed no matter what he’s doing. He’s rushed from the right side, left side, and even stood up as a Sam linebacker and had success. However, it was Wednesday when he made this incredible play as he chased down Terrance Williams and stripped him:
Nice throw by Dak Prescott. Nice hustle by Damontre Moore to force a fumble. pic.twitter.com/yOggIFyFPv— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 27, 2017
That’s a big man moving pretty darn fast to catch up with a receiver. Moore has done everything in the offseason to make the Cowboys’ believe that he’s ready to take that step including attending Von Miller’s pass rush academy. Here’s the COO, Stephen Jones’ thoughts on Damontre:
The Cowboys may have found another steal and at a position they really needed one. Moore has taken every opportunity in stride and practices with a “you can’t cut me” attitude.
No hesitation to get competitive for Cowboys who have three scuffles in two practices
The Cowboys believe they have a roster that can contend for big things in 2017. It hasn’t taken but a New York minute for these practices to get chippy. Guys are legitimately fighting to make a team that has an open competition in some areas. Clarence Hill, of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, witnessed it all:
“There were three scrums, nearly leading to a melee, during one-on-one passing drills between the offensive and defensive lines. Rookie defensive tackle Lewis Neal and back up center Joe Looney got things started with a little pushing after a play. Then defensive end Damontre Moore and backup guard Ruben Carter got in a couple of extra shoves after a play. But the biggest scrum was between veteran defensive end Tyrone Crawford and Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin.
Both lines got involved, backing up their respective player before cooler heads prevailed.”
Don’t count Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones as two guys that were miffed at watching these guys spat with each other:
Jerry Jones: “What I saw was competitiveness,” Jones said. “It didn’t undermine our team concepts. I liked it.”
Jason Garrett: “It was a little spirited, particularly over there in the pass-rush drill, and you like that. You’d rather have to dial it back than constantly having to light a fire under these guys. Your guys are very passionate about football. They love to play and they love to work at it. Sometimes you get across the line, though. You’ve got to make sure they dial it back and focus on what they need to focus on, which is the next play.”
Veteran defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford took the blame and publicly apologized admitting that he took it too far:
“It’s on me,” Crawford said. “I took responsibility for the entire D-line. We can’t do that. We need the reps. We need to get better. At the end of the day, we’re all family.
“I just came in, maybe a little too much energy today, and started stuff I shouldn’t have started. Those are my brothers, just like everybody else on the team is my brother. I can’t do that stuff.”
That will about do it for the pertinent rumor and innuendo surrounding the Cowboys training camp in Oxnard. We’ll certainly be back with any juicy details as they come forth.