The regular season is a few days away, but questions remain about the Cowboys. The team that is expected to compete for the title of another division has some unresolved issues that may prevent the team from reaching its potential this season.
Giving some time to review the tape from each of the Cowboys’ pre-season games, I’ve come up with a set of questions that must be addressed early in the season to keep the team’s hopes alive. Here are five questions to consider:
Is Tyler Smith a franchise handler?
If an offensive tackle is selected in the first round, the team expects him to develop into an excellent player with the potential to cement his position in the next decade. Smith was expected to serve as apprentice to Tyrone Smith while spending his rookie campaign in the left guard. However, an injury to the All-Pro tackle forced the Cowboys to abandon their plans and bring the Novice into the parachute position in the attack. How far junior prices can determine whether the Cowboys are able to claim back-to-back top-flight titles and emerge as a successful title contender this season.
How long does Jason Peters stay in the tank?
It would have made sense for the Cowboys to add a Hall of Fame offensive tackle to the coaching staff as an insurance policy against Smith’s injury, but it’s hard to imagine a 40-year-old with an extensive injury history playing at a high level. At this point in his career. Although Peters started 15 games in 2021 with the Bears, Pro Bowler’s time has not played well as a blind-side protector and it’s hard to imagine him making major improvements as a player. However, the veteran’s knowledge and wisdom can make him a valuable asset to the team as mentor to Tyler Smith. As an accomplished edge blocker seen as one of the best offensive tackles of the 2000s, he can offer to teach the youngster the nuances of playing the center in training and in the movie room.
The decision to replace four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper lifted CeeDee Lamb to the first round, but there are still questions about which Cowboys will serve as his assistant in the passing game. Although Michael Gallup is the natural choice based on his previous production as WR2/WR3, the veteran is back in action after a season-ending knee injury that could alter his playing style or require some time to acclimatize when he returns to the squad. The uncertainty has put pressure on a group of unannounced fans to step up their matches until No. 13 is ready to reclaim his role as a primary playmaker. With Jalen Tolbert, Noah Brown and Simi Fehoko vying for playtime, it could take a few matches to settle the ocean flick standings if Gallup isn’t ready to go early in the season.
Can Mike McCarthy get rid of penalty problems?
The Cowboys’ mistakes and blunders undermined their 2021 season. The team not only led the league on penalties (141) but the combination of sloppy play and poor situational awareness cost the Cowboys dearly at crucial moments. Despite promises to tackle the problem in the off-season, the team continued to struggle with penalties throughout the run-up, particularly in a pre-season game against the Broncos that featured 17 penalty kicks against the Cowboys. With neglect and a lack of awareness of the situation continuing to emerge in the pre-season, coaching staff must find a way to limit errors in practice to reduce the number of infractions that occur on match day. While talking about it won’t completely eliminate problems, Cowboys need to learn how to avoid penalties by hiring officials in practice and pointing out every infraction that occurs on the field during a walk, training or game. By playing with the details at every turn, the cowboy might be able to clean up some negligence
How will Dan Quinn turn defense into a top 5 unit?
The former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons turned defense into a spinning machine in his first season as a defensive coordinator. The defense led the league’s takeaways by emphasizing ball drills, punches, shooting sessions and score that helped reinforce the “get rid of it” mentality that emerged on match day. The Cowboys passed the ball as they pleased, and their tendency to create turn camouflaged some unit deficiencies (dash defense and deep coverage) that proved costly in the post-season. With Quinn committed to simplifying his game plan and contact papers to help star defenders play “fast and for free” at all times, the Cowboys’ renewed commitment to basics could help the defense play a stifling defense in 2022. If Micah Parsons and Travon Diggs can drive a dynamic defense Capable of winning essence over buzzers, the Cowboys have enough talent (see: Anthony Barr, Dante Fowler, Sam Williams) to wreak havoc in the line of scrimmage. Given how chaos and turmoil can affect the quarterback inside the pocket, transitions can flow again as the Cowboys demand a variety of second-tier pressures designed to put the best playmakers in a position to chase the ball.