When Jason Garrett speaks, rarely does he give the fans any real knowledge about what’s going on with the Dallas Cowboys (unless he’s cleaning up a Jerry Jones mess). Instead he chooses to talk about “The Process” for the Cowboys and ways they are hoping to get better.
Lost in all the bore of Garrett’s words, however, is something he preaches on a daily basis, competition. Garrett constantly talks about the competition on the Cowboys roster and letting it dictate who’s going to play. And in case you’ve missed it, much to Garrett’s delight, there is competition throughout the Cowboys roster; today we’ll focus on the offense
Obviously we know who the Cowboys quarterback will be heading into 2013 and that is a good thing because if there’s one place you don’t want competition, it’s at the QB spot. As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks you really have none. However, verywhere else there is going to be a battle for playing time. DeMarco Murray will be the starting running back but all reports are that Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner have looked great this offseason so they might be competing for carries, and maybe even a roster spot.
Dallas also drafted Joseph Randle to backup Murray but he hasn’t been through the offseason practices because of a thumb injury so there’s no guarantee he’ll be the main guy behind Murray. The Cowboys will have three talented backs fighting for carries and a spot on the roster when training camp comes around.
The same thing can be said for the wide receiver and tight end positions. Dallas is set with their startering receivers being Dez Bryant and Miles Austin but there is plenty of competition for the third receiver spot. In today’s NFL, the third wide receiver sees a ton of playing time and the Cowboys will have rookie Terrance Williams battling it out with Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley for playing time.
At tight end, Dallas has second-year pro James Hanna trying to hold off Gavin Escobar for reps as the second tight on the field in the Cowboys two tight end sets. Hanna showed great promise down the stretch last season and the Cowboys still drafted Escobar in the second round. They will be in competition all summer long to find out who will be the main second tight end for the Cowboys.
Dallas also brought in veteran Dante Rosario to compete with them, and to compete with Lawrence Vickers, for a possible roster spot. Again, no one’s job appears safe and it’s about getting the best players on the field.
Of course, then comes the Cowboys offensive line, where will there be greater competition this training camp. The Cowboys are set at left tackle with Tyron Smith but the rest of the positions along the line are up for grabs. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings were the starters last year but soreness and surgeries have limited their work this offseason, allowing Ronald Leary, David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski to get plenty of looks as starting guards. Leary in particular is primed to take one of the starting guard spots for the Cowboys.
Then there’s the Doug Free/Jeremy Parnell battle at right tackle. I don’t care how well the split time worked last year, the Cowboys should not be rotating their right tackle this season. They need one player to win the job and keep it for the year, unless injury forces the Cowboys hand.
There’s even competition at the center spot where it looks as though Travis Frederick will be the starting center, however, former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus reports that Phil Costa has done a better job in his technique than Frederick has done at times. It doesn’t mean Costa will start at center in 2013 because the Cowboys drafted Frederick to start at that position but as I mentioned the a few weeks ago, it isn’t a stretch to say that both Costa and Frederick could start. If the Cowboys find out in training camp that they need better guard play, don’t be surprised to see Costa, or more likely Frederick, starting at guard while the other player starts at center.
As you can see almost every position on the roster has competition in some form. Jason Garrett and the Cowboys have made it clear that they wanted more competition and better depth throughout the roster and that’s exactly what they’ve gotten. There shouldn’t be any more entitlement from the Cowboys players and they will have to earn their playing time or roster spot in Dallas.
All of the NFL is a competition and the battles from within should make the Dallas Cowboys a better team in 2013.