The Dallas Cowboys are barely one week into training camp and if you have been paying any kind of attention, you probably would've noticed that there certainly hasn't been any shortage of news. Unfortunately, the majority of it has been of the negative nature.
Backup quarterback Kellen Moore broke his leg, which now puts the backup position behind Tony Romo in question. Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford is suffering through a back injury and although it doesn't sound serious, it's still a concern none the less. Of course, we can't forget about Ezekiel Elliott now that he will miss practice for about a week with a sore hamstring.
Let's just hope and pray that this is the worst of it and the rest of training camp goes off without any more problems.
Fortunately for all of you, I'm the type of person that doesn't like to dwell on the negative. I prefer to look at the positive things that are going on and focus on them.
I'm not fortunate enough to see these practices in person, but I do try my best to stay tuned in with everything that's going on. So, I decided to share with you some players that I have heard are turning heads in training camp.
Nearly everyone has that player they love to hate, and for a lot of you that player is cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Claiborne's NFL career can mostly be defined by his history of injuries, but he's hoping to put that behind him in 2016. He wants to finally live up to not only his, but everyone else's expectations.
If you don't believe me, check out his tweet he sent to teammate Dez Bryant before training camp kicked off.
Training camp time @DezBryant hold me accountable!! All in
Right now, his confidence is high and it's showing in his play on the field. His technique has been sound and he is blanketing every receiver he has been covering so far in training camp.
In fact, he is so confident right now that he has wanted to get even more involved and asked to return kickoffs.
Let's just all hope that he can keep it up for the entire 2016 season.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Alfred Morris knowing all too well the type of player they were getting having gone up against him twice a year as a member of the Washington Redskins.
Morris has been impressive in practice and continues to make it to the second level of the defense before being slowed down or even touched. That's pretty impressive you ask me.
It wasn't crystal clear where he was at on the depth chart amongst the running backs, but in the small sample size of training camp practices it looks as if he has solidified himself as Zeke Elliott's backup.
Due to Elliott's sore hamstring, Morris will get plenty of work over the next week or so and I fully expect him to take full advantage of each and every repetition.
I don't know if there's a player on the Cowboys roster that I'm looking forward to seeing in a game situation more than Darius Jackson. In fact, you can read exactly how good I think Jackson can be by clicking here.
Jackson has shown good burst and vision in practices. He is shooting through the running lanes and has shown to have quick feet to stop on a dime and change directions.
I already thought that he would receive plenty of work during preseason, but like Alfred Morris, he too will be asked to practice more with Elliott out with a sore hamstring.
By the time Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar are finally healthy and able to practice, it may be a little bit too late because Jackson is going to make it really hard for the coaching staff to keep off of the final 53 man roster.
First off, I'm just amazed that Gavin Escobar was ready enough to practice after suffering an Achilles injury back in December in week 15 of the 2015 season. Not only is he practicing, although on a limited basis, word is he's looking fantastic doing it.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the year the coaches will finally get Escobar involved more on offense and use his unique skill set to create mismatches.
I won't be holding my breath or anything, but I'm really hoping offensive coordinator Scott Linehan can find a way to utilize Escobar more on offense. The fact they haven't been able to do so during the first three years of Escobar's NFL career doesn't really give me much hope though.
If the Cowboys don't believe Gavin Escobar is in their future plans, I think they should showcase his skills during preseason and see if they can get anything for him via trade.
It's no secret that the Cowboys could use as much help from their pass rushers as possible without DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory. Fortunately, it looks as if second-year player Ryan Russell is ready to step up and contribute.
Russell has been playing defensive end on both the right and left side and he looks like an entirely different player in year two.
His matchups with the Cowboys Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith, have been a battle worth watching. Even though Smith gets the best of him the majority of the time, it's encouraging to see that Russell is holding his own.
Russell is trying to do his best to lay claim to one of those DE spots and I think he will only continue to get more comfortable with more practice time before being named the starter. That is at least for the first four games until DeMarcus Lawrence returns from his suspension.
Speaking of Lawrence, it looks as if he is ready to pick up where he left off last year. He has been giving Tyron Smith all he can handle when they face off against one another in practice.
Does any of this sound encouraging?
Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions so we can discuss this topic further.
Which Cowboys Benefit From David Irving’s Suspension?
While losing David Irving for the first four weeks of 2018 is a bad thing for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, it does create opportunities for some of the other defensive tackles. Who has the most to gain from Irving's suspension?
Because he was mostly going to be used inside as the 3-technique DT, David's absence will naturally benefit the guys who are best suited to play that role. Thankfully, Dallas isn't lacking for those types of players.
Veteran Tyrone Crawford can use all the playing time he can get. As a likely salary cap casualty next year, Crawford doesn't want to get buried on the depth chart as Dallas focuses on their younger players who project to stick around beyond 2018.
With Irving out, Dallas will likely lean on Tyrone as they often do when someone is missing on the defensive line. With more talent now at defensive end, Crawford was going to be competing with Irving, Maliek Collins, Jihad Ward, and other younger guys for work at tackle.
But now there's a problem, and it's easy to slide Crawford into the 3-tech role that Dallas once envisioned him being a star at. Remember, it was their projection of Tyrone as a breakout DT that got him his big contract to begin with.
Yes, Irving's only gone for four weeks. Dallas will still be giving him work in camp based on the role he should fill for the majority of the season. But that's why a veteran like Tyrone Crawford is a great temporary plug-in, because he doesn't need all of the practice reps to step in and perform.
Another key beneficiary could be third-year DT Maliek Collins. Last season, Collins got stuck playing 1-technique and not getting the same opportunities to make plays and get noticed that he had his rookie year.
But now Dallas has several guys in Jihad Ward, Richard Ash, and Brian Price who can play the 1-tech role, which will hopefully get Collins back where he belongs. Maliek's athleticism belongs a little further away from center, letting him try to take on guards in single coverage.
Collins is dealing with a foot issue now but should be back for the preseason. That's enough time for him to be where he needs to be Week One, provided he's healthy.
How Dallas would balance playing time between Collins and Tyrone Crawford could be a matter of how much they play certain schemes. One could see Collins, the bigger guy, playing more in the base defense and then Crawford being used in passing situations.
There is always a lot of rotation in a Rod Marinelli line, so discussions about playing time can get a little silly. Unless you're a true stud like DeMarcus Lawrence who you don't want to take off the field, the Cowboys like to keep guys fresh.
But that's why this is a big opportunity; David Irving has that stud potential. He's the kind of talent who could keep solid players like Crawford and Collins out of view if he hits his stride.
For the first four weeks, though, Irving will be in the NFL doghouse and Dallas will likely lean on its two most experienced defensive tackles to fill the void. There will be more reps for guys like Datone Jones and Jihad Ward too, but Crawford and Collins have way more skins on the wall
That trust should keep them on the field more while David Irving's suspended, and perhaps beyond.
BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year
For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.
Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.
Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.
In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.
Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.
The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.
Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out
The Dallas Cowboys are back in offseason mode, concluding their OTAs and minicamp from The Star. With a hiatus until training camp, it was important for several high-profile players to make a strong first impression on the 2018 season. From the start of mini camp, these impressions were left mostly by Rod Marinelli's defense and -- more specifically -- Kris Richard's young group of cornerbacks.
Still working through significant change on the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboys did rally on day three under Quarterback Dak Prescott to put out a better performance. The Cowboys coaching staff should love their lasting memories of both FA acquisition Wide Receiver Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup.
There is a strong chance that these two receivers will be the Cowboys starters in Oxnard for training camp. We have heard a lot about the impact new WR Coach Sanjay Lal has had on his group, slowing the game down to focus on route running. This will give the team's rotation of unproven receivers a chance with Prescott, as he can focus on throwing to a 'spot' more often.
One spot that Prescott has struggled to hit in two seasons as the starter in Dallas is the back of the end zone for fade routes. A red zone go-to under Scott Linehan, free agent WR Dez Bryant was often the intended target on these missed passes.
Less of a route running technician and closer to the mold of a physical player like Bryant, Allen Hurns emerging as the Cowboys #1 option would solve a lot of uncertainty at the WR position. In yesterday's practice, Hurns was able to haul in a perfect ball from Prescott on the fade as he beat Byron Jones.
It's going to take some time for Jones to readjust to playing cornerback, but the vision for Kris Richard of him and Chidobe Awuzie starting on the outside is a great one. In a battle of proven players, Hurns got the best of Jones to spark the Cowboys offense at the right time.
Overall, there should be no reason to panic about (well, really anything from mini camp) the Cowboys offense right now, and plenty of reasons to be excited about what this defense will develop into.
Once the pads come on at training camp, the players the Cowboys are paying to play at an elite level will start to shine, including their newly re-signed Guard Zack Martin -- the highest paid guard in the league now. There are no doubts that the bread and butter for this offense will be handing the ball to Ezekiel Elliott behind this wall of an offensive line.
From this increase in competition in the trenches, we'll also get more meaningful battles along the defensive line. In shorts and helmets for now, the Cowboys secondary was given their chance at mini camp, and came out solid early.
Another player they've struggled to truly corral though is Michael Gallup. Perhaps pressing a bit thanks to his limited opportunities thus far, Jourdan Lewis was taken across the field by Gallup on a misfire from Cooper Rush.
This is nothing new for Gallup however, who's been ahead of the curve on creating the desired separation as a "violent" receiver on the outside.
A steal with the 81st overall pick in this year's draft, Gallup has a long way to go in beating out the likes of Terrance Williams, Cedrick Wilson (limited through this portion of the offseason with injuries), and even Cole Beasley, who's received some reps on the outside.
With both Hurns and Gallup making plays on the Cowboys final practice until late July, it's easy to let the mind wander with possibilities of the Cowboys offense playing at full strength against a defense that might be up for the challenge better than ever compared to year's past.
As always, the practice fields of Oxnard will serve as a battle ground for a young but deep Cowboys team to earn their spots on the 53-man roster, one that surely won't have room for all of the wide receiver hopefuls seen this week in mini camp.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Should Cowboys DT Jihad Ward Be Getting More Attention?
Star Blog1 week ago
Could Connor Williams Actually Define the Cowboys’ Season?
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Can WR Cedrick Wilson be the Cowboys Next Deep Threat?
Player News6 days ago
Report: Cowboys Sign OL Zack Martin To 6 Year Deal
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Could Cowboys CB Anthony Brown be a Trade Asset?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys 2018 Job Security Rankings: Defense
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
4 Reasons Terrance Williams Won’t Be a Cowboy
Player News2 days ago
BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year