We did it. We made it to training camp. Congratulations.
The Cowboys will indeed set sail for the much cooler temperatures of Oxnard, California this week, and when they do they’ll be looking for answers.
All of the questions, pontifications, and general wonderments from this offseason will ultimately reach conclusions over the next few weeks. Our questions will be answered, however joyfully or painfully.
What are those questions, though? Here are six things that the Cowboys need to figure out from their time in Oxnard.
1, Let’s find Tavon Austin a position
When the Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin during the draft and announced the move to the public, they acknowledged that they saw him more as a running back. Austin is certainly familiar with taking handoffs from the backfield, but he is also a wide receiver.
Maybe the Cowboys are planning on splitting Tavon’s time in the backfield and out wide. Maybe he’ll primarily work in the slot. Maybe he’ll carry the ball 10 times a game. We have no idea what Tavon is, Oxnard will help us learn.
2, Can Mike White save a roster spot?
It would be a tall order, but Mike White has the potential to make Cooper Rush expendable this preseason period. If he does the Cowboys will have more roster room to play with, and that’s never a bad thing.
Dallas has unearthed great rookie quarterbacks in back-to-back seasons. This kind of flies under the radar nationally, but if they pull off a hat trick people might take notice.
3. What will Tyrone Crawford’s role be this season?
Three years have gone by since the Cowboys awarded Tyrone Crawford with what they felt like was a much-deserved contract extension. We wanted to believe it made sense, but alas, a new Brandon Carr was born.
Crawford at RDE seems like a certainty, but the Cowboys have a stable of options that they haven’t in years past. Randy Gregory, Kony Ealy, and others could challenge the Cowboys captain. Our own Michael Sisemore suggested maybe Crawford could be kicked back inside to defensive tackle, but he’s slimmed himself down in order to play outside. He even told Madden that.
YO @EAMaddenNFL we need to have a talk. This is unacceptable. Forget my stats. What’s up with the photo? Who on your staff felt it ok to make my body look like humpty-dumpty? I DEMAND A REVIEW! pic.twitter.com/WgL3sMjlvi— Tyrone Crawford (@TCrawford98) July 23, 2018
4. Will the Leighton Vander Esch pick be justified?
Calling anything a “reach” opens a loose can of worms, but consensus is that the Cowboys did in fact reach on their first-round linebacker LVE. Reaching isn’t a bad thing. Dallas had a big-time need and they went and got the player they coveted most to fill it.
The idea is obviously that Leighton will complement Sean Lee and start at middle linebacker. So much depends on this pick working out properly. It would not only complement Sean Lee, but it would help lessen his load. Moreover Leighton’s emergence would allow Jaylon Smith to roam elsewhere and rush the passer as many have dreamed of. Hopefully that domino goes in the right direction.
5. How suave will Rico ultimately be?
As long as we’re talking dominoes, Rico Gathers’ name should be brought up. For the first time since before fire was invented the Cowboys have a vacancy at tight end.
No one is necessarily suggesting that Rico Gathers can take Jason Witten’s spot as the Cowboys starter, but he might be able to take his actual roster place. Rico has been working on his game (in many facets) and this is the time that it has to culminate in something.
6. Are the Cowboys out of the woods at safety?
The sports collective held their breaths when a Woods performed valiantly this past Sunday. As Cowboys fans we’re hoping that this becomes a sort of regular thing in the form of Xavier.
The Earl Thomas talk has cooled for now, but Instagram is just a few swipes away on his phone. Xavier has an opportunity to put it all out of sight and out of mind with a great showing at camp. If the Cowboys are betting on the job to be his, this is the time to prove exactly how feasible the project can be.
Truth is there is far more that training camp is going to sort out for us, answers to questions we don’t even have yet. The important thing is that training camp is finally upon us. We made it, yall.
If you’re going to be out in Oxnard make sure to hit me up. I’ll be there for a week beginning Sunday, we’ll look at setting a BTB rendezvous up and celebrate our collective greatness.