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No-Huddle Notebook: Receivers are stepping up as competition heats up in Oxnard

We look at how the receivers are performing so far in training camp.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The No-Huddle Notebook is your dose of Cowboys coverage that takes a look at everything surrounding America’s Team.

It has been an eventful week surrounding the Cowboys in Oxnard. A rookie was lost for the season on the first day of pads, another receiver was brought in for camp, and there seems to be a ton of optimism surrounding the squad as we prepare for the Blue and White scrimmage on Sunday.

One of the biggest and most intirgiuing developments of early training camp is how good the receivers have looked. From the rookie to the additions in free agency to Cole Beasley and others, the receivers group has performed quite well under the guidance of Sanjay Lal.

The new wide receivers coach has implemented interesting techniques that he hopes will translate to better route-running and, as a result, better play from the players tasked with catching passes from Dak. Not only is he doing things that Beasley hasn’t done before, Lal also has his guys carrying bricks!

Whatever works, right? The group has earned some positive reviews from both the coaches and the media attending practices, which is a obviously a great sign. I wonder why that group has impressed. Our own DannyPhantom has a theory.

Well, let’s get into it...

‘Galluping’ into WR1?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Minicamp Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
  • One of the bright spots of training camp thus far has been rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup. The third-round selection has been turning heads in Oxnard, making a case to grow into a go-to target for quarterback Dak Prescott sooner rather than later.

While Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley will have a say in who ends up with the most targets, the rookie is making quite the impression in Oxnard. If he can keep this up and it translates to the field, the Cowboys may have just found a gem late on day-three. So far, so good.

Speedy veteran is turning heads

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson performs well here while working against third-year cornerback Anthony Brown. Thompson does a nice job of sinking his hips and creating separation at the top of his route, out of his break. Brown continues to head up field, due to Thompson’s ability to sell the vertical route. Thompson may do most of his damage down the field, but it looks like he has been working on his route running a lot this offseason with Sanjay Lal. Thompson brings a speed element to the room, something the Cowboys have lacked for some time. If he can continue to improve on his route running, as well as being a vertical threat, the Cowboys may have found a diamond in the rough in free agency.

Bryan Broaddus has also came away impressed with Thompson.

Thompson’s speed, deep-threat ability, and experience playing under receivers coach Sanjay Lal all give him a huge opportunity to make the active roster come September.

From undrafted to practice squad to active roster?

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
  • Finally, there is Lance Lenoir. The 2017 undrafted free agent was stashed on the Cowboys’ practice squad after showing a little bit of promise last August in the preseason. Now with a year under his belt, Lenoir is ready to make the jump from a practice squad player to an official member of the Dallas Cowboys.

Wilson’s injury not only opened the door for Thompson, but for Lenoir as well — and so far, the Western Illinois product is grabbing the opportunity by the horns. After training relentlessly this offseason and spending time with his quarterback in Orlando, Lenoir has performed well in team practices in Oxnard.

Livesay discussed how Lenoir can find his way on the 53-man squad:

Not only is Lenoir getting more opportunities due to all the injuries at the position, but he’s also playing at an extremely high level two weeks into training camp. For an UDFA receiver that lacks ideal size, ideal athleticism, and has yet to make his mark in the league, building a relationship with the starting quarterback is a great place to start, and that’s exactly what he has done so far this offseason. Whether it’s working with Dak on the field after practice, going on fishing trips with Dak and the core group of receivers before camp kicks off, or being a reliable target for Dak in practices, it’s safe to say that the third-year quarterback trusts Lenoir both on and off the field. This relationship is already showing up in a big way on the field in training camp. After every practice, different media members are highlighting how good Lenoir looks, and how much Dak loves his second-year receiver.

Entering training camp Lance Lenoir’s chances of making the roster were probably less than 50%, but now with the injuries at the position, and the fact that he has been one of the best receivers in training camp, those odds are now higher than ever. For Lance, if he keeps showing up in a positive way in practice, keeps building his relationship with Dak Prescott, and has a good preseason, he will make it harder and harder for the Cowboys to cut him. So far, so good.

There weren’t too many people predicting Lenoir to end up on the active roster before training camp opened in late July. In fact, only three of eight FPW’s had Lenoir making the team early last month — a huge testament in how Lenoir has progressed and performed so far in camp.

With Noah Brown struggling with injuries and Lenoir making the most of his reps, don’t be surprised if the undrafted free agent sneaks onto the roster when it is all said and done.

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