Tweaks to the coaching staff for the Dallas Cowboys should have an interesting effect on the roster. Which positions are up for grabs?
Backup QB: Caleb Hanie vs. Brandon Weeden
Kyle Orton is a no-show and according to multiple accounts might be leaning towards retirement with the Dallas Cowboys. That means the upcoming training camp and preseason will be a battleground for the backup job behind Tony Romo. Brandon Weeden was brought in as a reclamation project from Cleveland while Caleb Hanie brings backup experience from several different teams, most notably Chicago. It is very important that Dallas gets this right considering the health concerns surrounding Romo.
Defensive End: Anthony Spencer vs. Demarcus Lawrence
Jerry Jones and the front office gave up a lot in order to trade up in the draft to nab Boise State pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. He enters camp as at defensive end where he will compete with veteran and former Pro Bowler Anthony Spencer. It should be noted that Lawrence has a considerable advantage in this situation since Spencer underwent microfracture surgery to repair his left knee. That could land him on the PUP list, giving the rookie a chance to cement the starting job without much of a fight.
Strong Safety: J.J. Wilcox vs. Ahmad Dixon
Hopes remain very high among the Dallas Cowboys that strong safety J.J. Wilcox will take a big step forward in 2014. The 3rd round pick from last year struggled often for the team last season and clearly didn’t inspire confidence in the masses. However it seems he’s their best and only option. Or not. Much of that depends on an overlooked 7th round pick in Ahmad Dixon. While raw and unpolished in several areas, the Baylor safety brings an athleticism and speed that starters possess. If he can grasp the playbook quickly enough, Wilcox won’t have an easy time of it.
Cornerback: Morris Claiborne vs. Orlando Scandrick
This is perhaps the most up-in-the-air roster battle Dallas has. On the one side is talented but murky former 1st round pick Morris Claiborne who battled injuries in 2013 squaring off against veteran Orlando Scandrick who was probably the best corner on the team last season. Granted that isn’t saying much but this is a battle that will be telling. The hope is that the light will go on for Claiborne so the team might be able to move Scandrick inside to the slot, giving the Cowboys a much more stable secondary. However, if he can’t then it almost seems inevitable to call him a bust.