The Dallas Cowboys officially take the field for training camp practices on Saturday, July 30th, which so happens to be tomorrow.
Can you believe it’s just one day away?
Finally, the practices will be fully padded and we can all get a better idea of not only the new additions to the Cowboys roster, but also the progression of others.
I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of unanswered questions that are concerning to say the least heading into training camp. Unfortunately, the majority of my questions involve the defensive side of the ball and how they’re going to perform in the 2016 season.
I decided to share with you just a few of them, because I have an absurd amount.
Here are four questions that I hope to get the answer to in training camp.
Where will the pass rush come from?
I hate to beat a dead horse, but by now we all know that the Dallas Cowboys will be shorthanded on defense due to the suspensions to Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory. Lawrence and Gregory are particularly disturbing because that takes away two of the top pass rushers for the Rod Marinelli led defense.
Marinelli will once again have to work his magic with the defense and use training camp practices in order to find out exactly where the pass rush will come from in 2016.
I for one think that Marinelli will rely on Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton to collapse the pocket and get after the opposing quarterback, at least until DeMarcus Lawrence is able to return after his four-game suspension.
Thorton’s addition to the defense should help provide a little spark in the middle and also allow Crawford to improve upon his career-high five quarterback sacks that he was able to accumulate in 2015, despite battling through an injury the majority of the year.
Will Ezekiel Elliott’s accusation of domestic violence be a distraction?
Allegations were made against Ezekiel Elliott last Friday, his 21st birthday, that he was involved in a domestic violence situation involving an ex-girlfriend in Columbus, Ohio.
Elliott adamantly denies these allegations as being true and even says that he has proof saved on his phone that his ex was out to ruin his good name.
Despite Elliott’s denial of having anything to do with domestic violence, the case has now made it’s way to the prosecutor’s office and an investigation is currently underway. They are gathering as much information as possible and there is no timetable of when the investigation may be completed.
The NFL will also conduct their own individual investigation into these allegations.
Having this hanging over Elliott’s head has to have some kind of impact on him, but it has yet to be seen whether it will impact his performance on the field or possibly carry over to the rest of his teammates throughout training camp
Can young players step up at defensive end or linebacker?
Like I mentioned earlier, the three suspensions on the defensive side of the ball for the Dallas Cowboys has really impacted the defense negatively, especially at defensive end and linebacker.
Yes, the Cowboys brought back Justin Durant to help solidify the linebacker position, but it looks as if the organization wants to see what they have in their young players in training camp before making any drastic decisions.
Linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Mark Nzeocha are expected to compete at middle linebacker, and rookie defensive end Charles Tapper and second-year player Ryan Russell could be competing for a starting spot at DE.
There is a lot of inexperience at LB and DE, so it will be really interesting to see how this plays out throughout training camp.
Will the Dallas Cowboys add more free agents?
It is somewhat surprising that the Dallas Cowboys only free-agent signing since learning of the suspensions to three of their defensive players has only been linebacker Justin Durant.
Many fans have been calling for the Cowboys to sign several different free agents, but at the forefront has been DE/OLB Dwight Freeney.
It is certainly understandable considering the current state of the pass rush for the Cowboys defense and it may still happen. But, Freeney might not want to go to the grind of training camp and the Cowboys certainly want to see what they have in some of their younger pass rushers.
I fully expect that the Cowboys will make a move if they don’t like what they see from their young defensive ends and linebackers. Dwight Freeney’s name might just be at the top the list once the organization decides what they want to do.
Are there any other questions that need to be answered heading into training camp?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share with us anything that you believe should be discussed further. I look forward to hearing from everyone.