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Cowboys camp roundup: Groundwork begins for 2022 season

The Dallas Cowboys are in Oxnard, CA as training to repeat as NFC East champs has gotten underway in earnest.

DALLAS — Training camp for the Dallas Cowboys has begun and the first official workout is in the books. Although the pads aren’t on yet, the team got their preparation for the 2022 season underway.

Dallas wasn’t dealt any surprises as the summer workouts from California commenced. All players expected to be on the practice field were present. 

An expected missing member on the field was wide receiver Michael Gallup, who is still going through his rehab as he tries to return from his ACL injury suffered in January. Although Gallup wasn’t practicing and was placed on the PUP list to start camp, he was present, continuing his progress to get back as soon as possible.

Here are some other news and notes as training camp kicked off for the Cowboys:

First-round pick Tyler Smith will have to earn his way into a starting job. When the offense lined up for the first snap, it was Connor McGovern at left guard, not Smith.

McGovern got the initial rep, but the rookie split most of the first-team work. Smith has immense potential, but the Cowboys are not going to simply hand him the job. It’s a sign that everything with this team must be earned. No. 1 pick or not, Smith will have to outperform McGovern to become the starter at LG.

Also of note along the offensive line, left tackle Tyron Smith was ready to go and is feeling good. Smith’s availability has been an issue over the last handful of seasons and his health could be one of the keys to the offensive line being a success after some offseason retooling.

Camp has just begun, but it’s important that Smith is without bumps and bruises. Everyone tends to say they’re in the best shape of their lives in July, but the Cowboys need Smith to stay that way.

Meanwhile, quarterback Dak Prescott was spending his first day working through things with his remade receiving group. The first pass of camp went to new No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb to make sure the connection got off to a good start. Prescott and Lamb have played together for two years now, so it makes sense that their familiarity helped on day one. 

The other two new receivers expected to be counted on, veteran James Washington and rookie Jalen Tolbert, had a few bumps in the road. Prescott tried to connect with Washington on a deep pass, but it was just out of the receiver’s reach. Washington also limped off after the play, but is expected to be fine.

Tolbert was the targeted WR on the last pass from Prescott in the two-minute drill, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by cornerback Anthony Brown. 

The first practice of the summer was an exercise in getting to know the new receivers for Prescott so there is expected to be some timing issues and plenty of time to work out the kinks. Camp is an opportunity for the quarterback to get comfortable with his receivers. Expect things to improve with more repetition. 

The Cowboys also decided to improve their overall speed and perhaps enhance their special teams by signing USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin. 

The wide receiver played his college football at TCU, but was kicked off the team due to pleading guilty to a charge of family violence. The organization is taking a chance on Turpin, hoping the issues are in his past.

Turpin brings some much-needed home run type speed to the offense and immediately becomes the best punt returner on the team. The Cowboys will have to make a corresponding move to sign Turpin to the roster, but he’ll join a WR room that is looking for depth. Turpin will have the summer to prove that he belongs in the NFL after shining on the USFL stage.

What do you think is the most important thing for the Cowboys to achieve in training camp? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

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