Dallas, TX- The Cowboys will be heading out to Oxnard, California in a mere few weeks to begin putting their 2014 team together. Per usual there will be plenty of exciting position battles to watch. As a fan you always enjoy this time as it gives you a chance to find new names to latch onto and new possibilities to find play-makers.
The Cowboys have a pretty big season ahead of them as not a single coach is signed through 2015, everyone will be coaching for their proverbial livelihoods and every player will have a chance to earn a lot more than the weekly check.
Training Camp is where teams make those unforgettable strides to compete and allow later dreams to come to fruition. Though many media experts will tell you that your Cowboys have no shot, don’t listen to those folks because they have no more or less of an idea than you or I.
For those looking for some reading material on a quiet Sunday, here are a few battles that I’m looking forward to most during Training Camp.
Tyrone Crawford v.s. George Selvie
This is intriguing to me because although Selvie is coming off his best season, you can’t count out Crawford just yet, Crawford has been rehabbing for what seems like an eternity and has already become pretty “salty” a few times during practice. You’ve got everyone left and right talking about how impressed they are with Crawford. Romo said that folks will be flat-out shocked at what he’s capable of. Selvie isn’t going to roll over for no man. Though most folks have Selvie penciled in as the starting LDE, I’m not so sure that’s true yet.
Morris Claiborne v.s. Orlando Scandrick
This is a make-or-break year for Claiborne, there isn’t any way around that in my opinion. He lost his starting gig to Scandrick last year and has yet to live up to lofty expectations the Cowboys had of him. He knows all this, he has heard the criticism and something tells me he’s ready to up the ante if you will. It’s going to be an uphill battle for certain but both of these guys will start this year. I feel as though Scandrick really came into his own last season and liked playing on the outside. Though it might not seem that interesting, Mo v. O will still provide some entertainment for Cowboys’ fans.
Sticking with the defensive backs let’s move on to another cornerback battle that will be interesting for everyone alike.
Tyler Patmon v.s. Sterling Moore v.s. B.W. Webb v.s. Terrance Mitchell
You can’t keep everyone and most certainly one of these guys will not be on the roster. Though there are many options you could work out and one of these rookies could be stashed away on the Practice Squad, yet I feel in my gut that one of them is going to be cut. Moore would be the likely choice as there isn’t much invested in him but he’s been a lot better than Webb in terms of skill and ability. Both Mitchell and Patmon have impressed early which is bad news bears for Webb. This match will be dirty, bloody and has all the makings of a Steel Cage match mentality. Mitchell is making the squad for sure and Kiffin really loves Patmon, Moore is a locker room favorite and Webb needs development. Well he better develop fast.
J.J. Wilcox v.s. Jakar Hamilton
Wilcox is definitely the front-runner here but Broaddus and Cahill seem to think that Hamilton has a chance to win this job in Camp. We shall soon see. Both guys are relentless competitors and each will get the opportunity in Camp to make waves. This is one of the more interesting battles in my opinion due to the importance of the Free Safety. Wilcox had some really bright moments last season and looks to capitalize on those, but Hamilton is coming up in the rear view mirror. A lot of folks like Hamilton and feel as he has a real shot to become a starter but Wilcox has a leg up for sure.
Nick Hayden v.s. Terrell McClain
So many folks have been talking about Terrell McClain that they’ve forgotten about Nick Hayden it seems. Hayden came in and won the starting job last season but may have been pushed aside due to his versatility issues. McClain has shown thus far that he can rush the passer and stop the run. He’s just got a little bit more ability than Hayden but something tells me this one isn’t over folks. Though both may end up making the squad it is possible Hayden could be cut in favor of Ken Bishop or Davon Coleman. Things will be tight for sure, let’s see if Hayden has the fight in him.
Anthony Spencer and Amobi Okoye v.s. Health
I really think this defense is better if these two can contribute. I like what their presence brings to the table but both have had issue with health lately. Though Spencer is scheduled to begin on PUP, he is getting closer to a return every day. Okoye, I’m not so sure about. I think that Okoye could be a great back-up for Melton if he can somehow get healthy. I’m assuming these coaches are hoping so as well. For all the young talent on the team there is a lack of a veteran presence which is essential to the success of the defense in 2014. The health has been an issue for these two but hopefully they can return soon and still be a factor on Sundays.
The main-event should come as no surprise. It is most certainly the most important battle on this list.
DeVonte Holloman v.s. Justin Durant v.s. Rolando McClain
Many of the fans are pulling for Holloman to win this one but it’s going to be close nonetheless. Durant just doesn’t fit the mold of a middle linebacker to me, he’s more suited for the outside. McClain could be a huge factor if his desire is there because of his talent. This battle is going to have every eye glued to it. Sean Lee is irreplaceable, but someone has to step into this role or the Cowboys are going to be in major trouble this year. I root for Durant to prove me wrong. I root for Holloman because he played well and somehow is always making plays. I root for McClain because he’s the underdog with tremendous talent. Either way this is the bread and butter battle that almost everyone has an interest in.
The troubling matter in all this is the massive amount of question-marks that are surrounding this entire unit. We will all have answers rather soon, let’s just hope that they’re all positive.