Training camp is here! Over the next several weeks we are going to get a nice little sampling of what’s to come from the 2022 Dallas Cowboys. Sure, it’s just an appetizer and we don’t want to overreact to anything, but this is where it all begins, people. Last year we could see good things coming from CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs who had some incredible battles in camp. And let’s just remind everyone that Jayron Kearse didn’t just fall out of the sky during the regular season as we saw clues that a good year was coming.
But who is going to show up big in camp this year? Or, a better question is who having a camp MVP-like showing would benefit the team the most? That was one of the questions the BTB crew addressed during the training camp preview show. If you missed out, here are the answers from each member of the panel...
David Howman - LB Jabril Cox
The LSU linebacker was thought to be a steal when he was taken in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but to this day, we don’t really know what he can do. After suffering a season-ending injury in the middle of last year, he didn’t get a chance to work himself into more reps, but now he’ll get his chance. Cox is a lengthy, athletic linebacker who is very good in coverage. If he’s roaming around getting in everyone’s business, that’s going to go a long way in satisfying the team’s LB depth as well as set the table for a nice group going forward which makes Howman the immediate front-runner for the best answer so far.
RJ Ochoa - OT Josh Ball or Matt Waletzko
RJ wasn’t sure if his two-player answer was fair or not, but considering the gravity of having a reliable swing tackle, this absolutely should count. And honestly, Cowboys fans probably don’t care which one it is as long as someone emerges as a player the team can count on when Tyron Smith gets hurt, because you know he will. If one of these guys has themselves a fantastic camp, do you know how much better that would make us all feel?
Tom Ryle - DE Dorance Armstrong
I’m not going to lie, I was really expecting Mr. Ryle to throw us a curve here with an answer so far outside the box, it would make us scratch our heads, but I digress, he comes through with a very reasonable answer. The team was unable to retain Randy Gregory this offseason, so they tried to save face by extending Armstrong. While they are not the same player, Armstrong is coming off his best season. He was a key role player who was blocking punts and even scored a defensive touchdown.
RJ brought up an interesting follow-up question asking that if Armstrong turned out to be the camp MVP, would that only serve to further the idea in Stephen Jones’ mind that his cheap way of doing things is right? He’s right that it would appear to validate Jones’ approach, but we want Jones to make the right moves, and while we don’t always like his choices, him being right and things working out is definitely in the Cowboys' best interest overall.
Tony Catalina - QB Dak Prescott
There’s always one in every group, and on this day it came from the intoxicating thoughts of the Catalina wine mixer (Pa Pow!!). While it’s super important that we hear good things about Prescott in camp, would that news really be the best thing for this Cowboys team? Dak has had some mixed results when it comes to camp showings and to be honest, it hasn’t really carried over to the regular season. What is crucial though is seeing every indication that he’s 100% healthy because a healthy Dak is a sensational Dak.
Danny Phantom - DT Neville Gallimore
I wasn’t able to hang with the guys for this discussion, but if I were, I’d take a little bit of a different approach with this question as I thirst to see improvement from the team’s biggest weakness - run defense. The team finished bottom third in yards per attempt. While opponents don’t run all over the Cowboys in total volume (like they did in 2020), they still did pretty well from an efficiency standpoint. The Cowboys refuse to throw any large investments at the nose tackle position, but if a beefed-up Gallimore steps in and fills that role, that could be huge for this defense. A little more pushback along the interior line would go a long way and seeing Gallimore flourish in a new role could be the added strength the team needs to go farther in the postseason.
Who do you want to emerge as the Cowboys training camp MVP?
This poll is closed
LB Jabril Cox
OT Josh Ball or Matt Waletzko
DE Dorance Armstrong
QB Dak Prescott
DT Neville Gallimore
Check out the entire YouTube episode where they answer this question and much more. Also, make sure to tune in every Tuesday as we’re starting up the BTB Weekly Roundtables to follow all the training camp action as we head towards the new season!