Onward to Oxnard: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 2012

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This where it all begins, this is where opportunity knocks for young players in the league, where coaches try to put their stamp on their teams. This is where the Dallas Cowboys begin to prepare for the World Champion New York Giants on September 5th. To me training camp is about the preparation, the process and the journey. I’m a realistic cowboys fan, do i expect my team to be Super Bowl bound this season? No but do i expect them to go out and compete to the best of their abilities? You damn skippy i do. I think the Cowboys can compete in the NFC East and i do expect them to have a better record than they did last season. Are they perfect? Heck no but these are the things I’ll be looking for during Training Camp 2012.

Wide Receiver- Can Miles Austin stay healthy?, Can Dez Bryant take the next step in his development? and Who are going to be the cowboys 3-6 receivers on the depth chart?. My guess is as good as yours but here are some names I’ll be keeping my eye on: Danny Coale, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris and Andre Holmes. Cole Beasley is a local boy from Dallas who played his college ball at SMU and he’s caught the eye of some cowboy scouts. He seems to catch everything thrown to him and always seems to find an empty space in zone coverage. Just 1 problem he’s very diminutive at 5’8. I like Danny Coale and he’s the Cowboys 5th round pick but he broke his left foot at Rookie Mini-Camp. It’s never a good thing when your a rookie and your behind. Andre Holmes is a big guy and he stands at 6’5, some have him pegged win the third receiver position. There are a couple of things i question with him, how fast is he really and how good are his hands. Dwayne Harris is my dark horse of the battle because he’s got speed and can help you out on special teams but how quickly can he develop a rapport with Quarterback Tony Romo is my question.

Interior Offensive Line- Tony Romo was sacked over 30 times last season and that’s a big problem. I liked the fact that the cowboys went out and got Nate Livings and Mackenzie Bernadeau in Free Agency. They paid them both like starters but it seems like Bernadeau can’t get on field because he’s been hampered by a hip injury. Bernadeau hasn’t practiced since he signed with Dallas and won’t be back until mid August that’s a issue the Cowboys need to sort out quickly.Center Phil Costa was the weak link on the Cowboys offensive line last year and statistics show that he was one of the worst linemen in the NFL last year. Bill Nagy was a guy the cowboys thought could challenge Costa for his starting spot but the injury bug has bitten him. Nagy missed most of last yr with a broken fibula and now has high ankle sprain. I like Nagy because of his versatility on the line and the stage never seems to bright for him. It’s very imperative that Cowboys find a good Offensive line combination that can both run block and pass protect adequately for Tony Romo.

Inside Linebacker- One of these spots is taken by Sean Lee but Bruce Carter and Dan Connor will be battling for the other position. Carter is a second round pick who hardly saw the field due to an ACL injury he suffered in college. He’s a very good athlete who can play the pass very well and shed blockers quickly. Dan Connor is Sean Lee’s old teammate at Penn State and convinced him to come to Dallas during Free Agency. Connor is a tough linebacker who diagnosis plays well and loves to tackle whoever has the football. Both players can’t afford to have a bad practice but whoever wins this battle will play an important role on the Dallas Defense in 2012.

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