5 interesting developments from Cowboys training camp: Pair of D-linemen among top stories so far - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
A recap of some of the interesting storylines that have come out of Cowboys camp so far in 2020.
Darian Thompson outperforming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The most interesting development from Sunday’s practice was that the Cowboys have a real competition between Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Darian Thompson for the starting safety spot opposite Xavier Woods, and the leader in the clubhouse probably isn’t who you expect.
Shortly after practice ended, Gehlken revealed that Thompson has outperformed Clinton-Dix throughout camp and Watkins tweeted that Thompson is getting the reps next to Woods on the first-team defense. This is a huge surprise considering the Cowboys signed Clinton-Dix to ostensibly start next to Woods. It’s not like they just plugged Clinton-Dix into the starting lineup without film to back it up. Clinton-Dix was a solid starter for the Chicago Bears last season while Thompson couldn’t even beat out Jeff Heath for a starting gig.
The question now is whether Thompson is outperforming Clinton-Dix due to improved play, or because Clinton-Dix is disappointing. If it’s the latter, the Cowboys should be very concerned about their safety play this season. This development could put them back in play for Earl Thomas, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday “for personal conduct that adversely affected” the team after he fought a teammate in practice Friday. Keep a close eye on updates regarding the Cowboys’ safety position leading up to the regular season.
The always interesting debate about trades involving Cowboys players.
Joe Looney...Longtime Cowboys’ center Travis Frederick decided to call it a career in the offseason. It is never easy replacing an All-Pro player on the offensive line but that is what Joe Looney or Connor McGovern were expected to do. Heading into the season, it was Looney that was expected but that could have changed following the draft.
Dallas made a big effort to trade up in the fourth round and draft Tyler Biadasz out of Wisconsin. This throws a wrinkle in the plan for Looney. He is a player that adds leadership and experience to an offensive line. This is something that other teams could be interested in. This would also allow McGovern to replace Frederick at center and Biadasz could act as the backup.
The Cowboys are known for having a great offensive line led by Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. In 2020, they will have one of the top units once again even though it will look a little different. Do not be surprised to see Dallas make a move along the offensive line prior to the season.
After missing all of 2019, Noah Brown is looking to make an impact in 2020.
The top-four receivers for 2020 appear to already be locked in: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and Cedrick Wilson. Injury is probably the only thing disrupting that group now. There are other receivers in camp right now that we’re all intrigued by. Devin Smith is a former 2nd-round pick that we hoped would blossom last year but never really delivered. Ventell Bryant was a late addition to the 2019 roster who reminds you of Brown with his size and special teams work. And then there are Jon’Vea Johnson, Aaron Parker, and other prospects we’ve discussed this offseason.
But as of today, it’s Noah Brown who appears to be separating from the pack for one of the last spots on the depth chart. While Smith may be a more polished offensive weapon and Bryant brings similar skills on special teams, it sounds like Brown is doing just enough in both areas to get noticed.
This will be the final year of Noah’s rookie contract, amazingly still intact despite his humble beginnings and recent adversity. He needs to keep this positive momentum going and finally stay healthy long enough to make the team and contribute in the regular season.
It appears the veteran gave some lessons to the rookie defensive tackle.
The night Gallimore was drafted he told the media that he considered himself an "unfinished product." The plan seemed simple enough: develop that product at a reasonable pace through the mentorship of players like McCoy, who could start in the meantime. The Cowboys are surely willing to stick to that plan, but in the wake of McCoy's departure, it would certainly be nice if the younger Oklahoma product could accelerate his development.
Still, Gallimore has a patient and self-aware mentality. He claims that McCoy and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula even have a word for him. "They say I'm very conscientious," Gallimore says. The rookie knows that he has to make sure he knows how to play in the NFL before he dominates it.
"One thing I learned just being here, you definitely pay for the little mistakes," he said. "You can't get away with the stuff you get away with in college. I love the process. It's been fun so far. I'm enjoying it. I'm seeing where I can improve, but I also see the results of when I do stuff right. It's about being consistent."
The Dallas Cowboys most valuable position group in 2020 is .. - Anthony Penna Jr, FanSided’s The Landry Hat
What do you think is the Cowboys most valuable position group?
Football starts upfront in the trenches, whether you have a top tier quarterback, running back or core receivers, none of it matters if the offensive line can’t get the job done. Same for the defense. A dominant trio of linebackers is utterly neutralized if the big boys up front can’t penetrate gaps, eat up blocks, and allow those backers to roam freely. More effected is the secondary, you simply can’t cover forever in today’s NFL. The quarterback and receivers are just too talented.
Defense wins championships, right? With the signing of Griffen to pair up with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys will have a chance to cause havoc up front on a consistent basis and this will not only make the entire defense better but put the quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense in tremendous field position more consistently.
Add in other key acquisitions such as defensive end Aldon Smith, who I think is going to be a fairly impactful player for Dallas this year as he has been turning some heads at camp so far, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe and you have yourself a very improved Cowboys defensive line.
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