We’re just a few short days away from the Dallas Cowboys arriving in Oxnard, California for 2019’s version of training camp. The offseason is often long and unforgiving but, in my own personal opinion, this one seems to have flown by. Maybe that’s only because we’re here now.
BTB will have its usual presence out at camp, by the way. Personally I’m headed out there this Saturday with ESPN San Antonio and we’ll have tons of stuff available for you here on the site, on our official YouTube channel, and tons of interviews on the BTB podcast feed (subscribe here). A week in Oxnard is better than most, let us know if you’re also planning on attending.
With all the anticipation for camp a lot can slip through the cracks. It’s exciting for this time of year to finally be here, but what exactly are we excited for? We could likely sit around all day long and fill 24 hours with the most minute details of what we’re looking forward to, but in the interest of time we broke it down to a nice and compact list.
Here are seven things that we’re pumped to see out in Oxnard. Vamonos.
Kellen Moore’s offense at work
We won’t be able to completely decipher what Kellen Moore has planned for the Cowboys this season over the next month, but for the first time we are going to have real and tangible evidence that shows us at the very least what it could ultimately look like. That’s exciting.
Dallas has had stretches over the last few years where moving the ball on offense felt like pulling teeth. An even larger sense of lethargy seemed to overcome them as they got closer to the opponent’s goal line, that’s not the sort of thing you want happening to your football team.
There has been a lot of speculation as to what exactly Moore will bring to the offense. How much will he be incorporating college-type schemes to what Dak Prescott runs? Will he be the one who finally capitalizes on Prescott’s legs? How can special playmakers like Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and Tony Pollard (Jamize Olawale if you want to get wild) be used?
Soon, we’ll know a little bit more.
The return of Travis Frederick
At one point during camp last year we had Brian Price on ESPN San Antonio. If you didn’t know, Price attended UTSA so the connection there is strong. It was fun to catch up with him.
Unfortunately for Price though, he had just come off getting completely embarrassed by Travis Frederick. It wasn’t long after this that we found out Frederick did what he did while battling an autoimmune disorder that would keep him sidelined for all of the 2018 season. Amazingly, the Cowboys managed to win 10 games without the best center in the NFL, all the shoutouts in the world to Joe Looney.
Thankfully, all signs have pointed to Frederick making his full return here in 2019; however, that return has to start somewhere and there is no better place than training camp for it to begin. It will be very interesting to see how Dallas manages Frederick in Oxnard as this is very different from OTAs. Will they keep him on a pitch count of sorts in order to slowly bring him back to full speed, or will they allow him to just dive right into the deep end?
Life in Oxnard with Amari Cooper
As the Cowboys traded for him in the middle of last season, we’ve never seen Amari Cooper during a training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. Fun fact of the day.
One year ago we were talking about how Sanjay Lal had the receivers carrying bricks at the end of every practice. Will that be the case with Cooper? Will he make the big plays that turn into highlights from underneath the Oxnard sun? Will there be battles between he and Byron Jones or Chidobe Awuzie?
What Jason Witten looks like and if the year off helped him at all
It’s not every year that the Cowboys have a player who’s joining them after a year-long sabbatical, but that’s where we’re at with Jason Witten.
It’s not like Witten got any younger during his time with ESPN (who ever gets younger?) but perhaps he’s rested and rejuvenated enough to make a difference for this team. Obviously Cowboys brass thinks that’s the case, but proving it to the world is another thing.
For what it’s worth the rest of the tight end group will be interesting to watch as well:
- Does Blake Jarwin look better this season?
- Is Dalton Schlutz more evolved in year two?
- Will Rico Gathers be used? At all?
Robert Quinn as camp’s (potential) primary defensive end
As DeMarcus Lawrence is coming off of shoulder surgery this offseason, it’s possible (likely) that the Cowboys will take things extremely slowly with him all the way up to the beginning of the regular season. Good for them.
This means that someone else will have to fill the war daddy shoes until Tank resumes it, and we all know that it’s not going to be Tyrone Crawford. The Cowboys traded for Robert Quinn this offseason and he’ll be given every opportunity to show why that move needed to be made. We’ll likely get to see him opposite of Tyron Smith at times and if he’s productive then the hype is going to intensify.
Just how effective Trysten Hill can be with Rod Marinelli’s guidance
We’re not exactly going to see the peak of Trysten Hill’s powers during training camp of his rookie year, but we’re going to get a good luck under this hood as this is the stiffest competition he’ll have faced so far in his career (we’re obviously extremely early).
The Cowboys really wanted Hill in the draft, so much so that the pick was telegraphed for some time leading up to the selection. Hill’s selection had a lot to do with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and Marinelli is known for his ability to get the most out of defensive tackles. Considering this one was hand picked by him, Marinelli could show off quite a bit with his new toy.
If Ezekiel Elliott shows up and if so how active he is
They’re all rumors and speculation for now, but there is some chatter among NFL circles that Ezekiel Elliott will, in fact, hold out of the beginning of training camp. That wouldn’t be fun.
There’s no real reason to assume that Zeke won’t be in Oxnard but if he isn’t then it would make for the first time in a long time that he wasn’t around at camp’s beginning. In this hypothetical, who would be RB1 during drills? Darius Jackson? Or a rookie like Tony Pollard? Nobody wants to see this happen but it would be somewhat fascinating if it did.