CANTON, Ohio -- The Dallas Cowboys have had six padded practices, so what better time to bring you the first edition of Five Wonders, training camp style.
OK, the numbers don’t mean anything, but there has been plenty to wonder about after seeing the Cowboys in camp in the closest thing to football we’ve seen since their playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers in January.
Away we go:
I wonder if the Cowboys will keep three quarterbacks. In my initial 53-man roster projections, I toyed with the idea of keeping Zac Dysert and opted against it. The Cowboys guaranteed newly-acquired Luke McCown $250,000 on his one-year deal with an $80,000 signing bonus and $170,000 of his $1 million base salary guaranteed. Is that enough to make him more than just a camp arm? Potentially, but it’s not such a large guarantee that it would hurt the Cowboys’ cap situation. Remember, they ditched Jasper Brinkley a few years ago and he was guaranteed $2 million. But here’s what I wonder: Is McCown insurance should something happen to Dak Prescott or Kellen Moore early in the season? Two years ago, the Cowboys traded for Matt Cassel and that deal didn’t work with Tony Romo’s absence. McCown will get enough work in the preseason to get familiar with the scheme and will be a phone call away if he doesn’t make the final roster.
I should have wondered this back in the spring, but I’m not that bright. Sometimes when you wonder things, you ask questions. The other day I asked coach Jason Garrett if the Cowboys’ decision to move La’el Collins to right tackle in the spring had anything to do with Chaz Green’s inability to stay healthy. Garrett’s answer? “Not necessarily,” he said. That’s it. In being around Garrett since 2007, you can tell when he doesn’t want to give away anything. This was one of those times. Green suffered a shoulder injury this week and will miss a couple of weeks. Had the Cowboys given Green the best chance to be the right tackle in April, May and June, they would be in a little bit of a pickle.
I wonder if the Cowboys will keep six receivers. We know Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Brice Butler. Ryan Switzer’s hamstring injury shouldn’t affect his roster status, but the Cowboys appear to have a good problem with how sixth-rounder Noah Brown and second-year man Andy Jones have performed. I can’t see the Cowboys keeping seven receivers. Six is doable, but maybe not preferable. Brown and Jones have made a lot of plays. Jones, undrafted a year ago, has really come on as of late. Both players can compete on special teams. How they perform in the preseason games will go a long way in figuring out five or six receivers.
Is it too early to wonder if the Cowboys will be looking at pass-rushers when the cuts start rolling in? Of course not. The suspensions of David Irving and Damontre Moore will sap the team of depth early in the season. The Cowboys won’t be able to add a known commodity as a pass-rusher later this summer, but could they find a team that needs a running back? Alfred Morris is a good back. He just won’t get the best of chances with the Cowboys. If Ezekiel Elliott is not punished by the league, then Morris will be on the bubble (if he isn’t already). Perhaps a mystery team with a running back need would have a down-the-line defensive end in which a swap of players makes sense.
There is nothing not to like about the Cowboys’ setup in Oxnard, California. Having the hotel rooms right next to the practice fields is a major convenience. The weather is great. Bill Parcells wondered why the Cowboys ever would have left the place when they first went to California on his watch in 2004. The Cowboys and Oxnard recently agreed on a two-year extension, so there’s no hurry to find a new training camp home. But I wonder if the Cowboys would look to San Diego as a possible summer home. The Chargers have left town, but their old facility remains. The weather is just as good. The facility is quality. And the team might be able to capitalize on the San Diego market with two teams now in Los Angeles. For Jerry Jones, it would stir memories of his bid way back in the day to buy the Chargers when they were in the AFL. Do I think it would happen? Probably not, but that’s why we wonder things.