As coaching camp approaches for the Dallas Cowboys, the franchise has some fascinating choices to make relating to its beginning lineup.
With Dak Prescott again within the fold after his ankle damage final season, the Cowboys hope to return to the playoffs for the primary time since 2018. Coaching camp will current the largest alternative for any contender to seize the remaining beginning spots out there.
Three place battles to look at throughout the Cowboys coaching camp
Beginning tight finish: Blake Jarwin vs. Dalton Schultz
That is an fascinating one, as Dallas put a variety of religion in Blake Jarwin earlier than the 2020 signing to a contract extension that netted him virtually $9M per yr.
Luck wasn’t by his aspect, nonetheless, as he tore his ACL in Week 1 and was changed by Schultz, who made the many of the alternative and amassed 63 receptions, most ever by a Cowboys tight finish within the common season.
Now wholesome, Jarwin has a variety of work to do to take again the beginning job from Schultz, who’s in a contract yr and hopes to money in on the upcoming free company. It is a good drawback to have since each are gifted, however it’s nonetheless a troublesome choice.
Beginning linebackers: Leighton Vander Esch vs. Micah Parsons/Jaylon Smith vs. Keanu Neal
Bear in mind when all people was envious of Dallas’ beginning linebacker duo? These occasions are gone now after an terrible season for each Vander Esch and Smith in 2020.
Dan Quinn, the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator, may have no issues benching Vander Esch or Smith. He has recognized Keanu Neal since they have been along with the Atlanta Falcons and Micah Parsons has been spectacular in his first exercises with the crew.
Neal has moved from security to linebacker full time and, in a Quinn protection that makes use of a variety of nickel personnel, he’ll be a precious asset on passing downs. Smith is an effective participant as nicely, however after a below-average 2020 season, he is acquired a variety of work to do to maintain his beginning job.
Within the center linebacker spot, Parsons is the favourite to land the beginning job, however Vander Esch certainly will not let it go simply. Let’s not neglect he acquired second-team All-Professional honors in 2018 as a rookie. Additionally, for the reason that Cowboys declined his fifth-year choice, Vander Esch will probably be a free agent after this season, and everyone knows how gamers enhance on contract years.
Beginning operating again: Ezekiel Elliott vs. Tony Pollard
Now it is getting fascinating. It is simple to assume Zeke would be the Cowboys starter in week 1, and, let’s face it, he in all probability will. However Pollard was the higher again final season undoubtedly.
The Cowboys do not have a variety of choices about what to do with Elliott’s contract as a result of they’re going to face a ton of useless cash in the event that they minimize him. Pollard is the cheaper, brisker operating again with much less mileage and, whereas Zeke appeared much less explosive from his first years within the league.
If Pollard outplays Elliott in camp as soon as once more, the teaching employees may have an fascinating choice to make relating to the offense: play the higher participant or the most costly one?