Random thoughts as camp start nears

July, 19, 2010
7/19/10
8:09
AM ET
The Cowboys will conduct their first practice Saturday. With that, we give you some random thoughts as we get up off the couch after vacation.

1. There are five draft picks unsigned. Wide receiver Dez Bryant, linebacker Sean Lee, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, cornerback Jamar Wall and defensive end/tackle Josh Price-Brent. Expect Owusu-Ansah, Wall and Price-Brent to be taken care of first. Those players might get minimum base salaries, so the signing bonus is all that needs to be taken care of. Lee and Bryant are the hardest, but I suspect Bryant should come into camp a day or two late.

2. Of all the players coming into camp, linebacker Stephen Hodge (knee) and Owusu-Ansah (shoulder)
could miss the first week of practices. Hodge is still rehabbing from microfracture surgery and Owusu-Ansah is almost there after recovering from his medical issues.

3. Young players we're looking at when training camp starts are safety Barry Church (did well in minicamps), defensive end Marcus Dixon (no more practice squad options), safety Michael Hamlin (club likes him) and receiver Jesse Holley (won Michael Irvin's realty show contest last year).

4. Wide receivers Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd were both irked by the team's decision to draft Bryant in the first round. Crayton and Hurd requested trades but softened their stances just before the veteran minicamp, with Crayton even showing up to the final OTA this spring. Crayton has the best shot to make the roster, though he might not like his role. Hurd gets a spot if some of these younger players can't perform well on special teams, something Hurd is good at. But Hurd wants a bigger role in the offense. For that to happen, he must play better than Kevin Ogletree.

5. Wide receiver Terrell Owens, a former Cowboy, is blaming everyone but himself, it seems, for the reason he's still unsigned. Owens doesn't have the same skills he once had -- in 2006 and 2007 he was still fast and physical. Owens always had trouble getting off the jam and, in recent years, hasn't been consistent in making catches with defenders closing in on him. Is Owens a locker room lawyer? Sometimes. He's still got friends -- good friends -- in the Cowboys locker room, such as Tashard Choice and Marion Barber. Owens is a veteran player who speaks his mind, but it's how Owens goes about his business in public -- like questioning the playcalling, the quarterback etc. -- that rubs people the wrong way.
Calvin Watkins covers the Houston Rockets and the NBA for ESPN.com. He joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as well as colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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