By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on July 15, 2014
With an offense equipped with enough talent for a return to the playoffs, but a defense filled with enough questions and inexperience to see the Dallas Cowboys select No. 1 overall next spring, the perception of Jerry Jones' club is rather polarizing about a week in advance of training camp. Check out these five rumors pertaining to the Cowboys before the fun of finding out how good or bad they are begins.
Despite a depleted defense that is in dire need of talent wherever and however it can find it, linebacker Rolando McClain, the former No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft, is no lock to make the 53-man roster. There are simply too many remaining questions regarding his work ethic and attitude to even begin thinking he's safe. Not to mention he hasn't taken a snap since 2012.
Weakside linebacker Bruce Carter was dreadful in 2013, finishing the season as Pro Football Focus' third-worst 4-3 outside linebacker in run defense among those who played at least 25 percent of their defense's snaps. He's been a solid player in the past, though, and reportedly showed well this spring. Perhaps his looming contract year has rejuvenated him. Even if any improvement is all about money, the desperate Cowboys defense will take it.
Originally thought to be DeMarcus Ware's heir apparent, defensive end Jeremy Mincey isn't expected to enter or finishing training camp as a starter for the Cowboys, according to one rumor. With only five sacks over his last two seasons, Mincey will likely be relegated to a reserve role if a youngster like Demarcus Lawrence proves to be a quick study.
There's legitimate concern among Cowboys fans that quarterback Tony Romo might never be the same again after a second back operation in as many seasons. Romo has been adamant that he's made a full recovery, though, even going as far as to tell the Dallas Morning News he's "miles ahead" of where he was this time last year. Don't expect any drop off in production from Romo if this rumor holds true.
After Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the Cowboys really don't possess any solidified pass catchers. Sure, there's potential in the receiver corps, especially as it pertains to Terrance Williams, but no one is a lock to put up consistent production. With that said, tight end Gavin Escobar has a golden opportunity to emerge as a force. A promising blend of size and athleticism gives Escobar all the tools to do so.
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