Now that the Dallas Cowboys officially have a few training camp practices under their belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what they’re trying to accomplish in just a few weeks time. Training camp is designed to get players up to speed both physically and mentally for the upcoming season, hopefully without any setbacks or injuries. The latter is what I want to dive into a little deeper today.
Over the weekend the Dallas Cowboys may have suffered an injury setback. Wide Receiver Cedrick Wilson is believed to have a torn labrum. Although nothing is confirmed as of yet, this would likely land him on Injured Reserve and end his rookie season.
Wilson may have been a long shot to make the final 53-man roster to begin with, but you never like to see injuries in training camp, especially to veteran players who are expected to play a key role in the upcoming season. That is why we have seen the Cowboys coaching staff give certain players a “Veteran Day” off.
Of course, not all veterans really need to take a few extra practices off. There’s usually a certain criteria that these types of players fall under. Maybe it’s because of their injury history, or maybe it’s because they’re just getting up there in age. Regardless, sometimes less is more. Today, I want to share with you a few Cowboys players I think need a “Veteran Day”.
Linebacker, Sean Lee
I’m sure the first Dallas Cowboys player that came to mind who definitely needs a “Veteran Day” off is Linebacker Sean Lee. His inability to stay healthy for an entire season is well documented. But, keeping him on a pitch count so to speak in training camp and giving him designated days off should help prevent him from getting too banged up before the season starts.
When healthy and on the field, there is no doubt Sean Lee is one of the best linebackers in the game. He seems to know exactly where the play is going before the ball is snapped and that’s a testament to his film study. The Cowboys are simply a better defense when he is on the field then when he is not. Hopefully, these extra days off in training camp will help keep him healthy throughout the entire 2018 season.
Offensive Tackle, Tyron Smith
If Sean Lee’s name wasn’t the first Dallas Cowboys player you thought of who needs a “Veteran Day” off, then you were probably thinking of Tyron Smith. Unfortunately, these past few seasons Smith has battled and succumbed to reoccurring back injuries that has caused him to miss time. His absence on the field is a definite hindrance for the Cowboys offensive productivity.
It’s no coincidence the Cowboys offense and Quarterback Dak Prescott started to struggle when Tyron Smith was out of the lineup while dealing with his back injury last season. Yes, it was the same time Ezekiel Elliott ended up getting suspended, but I believe Smith was the bigger obstacle the Cowboys offense had to overcome. We can only hope that won’t happen again, which is why extra days off during training camp could prove to be beneficial.
Defensive End, DeMarcus Lawrence
The way DeMarcus Lawrence played last season might just have made him an indispensable player heading into the 2018 season. The way he can impact the game as both a run defender and pass rusher makes him extremely important moving forward, which is why I believe he deserves those “Veteran Day” practices off as well.
Let’s not forget that Lawrence has already had two back surgeries in his professional career, which is probably one of the reasons why he had a fantastic 2017 season. He was finally healthy. In order to keep him healthy, I think he needs to join Sean Lee and Tyron Smith on the sideline to prevent too much wear-and-tear before the season gets underway. I want to see him pick up where he left off last year and completely dominate.