The first week of training camp is coming to a close and the Cowboys just completed four days worth of practices. The last two days were padded practices where players put on the gear and were allowed to hit each other. There were a lot of interesting battles going as the team gears up to solidify the roster entering the new season. Which players had a good showing and are giving us more reasons to be excited? What about those who didn’t perform so well? Here’s a Week 1 stock report in the first edition of our risers and fallers from Cowboys training camp.
It was a good first run for both newcomers Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup, but it was the veteran “slot” receiver that was having himself quite the weekend. The team has said they aren’t going to box in receivers with a limited arsenal of routes, and early signs point to just that. Beasley has been lining up on the outside and looks as if he’s been doing this his entire career.
A lot is made about the new techniques being offered up by new receivers coach Sanjay Lal, but these small attentions to detail are already helping. Beasley breaks sharply out of his routes and the timing with Dak Prescott so far has been flawless. The quick-footed Beasley is doing a great job separating and has stood out in camp as the team’s best receiver.
All eyes were on the veteran defensive back as he is now playing cornerback after spending the last two and a half seasons at safety. The move was made to better incorporate his athletic skills and so far, it’s working. Camp has just begun, but already Jones is showing off two of his stronger attributes - his make-up speed and his leaping ability.
Against Deonte Thompson, Jones was in perfection position to high-point the ball for an interception on a deep pass. He got caught up with another deep coverage assignment against Lance Lenoir on Sunday and even though it looked like Lenoir had enough space between them, Jones sprang up at the last second to knock the ball away. It’s a great sign to see him having this type of success so early.
Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz
One of the biggest worries coming into camp was how the team was going to replace the great Jason Witten at the tight end position. And when rumors were circulating early about the struggles of Rico Gathers, things looked pretty dim. But all this worry could be for naught as both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz are off to really good starts. Jarwin gets off the line quickly, is fluid out of his breaks, and catches the ball naturally.
Schultz, who was seen primarily as an in-line blocking tight end in Stanford is relatively unproven as a receiver, but early indications are that it’s something he’s up for. He’s been crisp out of his routes and looks very comfortable catching the ball.
This is good news as both these guys have the attributes to be a balanced, dual-threat tight end versus the limited skill set of Geoff Swaim (blocking) and Rico (receiving).
The Baylor basketball star-turned tight end has had plenty of growing pains as he attempts to learn the game of football. It’s one of the reasons he’s still yet to register a single regular season snap after already being in the league for two seasons. The knock on Gathers has been his poor blocking, but his struggles are extending over into the receiving portion as well. He shows a lack of body control, doesn’t get out of his breaks well, and is even dropping passes. Right now, he looks like a long shot to make this roster.
Normally, injury-related issues shouldn’t work against a player to evaluate whether he’s performing well on the field or not, but in Green’s case he needs to have a near perfect training camp to have any chance to make this team. And every little setback hurts. And so far, he’s had a couple of little setbacks. On the first day of practice he needed an IV to help him with dehydration. And then on Sunday, he limped off the field with a leg injury.
The arm strength of rookie quarterback Mike White is something to be excited about, but we have to remind ourselves he still got a lot of work to do. So far, White has struggled with accuracy during camp. One of his biggest drawbacks is how he sits in the pocket too long and doesn’t react well under pressure. With a suspect Cowboys reserve offensive line, this could be an issue he deals with all summer.
In contrast, his competition for the backup QB spot, Cooper Rush, continues to play well and doesn’t show any signs of relinquishing the number two quarterback spot.