Cowboys: Top three training camp goals, top battle

Cowboys defensive tackle Maliek Collins is expected to limited when camp opens.Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

By Chad Conine, The Sports Xchange
Looking at Cowboys' priorities

  • Find a defensive tackle. With Maliek Collins expected to be slowed at the start of camp because of offseason foot surgery and David Irving out the first four games of the season due to an NFL suspension, the defensive tackle position is a focal point of training camp. The Cowboys must find some capable bodies to hold down the fort until Collins and Irving are ready. Jihad Ward, Brian Price and Richard Ash are the primary contenders. The Cowboys are excited about the potential of Ward who came over in a trade from the Oakland Raiders where he played out of position in their 3-4 defense. The Cowboys believe Ward has the chance to develop quickly in the Cowboys' 4-3 scheme.

  • Trade for Earl Thomas. The Pro Bowl safety plans to hold out from training camp with the Seattle Seahawks if he doesn't get a new contract or get traded. He is interested in joining the Cowboys and the interest is mutual. This could happen during camp or before the start of the season. Secondary coach Kris Richard came to Dallas in the offseason after serving as the defensive coordinator in Seattle. He envisions Thomas becoming the quarterback of the Cowboys defense. Per a source, Thomas would already be with the Cowboys if a contract extension was the only obstacle. It's a matter of finding an agreeable trade with the Seahawks, whose demands so far have been too high.

  • Get Dak Prescott on the same page with his receivers. Prescott was criticized the past couple of years for not developing any chemistry with the departed Dez Bryant. He has worked hard in the offseason to get on the same page with his new receivers on the Cowboys, especially free-agent additions Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson and rookie third-round pick Michael Gallup. They spent time in Orlando working out before camp. But the real work will take place in training camp.

Cowboys' top summer battle

  • No. 2 wide receiver. Free-agent addition Allen Hurns will likely slide into Dez Bryant's spot in the starting lineup and Cole Beasley will remain the slot receiver. So the big question is whether Terrance Williams can hold off rookie Michael Gallup for the No. 2 spot. Williams has been a disappointment and is coming off offseason foot surgery as well as an embarrassing car accident and public intoxication charge. Gallup was considered a big-time steal in the third round who could develop into a No. 1 receiver. He will be a real threat to Williams.
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