Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Storylines

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

The Dallas Cowboys rookies and veterans will be reporting for training camp on July 26th, 2019. There are several positional battles and interesting storylines that most pundits will be keeping a close eye on.

Top Storylines From Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Dak and His New Coordinators

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be coming into the 2019 season with a new offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, as well as a new quarterback coach, Jon Kitna. Both Kitna and Moore should be names that are familiar to most Cowboy fans. The duo were both backup quarterbacks on the team as recently as last season. One of the most exciting training camp storylines will be what Moore’s offensive gameplan is going to resemble.

This will be the first time in five years that the offense will not be under Scott Linehan. Under Linehan, Dallas ranked 22nd in both total offense (343.8 yards a game) and scoring (21.2 points a game). They have often been criticized as an offense that at times stagnated and stuck to the same concepts.

Moore comes in with new concepts and a new offensive gameplan. The early word seems to be that he wants to introduce more before the snap movements to try to confuse opposing defenses. As a southpaw signal-caller for the Boise State Broncos at the turn of the decade, Moore was a trend-setter. Recently, Matt Miller, who was one of Moore’s receivers at Boise State, had this to say about his former quarterback:

“He’d get up in the front of the room, and everyone’s going to be locked into what he’s saying,” Miller said. “He’s so clear and concise with what he’s saying that you’re totally engaged. It’s not what you say, but how you say it, and he has a way of giving you words that simplify things, so it’s, ‘All right, this is the plan. Let’s go execute the best we can.’”

Besides Moore, fellow new coordinator Kitna already has a good relationship with Prescott, and it has generated positive results. According to Kevin Sherrington, sports columnist for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, Prescott seems to be making more of an effort during practices than prior seasons. He enjoys working with Kitna and putting in that extra time under his guidance.

The combination of Moore and Kitna should do nothing but improve this Cowboys offense in 2019. Training camp will give us a better idea of what Moore can do with his trio of young weapons Prescott, Cooper, and Elliot.

Positional Battle for Strong Safety

One of the most interesting positional battles is for starting strong safety. Xavier Woods looks to have the free safety position locked down, but at strong safety, longtime Cowboy Jeff Heath and free-agent acquisition George Iloka are vying for starting snaps. Heath has started all 33 games of his career with Dallas but has yet to leave much of an impression at the position.

Iloka has been in the NFL for the last seven seasons, six of which were spent with the once terrifying Cincinnati Bengals defense. Last year, he was part of the disappointing Minessota Vikings team. Dallas clearly felt like they had a need at the strong safety position paying Iloka a decent salary to join the team. Heath missed 19 tackles in 2018, per Pro Football Focus, the second-most among all safeties.

Ezekiel Elliot Potential Holdout

Reports have recently arisen about star running back Ezekiel Elliott. According to sources, Elliott is privately planning to holdout from all training camp activities until he receives a new deal. The Cowboys are amid a busy off-season, having multiple vital players in need of new contracts. Among the names are Prescott, wide receiver Cooper, corner Byron Jones and of course, Elliott. All were Pro Bowlers a year ago.

The Cowboys have already picked up the fifth-year option of Elliott’s rookie deal, meaning they have him signed through the 2020 season. Elliot is the Cowboys most crucial piece of their offense. Last year, Elliott had an enormous workload with 304 rushes, 77 catches, and over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.

It is no secret that NFL teams have decided to approach the running back salary differently than most positions. Running backs have one of the steepest drop-offs in their careers when they hit “the wall.” Teams are hesitant to tie up big money in the position because once the back begins to decline, they are quickly replaced.

The Cowboys can technically hold off on giving Elliot a new deal to try to get two more solid years out of their back and then reevaluate.

Cowboys COO Stephen Jones recently told reporters:

“We certainly want to get him done. He’s the straw, if you will, that stirs our drink. He’s a key part of what we’re about. They don’t happen overnight. Certainly, he’s a priority in terms of ultimately getting him signed. There hasn’t really been a timetable put on this.”

It doesn’t seem like the Dallas Cowboys are ready to give Elliott the significant contract extension he is hoping for this year. All eyes will be on training camp to see whether he holds out or not. Rumor has it that if he doesn’t get an extension, the holdout could even trickle into the regular season. Something that might remind fans of what Le’Veon Bell did last year.

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