Mandatory Mini-Camp has ended the offseason activities as the Dallas Cowboys experience a five week lay-off until they officially report to training camp on July 30th, in Oxnard, California.
During this layoff, the players must demonstrate their professionalism and act like grown business men. The front office will make each player accountable for their actions during the five weeks. This is no time for foolish behavior. This team must follow the leaders to reach their lofty goals for 2017.
Five players to lead the team into 2017
Going into Oxnard the Cowboys look poised to determine just who will be starting the season, even before training camp begins.
Dan Bailey will lead the kicking game. Both kickers, Bailey and Chris Jones are superior athletes. The Cowboys will depend on both kickers to be as good as they were in 2016.
Dak Prescott has grown over the off-season and it has shown in his improvements during the OTA’s and mini-camp. Nobody is as critical of Dak’s game as Dak is. He worked hard last season to lead the team and this year will be his year. If not for having Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Dak would most likely lead the league in passing yards and touchdowns this season.
Cedric Thornton led all defensive linemen in playing time last season. Look for that to be the way training camps begins, with Cedric taking the snaps at the one technique. Being his second season with Rod Marinelli, look for Thornton to improve; however, his competition will not back down.
Jaylon Smith will not be gifted the job at the Mike position. While it is widely expected that Jaylon will begin as the starter, Anthony Hitchens, who started all 16 games last season, is chomping at the bit to keep his job. Hitchens has played his best football in these mini-camps and this must continue throughout training camp if he expects to capture playing time in the middle.
Number five is rookie Chidobe Awuzie who has been given Tony Dorsett’s old number, 33. This young man is a special kind of athlete. He is a lot like Byron Jones in his ability to adapt and play any of the defensive backfield positions. He is neither intimidated nor confused on his coverage schemes. One other thing about Chidobe, he can hit.
The Front Office
It is no doubt that Jerry Jones owns this team. Fortunately, he has the good sense to let go off some of the authority that led to failure in the past. With minor exceptions, he has allowed Steven Jones and Will McClay to bring in the “Right kind of Guys” while allowing Jason Garrett to run the team each game day for 60 minutes-without rushing down onto the field.
This is the most complete team head coach Jason Garrett has had to start a training camp. There is no panic alert because we need to find a back-up quarterback or defensive lineman.
With the five week layoff, we shall see who intends to be a contributing member of the Dallas Cowboys, On July 30th, the games begin for roster spots for real. Stay tuned, this is going to be another excitement filled season for our Cowboys.