There was still breaking news and reports over the weekend, so we’re here to keep you updated on anything you may have missed. Here are the biggest storylines from a busy weekend in Oxnard, California:
Rookie Matt Waletzko suffers training camp injury
Late last week, Waletzko injured his shoulder and sat out of practice. Mike McCarthy noted that more testing will be done to learn the severity of the injury, and the team should know more early this week.
The 6’7, 315-pound lineman was a fifth-round draft pick out of North Dakota, where he was an offensive tackle. Waletzko had an impressive 2021 season, but he really caught the eye of scouts when he performed well in the Senior Bowl.
Waletzko was in competition with Josh Ball, Aviante Collins and Amon Simon to earn the top spot as a swing tackle. Even though Waletzko wasn’t slated to start his rookie season, losing depth is never a good thing. If he misses significant time, it could also stunt his development as a pro.
Kicking competition appears tighter than anticipated
Competition between players during training camp is always a good thing. When a starting job is on the line, all players fighting for it step up their game and work harder than ever. One exception to this rule is the kicker; you normally want one player in there who you know can get the job done.
The Cowboys thought they had just that in Jonathan Garibay, who signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent this offseason. Garibay had an impressive 2021 season at Texas Tech, where he went 15/16 on field goals, nailed the longest field goal in FBS (62 yards) and made the first team All-Big 12.
Through OTAs and minicamp, Garibay was the only kicker on the Cowboys roster, and he performed well. But Dallas signed another kicker before training camp started, and since the team reported to Oxnard last week, Garibay’s play has declined.
Lirim Hajrullahu signed with the Cowboys in early July and fans should recognize the name because he filled in for Greg Zuerlein against the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 when Zuerlein landed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Hajrullahu, 32, has both NFL experience and CFL experience under his belt. The Kosovo-native was a two-time All-Star in the CFL and a Grey Cup champion.
This makes for an interesting competition, considering how different the player’s backgrounds are. Time will tell how things unfold through training camp and into the preseason.
Linebacker Takk McKinley visited Cowboys camp on Saturday
McKinley is known for his pass rushing prowess. In five pro seasons, he’s totaled 20 sacks. But 13 of those sacks came in his first two seasons, and his stats have steadily declined since then.
McKinley is coming off a torn Achilles that sidelined him in 2021. If Dallas is interested in signing the former UCLA Bruin, they could have competition. Reportedly, McKinley has other training camp tours scheduled with the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals and possibly more teams.
Dan Quinn has proven he can coach players into career seasons under his tutelage, and that could be a draw for McKinley. If he signs for one season in Big D and plays well, it could land him a larger contract going into the 2023 season.
Quinn was also McKinley’s head coach from 2017-2020, when the pair were together on the Falcons.