As training camp approach for the Dallas Cowboys, the franchise has some interesting decisions to make regarding its starting lineup.
With Dak Prescott Returning shortly after his ankle injury last season, the Cowboys are hoping to return to the knockout stages for the first time since 2018. Training camp will offer the biggest opportunity for any contender. to win the remaining starting spots.
Three position battles to watch in Cowboy training camp
Start tight end: Blake Jarwin compare to Dalton Schultz
This is an interesting one, as Dallas put a lot of faith in Blake Jarwin prior to signing a 2020 contract extension, raking him in close to $9 million a year.
However, luck was not on his side as he tore through the ACL net in Week 1 and was replaced by Schultz, who made the most of the opportunity and scored 63 receptions, the most ever. now by a tight finish by the Cowboys in the regular season.
Now healthy, Jarwin has a lot of work to do to get back the job he started from Schultz, who has a year left on his contract and hopes to cash in on the upcoming freelance agency. It’s a good deal when both are talented, but it’s still a tough decision.
Starting Midfielder: Leighton Vander Esch vs. Micah Parsons/Jaylon Smith compare to Keanu Neal
Remember when everyone was jealous of Dallas’ starting midfield duo? Those times are now gone after a bad season for both Vander Esch and Smith in 2020.
Dan Quinn, the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator, should have no problem going up against Vander Esch or Smith. He has known Keanu Neal since they were with the Atlanta Falcons and Micah Parsons was impressed in his first practice with the team.
Neal has moved from safety to full-time full-back and, in a Quinn defense that uses a lot of nickel, he will be a valuable asset when it comes through. Smith is also a good player, but after the below-average 2020 season, he has a lot of work to do to maintain his starting job.
At central defender, Parsons is the favorite to start, but Vander Esch certainly won’t let it be easy. Don’t forget that he received the second-team All-Pro title in 2018 as a rookie. Also, since the Cowboys turned down his fifth-year option, Vander Esch will be a free agent after this season, and we all know how the players improve over the five contract years.
Start running again: Ezekiel Elliott compare to Tony Pollard
Now it gets interesting. It’s easy to think Zeke will be the Cowboys starter in week 1, and let’s face it, he probably will. But without a doubt, Pollard came back better than last season.
The Cowboys don’t have much of a choice as to what to do with Elliott’s contract because they will face piles of dead money if they cut him off. Pollard is cheaper, runs fresher again with less mileage, while Zeke seems less explosive than in his early years in the league.
If Pollard knocks Elliott out of camp again, the coaching staff will have an interesting decision to make regarding the offense: to play better or most expensive player?