We are still pretty early in the process of putting together the 2012 version of the Dallas Cowboys but there has been a lot of news out of the first week of camp. As you would expect, there is some good and there is some bad to talk about. For the most part the good outweighs the bad.
Good: Barry Church. Everything we are hearing indicates that Barry Church has taken his game to a new level. He is going to start at safety this season unless something goes horribly wrong over the next few weeks.
Bad: Injuries. I don't know if the Cowboys are just more careful than other teams but they have an unbelievably long injury list. Miles Austin leads the list with another hamstring injury. The interior of the offensive line has be decimated by injuries to the point that the team had to pick up two free agents to add depth. Fortunately none of the injuries are season-ending so far. In fact, it appears that everyone will be ready for the start of the season except possibly Mike Jenkins.
Good: Tyron Smith. He has been battling with Demarcus Ware every day in camp. He isn't necessarily winning the battles but he is gaining experience against arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL. You can't ask for more than that out of practice.
Good: DeMarco Murray. He has been working his tail off in camp and looks primed for a big season. My only concern for him is injury.
Bad: The #3 Receiver. No one is stepping up to claim the job. Dwayne Harris is dropping too many passes. Cole Beasley had to be begged to rejoin the team. And Andre Holmes has been inconsistent. Raymond Radway has shown some flashes but he isn't bad to the form he showed last year in training camp before he broke his leg. Kevin Ogletree? I wrote him off a long time ago. Maybe Danny Coale can show something when he finally gets back into action off of his broken foot. It is looking more likely every day that the Cowboys will be picking up a veteran for insurance at receiver.
Good: Middle Linebacker. The Cowboys are loaded in the middle. Bruce Carter has a good grasp of the defense and Sean Lee has taken over as the leader of the defense. Dan Connor has looked good too and is battling Carter for a starting spot.
Good: Lawrence Vickers. This guy sounds like the real deal. He is blowing people up in front of DeMarco Murray and has a great attitude. Hopefully he can help the Cowboys pound the ball into the endzone when they are close to the goal line.
Bad: Felix Jones. He didn't come into camp in good enough shape to pass his conditioning test. That makes me seriously question where his head is this season. Hopefully the test was a blip on the radar but it definitely raises a red flag for me.
Bad: Jay Ratliff. He is only participating in the walkthrough practices. Everyone keeps saying not to worry. Well, I am worried. Plantar fasciitis injuries are hard to get over. Just ask Antonio Gates how hard it is to deal with it.
Good: Dez Bryant. Dez is in full on beast mode. And he needs to be after his fiasco this offseason. He looks ready to finally fulfill his potential this year.
Good: Dan Bailey. I have no concern about the kicker this season.
I could go on and on with the good but I think I hit the high points. My biggest worry right now is the injury bug that has hit the Cowboys during camp. The Cowboys desperately need Miles Austin and the offensive line to get healthy heading into the season.