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Top 24 Storylines for Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Cowboys training camp starts July 27

Dallas Cowboys training camp opens Saturday and NBC 5 Sports will be in Oxnard, California throughout. In the meantime, NBC 5's Pat Doney put together 24 things to watch for when the Cowboys hit the field for the first time this season.

No. 24: The Offensive Line Shuffle

The Dallas Cowboys depart for training camp in Oxnard, California on July 24. NBC 5's Pat Doney is counting down the days with the top 24 storylines the team faces this summer. Up first: the offensive line.

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No. 23: Backup Quarterback

Pat Doney is counting down the days until Dallas Cowboys training camp. Storyline No. 23 is the battle for backup quarterback between Mike White and Cooper Rush.

No. 22: Can Zeke Get Even Better?

As NBC 5's Pat Doney continues to count down the days until Cowboys training camp, he wonders if Ezekiel Elliott can play even better than he already has. It's storyline No. 22.

No. 21: Byron Jones

Byron Jones entering the final year of his rookie contract is Pat Doney's storyline No. 21 to watch during Cowboys training camp. Pro Football Focus rated rated Jones as fifth best cornerback in NFL in 2018, but he could start the season on the physically unable to perform list.

No. 20: Pass Rush

Last season the Cowboys' pass rush, led by Demarcus Lawrence, was solid. This year, the Cowboys think the addition of Robert Quinn can help them improve, and it's Pat Doney's No. 20 storyline of Cowboys training camp.

No. 19: Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard

Defensive backs coach Kris Richard had a big impact on the Cowboys secondary in his first season with the team. What he can do with the unit in his second year is storyline No. 19 to watch at training camp in July.

No. 18: Who's Backing Up Zeke?

Ezekiel Elliott has had more than 1,000 touches in his first three seasons. If he is going to have a long career, that number needs to start to come down, says Pat Doney. Who's behind Zeke is training camp storyline No. 18.

No. 17: 2nd-Round Draft Pick Trysten Hill

After trading their first round pick for Amari Cooper last season, the Cowboys' highest pick in the 2019 NFL Draft was second-rounder Trysten Hill. The defensive tackle from Central Florida has the potential to be a great fit for Rod Marinelli's defense. Hill's development is Cowboys camp storyline No. 17.

No. 16: Linebacker Jaylon Smith

Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith was a contributor in his second professional season, but in his third year he turned into one of the NFL's best. Camp storyline No. 16 is how Smith progresses in a contract year.

No. 15: Kicker Brett Maher's 2nd Season

At the start of training camp in 2018, there was no indication that Dan Bailey's job was on the line -- until Brett Maher showed up. After a rookie year in which he struggled with accuracy on shorter kicks, Maher's improvement is Cowboys' camp storyline No. 15.

No. 14: New Faces at Wide Receiver

Pat Doney says the most improved position on the Cowboys' roster from a year ago at this time is the receiving corps. What Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup can do this season is training camp storyline No. 14.

No. 13: Undrafted Free Agents

Every year fans want to know which undrafted free agent has the best chance to make the Cowboys' roster. Pat Doney says his top pick this year is a cornerback who was also in camp a year ago.

No. 12: Pat's Biggest Training Camp Sleeper

Cowboys training camp storyline No. 12 is Pat Doney's biggest sleeper. The player is a defensive lineman who impressed coaches in the offseason.

No. 11: Michael Gallup in Year 2

Michael Gallup's improvement is Pat Doney's Cowboys training camp storyline No. 11. With a year of the offense under his belt, plus improved weapons around him, Pat thinks Gallup could make a big jump in Year 2.

No. 10: Randall Cobb's Arrival

The addition of receiver Randall Cobb is arguably the Cowboys' biggest roster move of the offseason. Cobb was a playmaker for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for years, and he's training camp storyline No. 10.

No. 9: Kellen Moore as the Offensive Coordinator

Kellen Moore will make the jump from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in 2019. How he transitions to calling plays this season is training camp storyline No 9.

No. 8: Jason Garrett's Job Security

With just two playoff wins to his name since taking over as head coach in November 2010, Jason Garrett could be coaching for his job in 2019. It's Pat Doney's No. 8 storyline for 2019.

No. 7: Demarcus Lawrence Coming off Surgery

Demarcus Lawrence signed a huge contract this summer, and is coming off offseason shoulder surgery. He will likely not be able to practice at the beginning of training camp, so storyline No. 7 is how the defensive end prepares for the regular season.

No. 6: Sean Lee's New Role

Sean Lee is back for another season, but will move to strongside linebacker to allow Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith to play middle and weakside linebacker. Lee's adjustment to his new position is camp storyline No. 6.

No. 5: Travis Frederick's Return

Cowboys center Travis Frederick missed all of 2018 with an autoimmune disease. If he can return to full participation in training camp, Dallas' offensive line will be even better than it was a year ago. Frederick's recovery is storyline No. 5.

No. 4: Dak Prescott's Connection With Amari Cooper

How chemistry further develops between Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper could be key to how Dallas' offense looks in 2019, and it's Cowboys camp storyline No. 4.

No. 3: Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in Year 2

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch burst onto the scene in his rookie season -- how he develops is Cowboys camp storyline No. 3 in Oxnard, California.

No. 2: Jason Witten's Return

If you haven't heard, tight end Jason Witten is coming out of retirement. How the future Hall of Famer transitions from the booth back to the field is Cowboys training camp storyline No. 2.

No. 1: Can Dak Prescott Take the Next Step?

Quarterback is the most important position on the football field -- and maybe even in all of sports. The top storyline heading into Cowboys training camp, according to NBC 5's Pat Doney, is how Dak Prescott performs in his fourth year under center for Dallas.
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