OXNARD, Calif. — Four training camp practices are in the books and we’re now entering Week 2 of this year’s Oxnard trip. As a way to look back on what we’ve learned up to this point, I have broken it down into five things that have jumped out to me.
Just remember, it’s still early and a lot will change between now and when San Francisco comes to town in Week 1.
1.) Tony Romo really isn’t a full participant. Leading up to training camp, Jason Garrett and Romo said the Dallas Cowboys quarterback would be a full-go. That hasn’t exactly happened. Romo sat out Friday’s afternoon practice. It was Romo’s call. He wanted to be fully prepared for Saturday, the Cowboys’ first session in pads. During Saturday’s practice, Romo attempted 12 passes. The Cowboys are saying there hasn’t been a setback. It will be interesting if he misses any sessions this week. The players had Monday off. They’ll practice Tuesday-Thursday and have another off day on Friday.
2.) Morris Claiborne seems like a different player. Has he gotten beat by Dez Bryant during 1-on-1 drills? Yes, that would happen to any defensive back. But Claiborne’s playing with more confidence. Judging by his play through two padded-practices, it appears Rod Marinelli is going to allow his corners to be more aggressive this season. That’s good news for Claiborne. He was the sixth overall draft pick in 2012. He needs to have a big year, and he knows it.
3.) No surprise here, but the offensive line is already showing that it should be very good this season. Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith have all been looking like first-round picks through four practices. As long as Doug Free and whoever wins the left guard job â likely either Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau â are solid, the Cowboys should have one of the NFL’s top groups up front.
4.) It’s been fun watching the different ways offensive play-caller Scott Linehan lines up his receivers and tight ends. Second-year tight end Gavin Escobar has been lining up like a wide receiver on several occasions. In other formations, 5-8 Cole Beasley is out wide while Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are lined up next to each other on the inside. Regardless if the Cowboys run the ball more or not, expect to see a lot of three, four and five-wides this season.
5.) Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has been the most entertaining person to follow during camp and it’s highly unlikely that’ll change. He’s easily the most vocal coaching staff member and he has definitely dropped the most expletives. I can’t print most of his statements, but I’ll just say he wants his defensive linemen to get off the ball faster than they have so far.