Rounding Up Dallas Cowboys' Offseason Buzz, Post-Minicamps
The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their three-day minicamp June 19, their last before flying off to California for training camp. While there are still a whole lot of days until that camp breaks, this past one did provide more than few newsworthy items.
There might not have been any pads or hitting drills this past minicamp, but that doesn't mean some players shined and others looked suspect. One notable veteran didn't even show for the mandatory team activity.
The NFL spotlight is always brightest in Dallas, and the Cowboys made a few headlines during the three days of practices. Let's take a look at the buzz surrounding America's Team after its recent minicamp.
DeMarcus Lawrence Making an Impression
DeMarcus Lawrence is not only an official Dallas Cowboy now, but he's also impressing on the gridiron. The 2014 second-round pick has been battling it out with Tyron Smith in practices, holding his own more often than not.
"I think that's really helped me. He's a great player," Lawrence told Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com, regarding Smith. "Guys like him have seen everything when it comes to moves. So you have to work harder to be better."
Both Eatman and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli have been impressed by the rookie so far, which is good news for a new-look line.
With Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware elsewhere, Lawrence is one of a few names that need to have a big impact upfront for the Dallas defense.
The Cowboys coaching staff will hope that Lawrence can continue to learn from Smith and play a significant role for the unit in 2014.
Kyle Orton Situation Still Not Settled
One Cowboy who was not present at the three-day minicamp was backup quarterback Kyle Orton. The veteran has not attended a team activity the entire offseason and incurred fines for missing this minicamp.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Orton is strongly considering retirement, which would explain his camp no-show.
#Cowboys QB Kyle Orton is not at the facility for minicamp today, I’m told. Apparently he isn’t bluffing as he strongly considers retirement— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 17, 2014
It would be wise of the Cowboys to start preparing for next season as if No. 18 will not be suiting up. Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie are the only remaining veteran quarterback options currently signed.
The Orton saga continues to rage on, and Dallas should expect the worst-case scenario as the outcome.
Bruce Carter Excels on Day 3
ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer was at Day 3 of Dallas' minicamp and detailed a fine showing from linebacker Bruce Carter.
Much is expected of Carter with Sean Lee gone due to an offseason injury. Despite the lack of pads and time of the year, he likely instilled a bit of confidence in his coaches this past week.
According to Archer, Carter covered Jason Witten well on an end-zone route that led to a Weeden incompletion. He later intercepted Weeden on the goal line.
Not a bad day at the office for Carter, who struggled to get comfortable with the Tampa 2, 4-3 scheme Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin brought to Dallas last year.
It will take more than a good day at minicamp from Carter to prove he's not the same player he was in 2013. That being said, it was a good start and a step in the right direction for him.
Fight Breaks out Between Travis Frederick, Tyrone Crawford
On the second day of minicamp, two of Dallas' younger members got into a bit of a scuffle after a play.
Defensive end Tyrone Crawford took exception to the manner in which center Travis Frederick was blocking him, according to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News.
"It's a game man," Crawford told Machota. "I felt disrespected. With me coming off my injury, everybody was trying to disrespect me."
Crawford tore his Achilles tendon during training camp last offseason. The two reportedly were fine by the end of practice.
Fights among teammates are not exactly the kind of aggressiveness coaches want to see out of their players. That being said, it's only June, so there's little reason to read too much into this situation.
This fight could almost be a good thing for Crawford. Based on his comments after the skirmish, it's clear he's still upset he missed all of 2013. The Boise State product showed that he wants to be respected and make an impact for this team.
Crawford needs to channel his aggression into getting to quarterbacks before August ends, and there's little reason to believe he won't do just that. He'll be called upon more than a few times next season even if he doesn't start each game.
Brandon Weeden Looking Comfortable with New Team
With Tony Romo not cleared for practice just yet and Orton still missing, Weeden saw all the first-team reps at this minicamp.
The Cowboys coaching staff has been impressed with the former Brown since he got to Dallas, and this past camp was no different.
"Brandon has done a nice job," head coach Jason Garrett told Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News. "He gets in the huddle and handles himself like an NFL quarterback."
According to Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com, Weeden looked "confident and prepared," when taking first-team reps.
People might have scoffed at the 'Boys signing the former first-rounder, but all news since he came to Dallas has been positive. Considering he's now working with Romo along with former QBs Garrett and Wade Wilson, maybe Weeden's solid work shouldn't be overly surprising.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has a solid support system around him, which could help turn his signing into a solid and cheap one for Big D.