The Dallas Cowboys will finish up their offseason program this week at The Star in Frisco with their mandatory minicamp. The next time the team is together will be at training camp, which starts July 27th when the Cowboys have their first official team practice. The Cowboys have had three OTA sessions to this point and there has been plenty to talk about.
Let’s take a look at three names or aspects of the Cowboys team that is trending up and three names or aspects that are trending in the wrong direction heading into training camp.
For the Cowboys, there are three names that will definitely be on the team at receiver. That is Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and newly acquired Randall Cobb. After that, veteran names like Tavon Austin, Noah Brown and Allen Hurns could all be expendable. Part of the reason for that is rookie Jon’Vea Johnson has really stood out during the offseason program.
Johnson is an undrafted free agent out of Toledo. During the rookie minicamp, Johnson said that the Cowboys showed him the most love throughout the entire draft process and he has wasted no time making a name for himself. Johnson has the potential to be a big play threat. During his senior season at Toledo, he averaged 21 yards per catch.
There is no question about the leadership of Dak Prescott. If you spend any time around him, you will see he has “it.” However, much of the discussion this offseason has been about whether or not he deserves the contract he has coming to him sooner rather than later.
His pocket presence, footwork, accuracy and overall mechanics are all questions on the field. Everything you’ve heard from The Star is that he is doing everything he can to put those questions to rest. He has new quarterback coach Jon Kitna in his ear and so far, it has paid huge dividends.
One thing in particular that has stood out and that is his ability to connect on the deep ball, which Kitna says just comes from repetition.
The changes at the coaching
There have been major questions on the offensive side of the ball when it comes to the coaching, mainly with Scott Linehan. Linehan was known to be hard to communicate with and stubborn when it came to new ideas during his time in Dallas.
Once the Cowboys offense struggled to begin last season after failing to add an impact receiver during last offseason, Linehan’s role in the game planning became smaller and smaller. Kellen Moore has taken over as offensive coordinator and the reviews have been glowing throughout the offseason.
Dak Prescott has been very durable to this point in his career. That is great for the Cowboys because there are two major question marks behind him at quarterback with Mike White and Cooper Rush.
Neither White nor Rush has done anything this offseason to quiet the backup quarterback talks. It is believed by many that there will be a competition during training camp and if neither makes a leap, both could be gone when the regular season starts.
George IIoka is a veteran safety the Cowboys picked up in free agency. The Cowboys were doing everything they could to upgrade at safety this offseason.
That did not necessarily come to fruition and they had to “settle” with IIoka. During the OTA sessions, the starting safeties were still Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. IIoka will still have a chance to play a prominent role on the defense and a strong training camp and preseason would go a long way.
The Tight ends behind Witten
Ever since Witten came out of retirement and returned to the Cowboys, he has said he understands that he will not be on the field as much as he was before he retired and he is OK with that.
The Cowboys have said they are going to play the best player and in the most recent OTA practices, Witten took every first team rep. Training camp will be a very important time for Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin to ensure they get on the field in September.
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