By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on June 2, 2014
With football season just around the corner, the Dallas Cowboys are getting ready for perhaps one of their most important seasons in recent memory. 2009 was the last time the Cowboys made the playoffs, and Jason Garrett's job will be on the line to get them back to the promised land in 2014. Here are five positional battles to watch during OTAs.
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This seems to be the position no one is talking about. Kyle Orton wants to retire, but the Cowboys don't want the veteran to retire just yet. There is reason to be concerned for starting quarterback Tony Romo. The 33-year-old has had two major back surgeries and the window is closing for Romo. If Orton retires, the Cowboys have Dustin Vaughan and Brandon Weeden to compete for the backup position.
Terrance Williams exceeded expectations last season, and he ultimately took over Miles Austin's starting position. With the upgrade, the Cowboys have an opening for the No. 3 receiver spot. Dallas drafted Devin Street in the fifth round, and the Pittsburgh rookie may find his way onto the field early in his career. He will have to beat out the likes of Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley first.
The ACL injury to Sean Lee was a devastating one for Cowboy fans. Lee is extremely talented, but he spends too much time on the sidelines. Fortunately, the Cowboys selected two capable linebackers in the draft in Anthony Hitchens and Will Smith. Some other players who could fill in at the MIKE linebacker position are DeVonte Holloman and Orie Lemon.
After losing Jason Hatcher in free agency, the Cowboys had voids at the 1-technique position and the 3-technique position. Dallas signed Henry Melton to be their starting 3-technique defensive tackle, but there is still an opening at the position next to him. Some players who could start at the position are Tyrone Crawford and rookie Ken Bishop.
J.J. Wilcox seemed to be flourishing at the free safety position in the beginning of the season last year, but a concussion in the middle of the season hurt his progress. The Cowboys love Matt Johnson, but he has yet to suit up for a regular season game. Dallas also drafted Ahmad Dixon in the seventh round, and he could also be a starter if he impresses in training camp.
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