5 Storylines to Follow During Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
5 Storylines to Follow During Cowboys Training Camp
Training camp is well underway for the Dallas Cowboys, and as with every team in camp there are storylines to follow.
As you know, the Cowboys have implemented a lot of changes this offseason thanks in part to back-to-back 8-8 seasons, which ended in disappointment. Those changes, however, have come with their fair share of scrutiny.
One of the biggest and most obvious changes is the switch from the 3-4 defense to the 4-3 under the guidance of Tampa Cover 2 mastermind Monte Kiffin. The Cowboys hope that the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 will take advantage of the playmaking ability of some of their more notable players as in the cases of defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to name a few.
Another change, and one that I’m particularly excited about, is happening on the offensive side of the ball where the Cowboys brought in Frank Pollack to be the team’s assistant offensive line coach. Pollack, along with offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, is in the process of implementing a zone-blocking scheme similar to the scheme that the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans run. The Cowboys, as well as many analysts, see this move as one that will finally unleash DeMarco Murray and allow him to thrive because Murray’s one-cut running style suits the zone blocking scheme better than what the Cowboys were previously running.
There are many questions that the back-to-back 8-8 Cowboys must answer, and with the NFC East up for grabs; they must pull together during training camp and prove they can overcome their woes. In case you needed more reason to pay attention to your favorite team, here are five storylines worth keeping an eye on during training camp.
5. Installing the “12” and “13” Personnel Offense
The Cowboys are trying to implement more two, and three tight end looks on offense, known as the “12” personnel and “13” personnel sets.
During training camp, the Cowboys must figure out if it will be possible to do so with the tight ends currently on the roster. The Cowboys went out and spent their second round pick on tight end Gavin Escobar, so I hope they figure it out sooner rather than later.
4. Improvements on the Offensive Line
The Cowboys offensive line was one of the weakest areas on the team in 2012, so the team drafted center Travis Frederick in the first round to help anchor the interior of the line. They have also expressed a lot of confidence in second-year guard Ron Leary, and are giving him every opportunity to earn a starting job.
That’s all good-and-well, but is it enough? Is it enough to keep the opposing defenses from collapsing the interior of the offensive line, leading to immediate pressure in quarterback Tony Romo’s face? Is it enough to open running lanes for running back DeMarco Murray? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
3. Defense’s Adjustment to the 4-3
The Cowboys are transitioning from the 3-4 to the 4-3, and it appears that, for many of the players on defense, the transition will be a seamless one; however, the Cowboys have been dealing with a multitude of injuries along the defensive front and have yet to see what Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer can actually do out of this set.
2. Veterans That Will Be Forced Out the Door
One of my favorite parts of training camp is seeing which young players make an immediate impact because it creates competition where there once may have not been any. This year is no different because the Cowboys have some young players with a lot of potential, and some veterans that just haven’t lived up to expectations. That means the vets could ultimately be forced out of a job.
1. Tony Romo’s Health
The Cowboys have been fairly quiet this offseason and managed to keep the fact that Romo had a minor procedure done to remove a cyst off his back, but now that the Cowboys are in training camp, Romo has still been limited somewhat, which brings up the question of “is he fully recovered?”
The Cowboys have relied on Romo as their main source of offense the last few years, and if he’s not healthy heading into the season, the Cowboys may as well throw any expectations that they had for this season out the window.