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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Players With the Most to Lose During Training Camp

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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the 2012 season, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wanted change; change is what he got.

The first order of business was getting rid of Rob Ryan and the 3-4 defensive scheme. It may have come as a shock to some, but it was a move that needed to be made. Injuries aside, Ryan’s scheme just wasn’t very good; definitely more bark than bite. Had Ryan’s defense not melted down in the fourth quarter of crucial games, maybe the Cowboys could have been playoff contenders and maybe he’d still have a job in Dallas.

Ryan was replaced with long-time 4-3 guru and father of the Tampa Cover 2 defense Monte Kiffin, who looks to excel where Ryan failed; pressure the quarterback and create turnovers, both which his defenses have done consistently.

Jones was also very disappointed in the Cowboys’ lack of a running game, so he took the play-calling duties away from head coach Jason Garrett and handed them to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and hired former Houston Texans assistant Frank Pollack to help establish a zone-blocking scheme similar to the one Houston and the Washington Redskins run.

Lastly Jones was disappointed with special teams coordinator Joe DeCamilis, but before DeCamillis got his walking papers in Dallas, he joined the Chicago Bears in the same role. The Cowboys replaced DeCamillis with Rich Bisaccia.

All these changes and the addition of players through the draft have created new challenges for the Cowboys, and as they head to training camp it is imperative that these five players perform to the best of their ability. That is why I have come up with this list of the five players with the most to lose during training camp.

Jesus Flores is a Dallas Cowboys writer for Follow him on Twitter @SSgtFlo1 or add him to your network on Google

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Doug Free

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Free is coming into training camp a humbled soul, after he was forced to take a 50 percent pay cut to stay on the team. With youngster Jermey Parnell breathing down his neck, Free will need to have a great training camp. If he doesn’t, not only will he no longer start, but surely won’t be on the roster in 2014.

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Miles Austin

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The writing is on the wall for Austin; his production must match his paycheck. The addition of Terrance Williams should be a sign that Austin’s time is almost up in Big D. He needs to have a hamstring-injury-free training camp and show that he is still a viable No. 2 option behind Dez Bryant if he's going to remain on this team.

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Orlando Scandrick

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Scandrick is another player whose on-the-field production doesn’t match his paycheck. The addition of B.W. Webb should let Scandrick know that the Cowboys want to get younger and less expensive. If Scandrick is going to have a spot on this team, he has to hold Webb off during training camp.

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DeMarco Murray

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

One never hears the words "Murray" and "healthy" in the same sentence, unless it’s to say, "Murray isn’t healthy," or "Murray must stay healthy."

It’s true; Murray must stay healthy. The Cowboys drafted Joseph Randle and have Lance Dunbar, who has been impressive in OTAs and Phillip Tanner, who won’t be going away without a fight. Should Murray get hurt during training camp, I believe he's going to lose his job as the starting running back.

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DeMarcus Ware

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now in his ninth year in the league, Ware is being asked to make the switch from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end. Ware, at one point considered one of the most dynamic defenders in the league, will be 31 by the time training camp starts and was slowed by injury last season.

For the Cowboys sake, let’s hope he can make the transition flawlessly, or at least work out the kinks during training camp. If he can’t, then there is no spot for him on the defense, and we may have seen the end of Ware’s illustrious career, at least in Dallas.