Top five Cowboy performances during training camp
The Dallas Cowboys have returned from training camp in California and have almost a week of practices back in Texas under their belts. As with every camp, there are a few players who really impressed and a few who were disappointing.
Several Cowboys performed well in camp but these five stood out most.
1.) Dez Bryant. The exceptionally-gifted 24-year-old wide receiver picked up right where he left off last season, dominating defensive backs in the majority of drills and practice sessions. Bryant’s speed and 6-2, 222-pound frame has made it difficult on opposing defensive backs during his first three seasons in the league, but his route-running and knowledge of the offense seems to have taken a significant step forward. It has become obvious that Bryant must be mentioned among the top receivers in the game.
2.) Sean Lee. DeMarcus Ware is the Cowboys’ best defender but Lee might be their most valuable. When Lee is on the field the defense is just noticeably better. He impacts the running game with his impressive instincts and tackling ability, but is also outstanding in coverage, routinely coming up with deflections and interceptions. Apparently, the Cowboys were also impressed with Lee’s camp. After all, they inked him to a six-year contract extension on Wednesday.
3.) DeMarcus Ware. Don’t be concerned with Ware’s transition from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a 4-3 defensive end. He’ll be just fine. Ware has played sparingly during the preseason, but he’s already showing glimpses of how effective he should be in Monte Kiffin’s scheme. Tyron Smith is undoubtedly the Cowboys best offensive lineman and he was having plenty of trouble keeping the 31-year-old away from Tony Romo in team drills. If Ware stays healthy, he’ll make his eighth trip to the Pro Bowl.
4.) Jason Hatcher. It’s critical that the Cowboys have some push up the middle in their new defensive alignment. Hatcher has been the best at providing that. At 6-6, Hatcher is taller than the prototypical defensive tackle in a 4-3 front. But he hasn’t let that prevent him from having a very good camp. Jason Garrett and Monte Kiffin have raved about Hatcher’s ability to adapt to his new role. Although it was in a different scheme, it should be noted that Hatcher, 31, is coming off his best year as a pro, starting all 16 games as a 3-4 defensive end.
5.) Lance Dunbar. Fifth-round draft pick Joseph Randle was projected by many to come into camp and instantly become the team’s No. 2 running back behind DeMarco Murray. But Dunbar had other plans. The former North Texas standout opened camp at the No. 2 spot and did nothing but solidify himself as the Cowboys’ primary backup. At 5-8, 188 pounds, Dunbar seems undersized to have that role. His game-breaking speed, however, was on full display in both the run and passing game, making it difficult for the coaching staff to keep him off the field. A sprained left foot has sidelined Dunbar but expect him to have a regular role in the offense when he returns.
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