After sitting through the 2020 season where injuries and atrocious defensive play was abundant, Dallas Cowboys fans are hoping there’s not more of the same heading into 2021. Luckily, if you choose believe the news coming out of training camp, you are probably not just hopeful things are heading in the right direction, but encouraged big things could be ahead for America’s Team this year.
The Cowboys have a few practices under their belt in Oxnard and so far everything is going off pretty much without a hitch. You can almost feel a renewed energy from the coaching staff and players alike, and that looks to be carrying over to the fan base as well. It’s still early, and the pads haven’t even come on yet, but there seems to be very little bad news or uncertainty coming out of Oxnard.
One of the biggest concerns heading into training camp was how several of the Cowboys players with season-ending injuries last year would heal up over the offseason. As things stand right now, there seems to be no concerns on that front. Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Blake Jarwin don’t seem to be showing any lingering effects and should be good to go when the season kicks off.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t injury free at the moment though. DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, and Trysten Hill are all working off to the side with the training staff. Thankfully there are no long-term concerns about Lawrence or Cooper. Both of them will reportedly return to practice after the preseason game against Arizona, but Hill’s injury is still a bit of a mystery, even though he’s supposedly “on schedule” recovery wise.
Jerry Jones said he anticipates DeMarcus Lawrence (back) and Amari Cooper (ankle) to get back to practice after the Cowboys play Arizona in the preseason on Aug. 13 and expects both to get at least a little game action before the opener.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 26, 2021
Putting the injury concern on the back burner for now, the Cowboys will no doubt be an improved team from a season ago. Sadly, though, that’s not the only concern at the moment. Dallas’ secondary, and the defense as a whole, really needs to improve their play and so far there have been encouraging signs things are, at least, heading in the right direction.
As far as Dallas’ secondary is concerned, their young cornerbacks sound as if they’re holding their own for the most part against Dak Prescott and company. If they can continue to do so, and continue to improve along the way, there are very few offenses around the league they shouldn’t be able to play with considering they’re already practicing against one of the best.
Micah Parsons, another one of the Cowboys young players, is also turning a lot of heads with his versatility and play so far at training camp. Whether he’s covering Ezekiel Elliott in the passing game or facing off against Tyron Smith as a pass rusher, Parsons is definitely looking like someone who will make a big difference early and often in 2021. He’s even receiving a little extra attention from Dan Quinn.
Micah Parsons isn’t the only player who’s caught Dan Quinn’s eye. He’s also been seen giving a little individual attention to Randy Gregory as well, someone who might just be having the best camp out of all of the Cowboys players right now.
Randy Gregory getting in some individual work with Dan Quinn pic.twitter.com/JjuO3tv4jN— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 25, 2021
Gregory and the rest of the Cowboys defenders seem to be responding well so far to Dan Quinn and the system he is installing. Things will become much clear once padded practices get underway, but for now each level of the Cowboys defense shows encouraging signs of improvement in the early portions of training camp.
It is still way too early to know with any kind of certainty what the Dallas Cowboys will look like in 2021, but after sitting through last season, any signs of hope is encouraging. If you’re a longtime Cowboys fan, sometimes hope is the only thing that gets you through season after season, and the organization is at least giving us that right now.