Cowboys hot routes: Top 5, Bottom 5 at Oxnard training camp

Posted Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Top 5, Bottom 5

The Dallas Cowboys break camp Friday, ending four weeks in Oxnard, Calif. The mornings were hot. The nights were cold. The team tried to get some things done. Here is a quick look at five things that went right and five things that went wrong:

The right

1The center fit in. Rookie Travis Frederick impressed everyone with his smarts and leadership. He is not starry-eyed and earned Tony Romo’s respect. Now to see if he can hold up physically.

2The stars were stars. Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Jason Witten are four of the best players on the team, and they practiced like it. It is hard to pick a winner between Bryant and Ware for best camp hands down.

3A healthy quarterback. Tony Romo came into camp after not practicing in the off-season because of a cyst removed from his back. He didn’t miss a day, and he stayed healthy.

4Finding a backup running back. It wasn’t Joseph Randle, the fifth-round pick. It proved to be Lance Dunbar, the undrafted free agent a year ago out of North Texas. He showed hands and quickness and quickly assumed the second-team snaps.

5The defense is in. The move to the “Tampa 2” 4-3 defense is complete, and the key players who have to understand it — Sean Lee and Bruce Carter — understand it. It goes from there.

The wrong

5Tight end Gavin Escobar fizzled. The second-round pick came in with a reputation as a weak blocker, and he didn’t shake it. He showed good hands as advertised, but he’s well behind James Hanna overall.

4No safety competition. Will Allen was signed as a veteran stabilizer, and Barry Church was penciled in. But the Cowboys hoped at least one young safety might emerge. J.J. Wilcox did briefly before losing a week of camp, and Matt Johnson ended up hurt again.

3No Rat. Jay Ratliff never took a snap of practice in camp. Did he even put on a practice jersey? He is two weeks shy of 32 and recovering from a hamstring injury and hernia surgery.

2Defensive line injuries. Tyrone Crawford went down with an Achilles injury in the first practice. Anthony Spencer had knee surgery. Sean Lissemore is out with a groin injury. And no Ratliff. The Cowboys’ faith in their depth here is about to be tested.

1No guards. Left guards Nate Livings and Ron Leary each needed knee surgery. Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau missed the first week and a half, and reserve Kevin Kowalski was hurt a week and a half in. And, the Cowboys couldn’t land either Brandon Moore or Brian Waters.

Baby week

Tony Romo accepted congratulations Thursday after announcing his wife, Candace, is expecting the couple’s second child. Romo said she is about nine weeks pregnant. The couple’s first child, Hawkins, is 16 months old. Backup quarterback Kyle Orton and his wife, Bridget, also are expecting their second child.

INJURY REPORT

LB Alex Albright, back, 1-2 weeks

WR Cole Beasley, foot, 1 week

CB Morris Claiborne, knee, 1 week

OG/C Ryan Cook, back, day to day

DE Tyrone Crawford, Achilles, out for season

OG Ray Dominguez, shoulder, 1-2 weeks

S Eric Frampton, hamstring, 1-2 weeks

S Matt Johnson, ankle/foot, day to day

OG Kevin Kowalski, knee, 2-4 weeks

OG Ron Leary, knee, 2-4 weeks

DT Sean Lissemore, groin, day to day

OG Nate Livings, knee, 2-4 weeks

DT Jay Ratliff, hamstring, 1-2 weeks

LB Ernie Sims, groin, 1-2 weeks

DE Anthony Spencer, knee, 2-3 weeks

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