Goose: Cowboys questions linger

by Dan M | Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
[ This is the Ticket’s weekly contribution, usually found in the pages of The Sports Page Weekly magazine. ]
Norm: Can you glean anything from the first week of camp?
Goose: No until they start hitting, and I’ve been there for two days of hitting and there was very little hitting going on. You don’t see the hitting like you once saw in training camp. You never see teams tackle players to the ground anymore. It’s tough to get a read until you actually see them hitting each other and that really comes in the exhibition season but we will see really little of that. You will see the starters for a quarter here and a quarter there. Its going to be though to get a real good barometer on this team. What we do have to keep an eye on is the injury list. How many players they lose going into the season. This is a team that cannot afford many injuries and they have already taken one pretty good hit.
Norm: If its tough for us isn’t it tough for coaches because sometimes only the game at very high speed unveils a certain level of performance.
Goose: Yeah that’s the tough thing because there’s that feeling now that you don’t want to get your players hurt. You don’t want to expose them to contact so in practices you limit them and I think that’s a big part of why there are so many injuries every September. A lot of these players are not game ready and they get game ready in the end of September so players get hurt during that month.
Norm: This league has changed a lot hasn’t it? There used to be an off-season and there is very little any more. Camp used to be a proving grounds in a lot of ways and in a lot of ways it’s not that proving ground any more.
Goose: You and I go back to when training camp was getting back to shape. Now players are expected to arrive in shape and they are embarrassed if they fail the conditioning test. We have seen that a few times with the Cowboys. Those guys can’t pass those tests.
Norm: Did anybody catch your eye?
Goose: JJ Wilcox, Lance Dunbar, and obviously Dez Bryant. Dez Bryant, he could be a monster this year. He will be a high fantasy pick.
Norm: Wilcox is interesting. He’s raw as just killed meat, and he’s only been playing safety for a year. That job is open isn’t it?
Goose: I think both safety jobs could be open.  You want to put the two best players out there. Church is coming back from an injury, Will Allen has never played on this team. Those are your penciled in starters right now. I think they like what they see. There a lot of good young safeties. Matt Johnson, Wilcox, Jeff Heath, an undrafted kid has played well. I think if you want to put your two best players on the field I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those guys was on there. Now, that said, Wilcox played one year of safety at Georgia Southern. It is a huge step from playing Saturdays at Georgia Southern and playing Sundays against the Giants and the Green Bay Packers. I think he has to figure out the speed of the game. There are three speeds in the NFL. Preseason, regular, and post. JJ Wilcox will not see the real speed this month. He won’t see that until he gets into the game. I would be shocked if he was the opening day starter.  I could see him starting at some point much later in the season or even next year. I think he has got excellent skills. I think potentially a pro bowl player down the road based on his athleticism but it would be a big step for him to be starting.

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