By Kim Dunning
The Dallas Cowboys may be in more trouble than fans would like to believe. A few associates of mine went to training camp this past week, and the reports back were more disheartening than they were consoling. Pre-season isn’t the end all of how the season will go but it does shed some light on what you can expect going in.
Offensively, this team seems to be picking up where they left off before Tony Romo’s injury. Zeke Elliott was looking fabulous and really going hard on the first day of training camp and then he came up limping. Status on him is a hamstring issue, like that is anything new in Dallas, and he will be sidelined for a week or so.
Other notable running back performance came from Darius Jackson, who was picking up where Zeke left off and second year player Rod Smith. Both players had excellent performances when they had their moments on the field. Lance Dunbar was not performing well, but he was just coming back off his season-ending injury.
Romo coming off his fractured collar bone was looking rough. Romo was stiff and throwing soft, flat passes. Romo spent most of the first practice stretching out between outings. This could cause concern, as the veteran quarterback and lifeline of the team is 36 years old and on his second injury to the same area.Kellen Moore, as most know, is likely out for the season after suffering a broken ankle in practice.
However, Dak Prescott and Jameil Showers were both looking good, when they had their spotlight. Showers is impressing with his strong, accurate passes and Dak is absorbing everything he’s been coached and applying it right away on the field.
The tight ends and wide receiver corps looks good, except Dez Bryant is showboating more than he is being serious about his catches. Dez has been spotted dropping a lot of balls while doing drills and then he decided to show off and catch balls right in front of the ball machine and ended up making a bigger fool of himself by only catching three out ten.
Lucky Whitehead has been the standout wide receiver making a splash on every drill he is in. Whitehead was a serviceable kick returner last season and fans are looking forward to seeing if he can complement the wide receiving corps this season as potentially a third one.
Offensively, the Cowboys look like they are going to be strong and put up a lot of points. The offensive side of the ball is well-stacked and will ball come the regular season. There is little concern, except the health of Romo.
Defensively, Dallas is well, Dallas. The defense needs lots of help. Their biggest obstacle is getting the chemistry going. The players who are currently on defense are not players that can play every down type guys. These guys are ones that will constantly be rotated in and out of the line.
The secondary hasn’t changed much since last season, so for Dallas fans alike, the best case scenario would be to keep the defense off the field as much as possible. It would be in the best interest of Dallas to have long, clock killing drives that end with a score.
The standout on defense has been David Irving and he is a beast. However, as stated above, he is not a player who will be able to play every down, but as it stands now he will be an impact player who will and can change the game.
The special teams crew is looking good. Dan Bailey doesn’t seem to have missed a beat and there is a punting contest between rookie Matt Wile and veteran Chris Jones. So far, they seem evenly matched but we will continue to eye this competition. No worries, Bailey’s job is safe and sound!
As disheartening as the news currently is out of Dallas, with the injuries and lackluster performance of the veterans, we all know pre-season doesn’t determine the outcome at the end of the season. It will be an interesting first pre-season game to see where the talent lies and what surprises lie in store for fans of the Dallas Cowboys.