The Cowboys 2016 Mini Camp got underway Tuesday, making us happy campers. Being that we are analysts and not journalists it gives us an opportunity to produce some fresh content.
We would like to apologize to our subscribers for the recent lack of content, but as you all know, we prefer to post original content here and rather than post for the sake of posting, things slow down for us in the off-season following the draft. We are more concerned with posting quality over quantity.The Cowboys 2016 mini camp has given us an opportunity to put our analytical skills to work for you.
Al Beam: The Cowboys 2016 mini camp is the first mandatory portion of the off-season program. In my mind, every player should be in attendance for everything because it shows they are all about TEAM. Since Tony Romo has been under center, for the Cowboys, for the most part, attendance has been outstanding. If memory serves me correctly, Romo had the most in attendance league wide for the player led workouts during the lock-out. It was around that time he acquired the title “Coach Romo”.
You wont find anyone in the entire NFL more about TEAM than Tony Romo and Jason Witten. Their approach and body of work is always outstanding so I want to take a look at some of the younger guys in this piece. I am mainly concerned with the defense and contend the Jones’ didn’t do enough to address it. I feel the biggest weakness in the Cowboys scouting department is failing to put more emphasis on durability rather than just athletic ability.
The Cowboys made five significant off-season moves for the defense by signing Cedric Thornton and Benson Mayowa in Free Agency, then drafting Jaylon Smith, Charles Tapper and Maleik Collins. Of the five, only two are participating in the Cowboys 2016 mini camp. The disgruntling part is, two of the Cowboys first three draft picks are doing nothing more than eating up salary cap space.
They used the 34th pick in the draft on Jaylon Smith who could very well never play football again and in the very next round drafted Meleik Collins who is also not participating due to an injury he sustained in a no-contact drill. I can see a player sustaining a sprain, a jammed finger, or even a soft tissue injury in that situation, but a broken foot leads me to believe that much like Jaylon Ramsey in Jacksonville, it was a preexisting condition and the medical and scouting staff failed to do their homework. It seems like every damn year high draft picks are injured. These reps are imperative and the players end up way behind the 8 ball. Year after year high draft picks are doing nothing more than taking up a roster spot. I am sorry folks, but that is not how you build a championship team.
To make matters worse, Benson Mayowa is also out injured as the result of no-contact practices. If these guys can’t stay healthy during drills: how in the hell can we expect them to survive in pads? Factor in Lawrence and Gregory facing suspensions and Rolando McClain missing all of the OTA’s, the Cowboys approach to the 2016 season has been unacceptable. Once again, the defense suffers at the hands of piss-poor management. McClain is behind the 8 ball and out of shape so he is not participating in the competition phase of the Cowboys 2016 mini camp. I see no one on the roster who is a legitimate starting caliber Mike LB. If McClain gets injured in camp because he missed the off-season program: who will be the signal caller on defense? I Digress.
The Cowboys failed to add a solid starting quality CB and once again signed a couple of guys who couldn’t make it on numerous other teams. While watching the mini camp practices I couldn’t help but notice how easily Tony Romo and Kellen Moore were able to pick apart the defense. It appeared as though they were moving the ball at will at times. Morris Claiborne has once again sustained an injury which has been a recurring problem ever since the Jones’ sold the farm to trade up and get him. I can’t remember the last time the Cowboys didn’t have injury issues among the top 3 draft picks.
The only positives I saw on defense was solid improvement from Jeff Heath and Charles Tapper adjusting quickly to his new position. Cedric Thornton appears to be out of shape and still struggles with snap anticipation. I am hoping to attend training camp again this year which will allow me to get a look at these guys in pads. It is near impossible for me to properly evaluate them in no-contact drills. My current opinion is this defense is in trouble depth wise. Especially if one of the starting CB’s goes down.
Cas: I won the toss which allowed me to choose covering the offense. You should be happy to hear that I have a lot better news for you than Al had. This is a solid group of guys. It is obvious to me that the Jones’ continue to invest the majority of their resources in to the offense. It thrills me to hear that they hired a new director of college scouting because obviously the old one didn’t have a clue how to determine the difference between football players and athletes. As Al stated above, numerous high draft picks have been wasted on athletes who lacked the durability to be NFL football players.
The biggest controversy this off-season has been the backup quarterback position. It blows my mind how the majority of the dallascowboys.com staff looks for any way they can find to take shots at Kellen Moore. Maybe they should cover the Redskins or Eagles? It is my belief that they don’t want me to be right about him. Or maybe they don’t want to endure the repercussions from the fans when they are proven wrong?
I had a little debate with Nick Eatmon recently and maybe I came at him a little too hard, But, at least I can see he is looking at things objectively now that he has seen Kellen play more. While the others continue to take shots at him, Nick is understanding what we saw in Moore all along. I respect that. In our business we are all wrong at times, the problem is, too many times writers want to continue to pick out the faults and fail to mention the positives because they don’t want to admit they may have been wrong. Hats off to Nick Eatmon for doing what any objective sports writer should be doing. That being said, I decided to include what the fans are saying.