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The time has finally come. As of July 26, 2018, the Dallas Cowboys will begin training camp practices. Of course, that’s not without the usual list of suspensions and possible legal situations.
Not much has been said publicly of Cowboys’ Receiver Terrance Williams after he crashed his car. Not much has been said about David Irving, either. Irving will have to serve yet another four game suspension. Will the Cowboys continue to work with him despite off-field issues?
The same can be asked of Williams. Will the Cowboys put a plan in place to cut and replace the young player? For that matter, can the Cowboys afford to replace a player in whom the Cowboys place high value?
For that matter, have the Cowboys made the necessary moves to improve on defense while others in the NFC East have improved considerably? These are just some of the questions facing the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. In response, here are five reasons that Dallas Cowboys fans can look forward to watching this season:
5) Leighton Vander Esch beefing up Cowboys defense: Leighton Vander Esch was selected 19th overall in the 2018 NFL draft. Due to his size (6ft 4, 256 lbs), and athletic ability, he is more than able to play all three linebacker positions. Vander Esch was a three-year contributor on defense at Boise State. He saw action in 28 games for the Broncos, and he made the most of every one. Vander Esch had 141 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and four QB sacks in 2017 alone. In all, Vander Esch amassed 188 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss (total), three interceptions and five sacks in just three years. Vander Esch will join the likes of newly-reinstated Randy Gregory, Sean Lee, Taco Charlton and more on a seemingly “beefed up”defense. If numbers are any indication, the Cowboys may have found the pass rusher they have been missing for a long time.
4) Competiion at the Tight End position: For the longest time, the Dallas Cowboys have had Hall of Famer Jason Witten leading the way at Tight End. However, after being offered a contract he couldn’t refuse, Jason Witten walked away from his playing days. With Jason Witten walking away, the media seems to have doomed the Cowboys at this position. With the youth movement at hand, there is no reason not to believe that a competition isn’t looming for Rick Gathers, Geoff Swaim and the like. This position is forever changed for the Cowboys but it may surprise people in the end.
3) Ezekiel Elliott returns free of legal trouble: Bo Scarborough and Rod Smith will also bring some much needed pop to the run game. Ezekiel Elliott made an immediate impact on the Dallas Cowboys rush attack the moment he stepped on the field. There are three things that most people noticed about Elliott: When he hits a hole, defensive personnel can blink and miss him. Two, Elliott isn’t afraid to dig deep and carry the load of the running game. Lastly, Elliott will give a team all he has until the game is over. Much like Elliott, Scarborough and Rod Smith bring the same characteristics: speed and poise to get where they need to go without slowing down.
2) Competition at Wide Receiver: As every NFL fan knows, the Dallas Cowboys released big name receiver Dez Bryant. With this move, many in the world of sports believe that the Cowboys have nothing at this position. That assumption could not be further from the truth. For those avid fans of the Cowboys, there are still names such as Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. Should the Cowboys lose Williams, there is plenty of time between now and the season opener to develop chemistry. As always, Beasley brings speed and decent hands – now may be the perfect time to showcase them.
1) Dak Prescott and team chemistry: There may be very little in the way of “big names” for the Cowboys on offense but the players can work through it. With Dez Bryant and Jason Witten being gone, the Cowboys have even more to play for than just wins. They now have to play for, and rely on each other. Dak Prescott now has the freedom to choose a receiver rather than getting barked at for the ball. There will be games where the running game is king. There will also be games where Dak Prescott shines more than others. Fans may finally see what exactly the Cowboys are made of when it’s time to dig deep and win.