FRISCO, Texas – The countdown has begun for the Dallas Cowboys to open their preseason camp in the paradise of Oxnard, California, and begin preparation for one more attempt to end their championship drought.
The Cowboys will arrive in Oxnard in exactly two weeks after what the team has considered the best offseason since the coaching staff headed by Mike McCarthy arrived in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.
Instead, many believe this will be a team with less individual talent than when they came to Oxnard last year and finished the season with 12 wins in 17 regular-season games and the NFC East title.
In reality, except for the wide receiver position, the rest of the core of the starting team is very similar to that of 2021, with the advantage that they know each other better, with their coaches and had good spring training.
“I think the biggest thing is that they have a starting line and a finishing line, and I think we’ve already crossed the finish line, particularly with the veterans,” coach Mike McCarthy said after the final day of mandatory minicamp with a team. complete, which ended a couple of days before the original program.
“Everything we wanted to accomplish in the offseason was done,” he added.
The Cowboys’ front and field staff have already begun their journey to Oxnard. The plane with most of the players will leave on July 26 and a day later they will hold their first official training.
Players are responsible for arriving physically and football ready, including knowledge of the system and particular assignments. So it’s not like they have five weeks of vacation from when they broke ranks at The Star until they report back to camp.
“There’s a lot of work that they have to do that isn’t in their required daily routine, but is necessary,” McCarthy said. “When the boys are at The Star they interact with their coaches and teammates. The next five weeks are work and under their responsibility because coming to camp things happen fast and they don’t stop for anyone.”
In Oxnard, the Cowboys will have to polish and detail their game. The battles for the starting position are minimal.
In the backfield, the only question has to do with how they will try to maximize the abilities of fourth-year running back Tony Pollard as an alternate for Zeke Elliott. And this has been talked about for a long time…
On the offensive line, rookie first-round draft pick Tyler Smith is likely to compete with Connor McGovern for the top spot at left guard, though the rookie is already the favorite right off the bat …
Tight end Dalton Schultz will show up wearing his franchise tag, as all indications are, when the deadline to negotiate his long-term contract is due on Friday. He feigned the strike in the last OTA, but showed up to minicamp, as he will from the first equipped practice in July.
The big question on the practice field among wide receivers will be how receivers like James Washington, Jalen Tolbert, TJ Vasher and even Noah Brown perform as sidekicks for CeeDee Lamb, who will surely have a great camp, like last year. .
The big unknown with Lamb will come with the regular season, when he faces real opponents, in games that already count. Meanwhile, no one doubts his great ability.
On the defensive line, there will be competition for Randy Gregory’s spot between Dante Fowler Jr. and Dorance Armstrong.
Among the linebackers, it will be necessary to see if Leighton Vander Esch takes advantage of the extra opportunity the team gives him or if Jabril Cox is ready to play in his second year and after a serious injury in 2021, and if rookie Mike Williams can enter immediately in the rotation of the position.
The secondary defense is more than distributed. The only question is whether in his second year Kelvin Joseph can compete for the starting job with Anthony Brown or even if he will be available to play, after the legal problem he was involved in earlier this year.
Thus, the props, the apparatus, the weights, the medical equipment, therapies and, above all, the human personnel, is about to arrive in California, to start the process again, which they hope will end at the finish line.
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Cowboy Camp just around the corner