NFL training camps are less than a month away from kicking off and the pressure is building for players to perform at their best for the 2018 season. Players on the Dallas Cowboys are no different as they feature multiple players who need to perform up to standards during training camp. Here are the top-3 Cowboys players that have the most pressure going into this year’s camp.
Embattled defensive tackle David Irving is facing multiple off-season issues that have called into question his love for the game. Whether it is a custody battle for his daughter, accusations of domestic violence from his estranged girlfriend or facing another drug-related suspension, these distractions aren’t something for any player to have going into a season where he is trying to prove himself. Irving has proven he is a talented player but the distractions keep coming back. His judgment is also being questioned, due to back-to-back seasons starting out with a four-game drug suspension. You can have all the talent in the world, but it’s a waste if you don’t play. For the coaches and the front-office to trust him again, he has to come to camp ready to work and overcome all the doubts surrounding him. Irving has to be a stand out in camp from the start or he will find his leash much shorter.
For years wide receiver Terrance Williams has been the ire and joy of Cowboys fans. One second he is making game-changing plays that help win games and then he can’t seem to use his hands to catch easy passes. Yet, for all his flaws as a receiver, the Cowboys continue to show faith in him by keeping him around for all these years. That was until this off-season when Williams was caught drunk on the side of the road by police. He was riding a motorized scooter just a few miles away from his crashed car. So far no punishment by the league or the Cowboys has come out yet, but the look isn’t a good one to have. This might be the season that Williams will not get the benefit of the doubt from the Cowboys brass. In the offseason, the team overhauled the receiving corps, releasing Dez Bryant and adding younger players like Michael Gallup and Allen Hurns. This training camp is the most crucial for Williams to make a case to stay on this team or he will be packing his bags.
Of all the players to focus on during this year’s Cowboys camp, one particular player has to be the focal point of fans and media alike, linebacker Jaylon Smith. The third-year pro is still progressing from a gruesome knee injury in college that some doctors said would end his playing career. Because of his immense talent pre-injury, the Cowboys took a major risk by drafting him in the second round in 2016. Since then, he has taken it slowly and made some strides playing last season. Yet, the overall picture wasn’t too pretty. Now, Smith plans to play without a brace and feels he is ready to take on a larger role on the defense. If he is ready to go, he would instantly start and be a part of a talented linebacking duo with Sean Lee. With the Cowboys drafting Leighton Vander-Esch with their first round pick this year, it puts pressure on Jaylon to be ready to fight for his starting position once camp starts. This is a crucial year for Smith to prove he has returned fully from his injury and ready to be an impact player on this defense.
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