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Early takeaways from Dallas Cowboys unpadded training camp practices

Training camp really starts when the Cowboys put the pads on.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

So far so good for the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California at training camp. The unpadded portion of practice has gone off without a hitch, but we all know training camp doesn’t officially start until the pads come on, something Neville Gallimore mentioned just yesterday.

Now that we are entering the portion of training camp where players will be in pads the intensity and competition level should raise significantly. Whether it’s the starters preparing themselves for the upcoming season or players fighting for a roster spot, things are about to get a lot more physical and probably a little more emotional as well from here on out.

Before we dive off into what we could expect from the Dallas Cowboys now that the pads will be popping in practices, let’s take a look back at a few of the takeaways from the earlier portion from the unpadded practices. A lot of positive things have happened already, but there are some concerns that may need to be addressed as well.

Takeaway #1

Staying healthy is key for the Cowboys in 2021, so it’s good to see players who sustained season-ending injuries like Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Blake Jarwin back on the field already. The team isn’t at 100% though right now. Zack Martin has a minor ankle injury that should probably be monitored closely, but shouldn’t affect his availability for the season opener. Other than that, only DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, Trysten Hill, and Greg Zuerlein are still being brought along slowly due to their offseason surgeries. But, there seems to be no long-term concerns with them either.

Takeaway #2

The best move the Cowboys probably made all offseason was hiring Dan Quinn to replace Mike Nolan as their new defensive coordinator. There’s just something about him that the players seem to be gravitating towards already. His hands on approach and attention to detail is already being well received. That didn’t seem to be the case last year with Mike Nolan. Likability goes a long ways in getting the best out of players and Quinn definitely has that charismatic coaching style. Players are buying into his system and it should help them rebound from their atrocious play last season.

Takeaway #3

What could be considered both a concern and a plus, the Cowboys should have several young players playing significant roles on the defensive side of the ball in 2021. It wouldn’t be a complete shock if Trevon Diggs and either Kelvin Joseph or Nahshon Wright are the starting outside corners this season. There’s a good competition going on right now at CB and to the victor go the spoils. They aren’t alone though. Micah Parsons has been showing off his versatility and could very well end up in one of Dallas’ best offenders this year. It’ll be interesting to see how these young guns perform once in pads.

Takeaway #4

Arguably one of the most exciting things to happen in the early portions of training camp practices for the Cowboys is how good Randy Gregory is performing. He’s been making plays all over the field in both the running and passing game and that’s great news considering the lack of proven depth at the position. Talent has never been a question with Gregory, it’s been all of the other off the field issues that’s always held him back from being the player he’s capable of. Don’t be at all surprised if he ends up leading the team in quarterback sacks and puts himself in the Pro Bowl conversation this year.

We have also been discussing our takeaways following every practice over on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of them.

Below is our recap from Tuesday’s practice, highlights included.