The Cowboys have reported to beautiful Oxnard, California for the first half of training camp.
There are no real stories of hold outs, arrests, flashers thus far. So beware the white noise. The nonsense that gets tweets off and drives interactions.
Dallas ended last year as a quality but flawed team.
Dallas enters this year as a quality but flawed team.
Most sites have them as the 8th to 10th best NFL team.
Welcome to adulthood where most of us are quality but flawed people.
Dallas is absolutely NOT a title favorite.
But they are Division favorites and expected to make the playoffs.
It all starts with Dak.
A very underappreciated angle to last season was Dak absolutely torching defenses for passing yards and TDs while coming off of a gruesome injury that prevented a normal off-season or even pre-season then dealing with a couple nagging injuries during the year.
Thus far he has looked phenomenal. And very much on the same page with CeeDee Lamb. He looks lighter and is moving very well. Can he avoid the fumbles he suffered last year? Lots of time spent on his footwork should bode well but that'll be worth watching. Remove Dak's fumbles last year and he is easily a top 5 QB of 2021. With them he falls into that 7-9 range.
Dallas is a very cheap team. They aren't paying anyone real money that is over 25 and anything but a home grown star. Still, the by-product of that can be positive even as it can be annoying to see the Rams collect talent. Rank the best players on this team and Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons, Cee Dee Lamb are gonna come in at the top basically right after Dak. Young players tend to improve and stay healthy or recover faster.
Whew man the media will shovel any nonsense down throats they can. These kickers may or may not ever kick a field goal in a meaningful Dallas game. It's wayyyy early in camp and if you don't have a proven guy you can always go get a retread at cut downs. All that said the insanity of the missed kicks stuff really should be a good lesson about getting the full story. Dallas plays in next to zero wind and a mix of indoor and pseudo indoors stadiums. They had these kickers kick 45, 50. 55 yards into wild winds in a place they had likely never even visited much less kicked before. But why bother providing context when you can tweet how awful they are and trigger the chicken littles???
–Greg Z cost them games. He was going to get every pass and be given the entire year regardless. These kid kickers will get no such pass and they either make or they get replaced. No reason to worry about Kicker. It's simply an unknown that is VERY unlikely to be as bad or worse than last year.
Bill Parcells once said he would never draft a WR round 1 because the world simply provides too many guys with NFL sized bodies. He felt you could get those guys later in the draft every year. As a draftnik for a long time; I think he's right. 75% of the time there's a WR on the best player available list in the NFL draft.
But where I disagree with Bill is this. You need WR1. You need a dog who can be counted upon to win in man situations every time. If/When CeeDee Lamb falls that far even I draft him. But I wouldn't have paid Ced Wilson his money. And I had no major issues with trading Coop for a box of rocks –provided CeeDee is on the roster.
So what should Dallas do? Exactly what they are doing. Keep giving these young guys a chance to flash and get a zillion passes from Dak to CeeDee to lock down their timing. But they should also have a short list of vet WRs in that back pocket.
Based on actual results from last year the place I have real worry is run stuffing. To that end I am glad they signed Barr. Not sure you wanted lightweight LB (Cox) playing heavily behind pass rush style DT in THill and even Osa Odiggy. A little size helps but our DTs have to stop the run. This is an area I'll be watching.
I feel very good here. Safety play has been massively improved under Quinn and Diggs, ABrown and JLew is a good 3-man CB group. Depth is fair with Wright and Joseph. Shout out resigning Jayron Kearse. He is the Fred Warner of our defense. Stops the run, covers a target 1v1 and gets back into coverage. Valuable piece.
I am VERY confident here. Micah, DLaw now Barr gives you a lot of pass rush weaponry with Sam Williams coming in as a young guy to add depth/athleticism. If DAL can stop the rush and get team sin long to go, it'll be fun times.
Tyler Smith has been physically dominant and that's about what I expected. I am sure he'll blow some blitz and stunt stuff and yes he will get a hold call here or there but he is going to flat maul people almost every play. NFCE is kinda awful but they do have good DT groups. Tyler allows the run game to get going again. Also want to see how OC looks. TylerB has had a year of starting to get his feet under him. A bump here really elevates this group.
Zeke/Pollard/Dowdle is a good group. Pollard should get some of those pass game targets DAL lost with Coop/Wilson. Zeke has really worked on his quickness and explosion all off-season. Plus group at worst and could be top 5.
Dan Quinn is a top 3 DC IMHO. I really can't believe we got him back in this role.
Kellen is going to get a head job at some point and will be tough to replace but he is also pretty well known now by DC. What he wants to do is on film. The Dak/Kellen combo will have to adjust to a little more take what we want versus the take what you give us. — (good) Teams know what they give up and know how to disguise it.
Mike …. I think MM has brought some positives with well times motivational stuff and aggressive play calling He's a proven entity and has his own thoughts and is willing to consider each moment and go with his feel and gut. He's given his coaching staff a fair amount of room to coach and make decisions. But he is not a Jerry apologist or rubber stamper. All that said he isn't bringing top-down style change. As with Dak and this team if we are 8-10th best then everyone is 8-10th best including Big Mike.
I think this team is in line for 11-6 and an NFCE championship with round 2 playoff game. It's not sexy and entitled fans will cry endlessly if that occurs with an early playoff loss but it is what they look like on paper and where they seem to fit relative to other teams.
You could see a massive surge in Philly or WAS but it seems unlikely given overall team talent and QB play.
You could also see Dallas advance farther in the playoffs with some growth from the young guys.