The Dallas Cowboys officially began training camp practices on Wednesday afternoon which means we got all of the “firsts” for this year out of the way: time on the field, practice, little scare, so on and so forth.
All told Wednesday was a fairly chill day for the Cowboys save for the moment where we held our collective breath with safety Donovan Wilson leaving on a cart due to a right calf injury. Thankfully it appears that Wilson will be alright and ESPN’s Todd Archer went as far as saying he could be out 4-6 weeks with a return for the opener in Week 1 on the road against the New York Giants very much in play.
Hours before the session began we offered a handful of questions here at BTB that we hoped practice number one would answer. We will be doing this every day that the team holds practice and will obviously start by addressing the most recent batch.
Here were the questions that we had before Wednesday’s practice.
What will the exact configuration of the offensive line be?
Everything here wound up being about as expected although Zack Martin’s absence creates a void that we did not necessarily anticipate a few weeks ago. It was Josh Ball who got the first shot at right guard with things the way that they are.
With Zack Martin not at Cowboys training camp, Josh Ball got the first-team work at right guard. Rest of the first-team line: Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz and Terence Steele— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 26, 2023
It should not be shocking but it seems evident that the Cowboys are committed right now to utilizing Tyler Smith at left guard in terms of their ideal plan. Obviously the ideal plan changed last year what with Tyron Smith’s injury, it is that particular hypothetical that also seems a bit fascinating as we can wonder who would play left guard after Tyler slid over.
Would it be Josh Ball given his usage on the right side? We will see.
Who will see the most work at wide receiver out of the obvious four?
Similarly this went about as expected with the Cowboys reserving any sort of surprise for sometime further down the road. Simi Fehoko seems like the player most-entrenched at that fifth wide receiver spot. Unfortunately he had an ‘uh-oh’ moment in not being able to catch a ball that hit him right in the hands. A bounce off of him resulted in the first interception of camp. Shout out to Eric Scott Jr. for winding up with it.
First interception of the year goes to…— Hailey Sutton (@_HaileySutton) July 26, 2023
but the ROOKIE 6th Rd Draft pick Eric Scott!!! pic.twitter.com/hUG70JGRR7
Tipped passes from Dak Prescott still getting picked off aside, Wednesday may have been the first day but it still did lead to a bit of hype from an undrafted free agent wide receiver. It would not truly feel like training camp if it hadn’t.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper is lurking.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper making his presence felt on day one.— Tony Catalina (@Tony_Catalina) July 27, 2023
There’s more than a few people in & around the team that are quietly high on the young WR out of Fresno State.#CowboysNation pic.twitter.com/2I5EkF84MY
Time will tell just how high up the roster he can climb.
What will happen that we are not expecting?
Perhaps it is silly to say that we were not expecting any injury during the first practice of camp, but it does feel fair to say we were not expecting such a sizable one.
As noted earlier, safety Donovan Wilson is basically expected to be sidelined until the regular season begins.
Safety Donovan Wilson could miss 4-6 weeks with a right calf strain suffered in Wednesday’s practice, according to a source, but the belief is he will be available to play Week 1 against the New York Giants on Sept. 10.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 27, 2023
Football is unforgiving and while training camp is a lot of fun there is obviously something to getting through it. Hopefully the Cowboys do not have any more scares like this.
Now time for our questions that we hope Thursday’s practice answers!
What does the non-Tony Pollard running back work look like?
The position of RB2 on this year’s Cowboys roster seems a bit open.
We know that Tony Pollard is firmly-entrenched in his role as the starter and it would also be wise for the Cowboys to give him some veteran days off throughout this entire process. So with that being said, who will be the first player to see work with the first team when Pollard is out? How long will they be given exactly?
It feels like most Cowboys fans have written off Ronald Jones entirely. Similarly it feels like most people are really excited about Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle. Let’s see these chips fall.
Just how much leadership are we seeing from the tenured veterans?
Trevon Diggs met with the media following Wednesday’s practice, obviously to discuss his extension that was announced the day before. It was great to see him be excited over what is obviously life-changing money.
Among the things that Diggs talked about was the impact that Stephon Gilmore has had on him to this point. The Cowboys obviously acquired a very good player in Gilmore, but also someone with the ability to serve as a strong mentor.
Trevon Diggs on being teammates with Stephon Gilmore: “I feel like he’s just very professional. Just how he goes about his work, it’s like rubbed off on me. He’s waking up at 6 o’clock every day. So now I want to wake up at 6 o’clock every day, and go get a workout with him and…— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 26, 2023
Maybe I am smelling the new-ness of camp a bit too much, but this is very cool to see. The Cowboys are (generally speaking) a very young team so having someone around like Gilmore who has climbed the game’s ultimate mountains has to be very impactful on them.
More of this, please.
Will the vibes of positivity continue to swirl?
Overall things have been pretty positive and optimistic for the Cowboys, despite Wednesday’s situation with Donovan Wilson (Israel Mukuamu also left practice briefly). Day 1 brings with it some admittedly positive energy so it will be curious to see how long that lasts (ideally for all of camp).
Amazingly the Cowboys will practice today and then be off for one before reconvening Saturday. We are officially moving and grooving.