The Dallas Cowboys start their OTAs today and there are some things we can start discovering about this team. While the OTAs don’t have hitting or tackling, it does start to shed some light on the direction of the team. While there are some storylines I am sure many will be looking for there are some that aren’t as clear. Here are some things to watch for over the OTAs:
1. Back-up QB – Tony Romo will not be throwing at the OTAs, and while I am sure Orton will be there it is unclear whether he will play again. This will give time to Brandon Weeden, Caleb Hanie, and Dustin Vaughn to throw more. This of course is the one big attention getter.
2. OL positions – Will Zack Martin be the starting guard or will he have to beat out Makenzy Bernadeau? I think that Martin will be the starter this year, but watching this will give an idea what will happen to players like Jeremy Parnell and Darrion Weems.
3. RB Position – While there is no hitting and it will be hard to see what J.C. Copeland can really do as a FB, there are still some backups that need to impress. Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams, and Ben Molina will all be fighting for the 3rd RB position. If the Cowboys go with a FB this year it tightens the race.
4. Injuries – Now that the players can get on the field, it is time to see how they did in offseason workouts. If there is still a rash of hamstring injuries it could be a sign of things to come. The other question is how some of the players have recovered from surgery or other injuries. Keep an eye on Sean Lee.
5. What about the waves? – Now that Rob Marinelli is the DC it will be interesting to see how and where he lines up his defensive front. Watching the rotation and how players are set up could show how the idea of the waves will be used and where people will be used.
6. Special Teams – There is more than just the battle at punter here. The Cowboys decided to bring in a long snapper, which is either meant to push L.P. Ladouceur or is a sign he might retire in a year. It is also a good time to start seeing who the returners will be. Many of the rookies have to impress here to make the team.
7. Safety – While the Cowboys have said all along they are happy with the safety position it will be interesting who is starting and who is fighting for a position. Matt Johnson is the team favorite, however J.J. Wilcox and the players on the chart behind him are fighting for playing time. Jakar Hamilton, Ryan Smith, and Ahmad Dixon will be looking to unseat Wilcox, Johnson, and Heath.
8. Wide Receiver – There are some rookies like L”Damian Washington and Devin Street who will be fighting for roster spots. Who will be the number 2, 3, and 4 WRs? The team could also keep 5 and maybe one on the practice squad. I would also think if one of them impresses in kick returns they will make the team.
So there are just some of the things to keep an eye on at today’s OTAs. Over the next few months the picture will become more clear as to who has a chance to make the team and who doesn’t. The status of Orton will certainly be one to follow, but the other stories are no less important to how the Dallas Cowboys will look this year.