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Can't Miss Slants

Know Your Enemy: Dallas Cowboys

KYE series wraps up the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys won the East last season under Mike McCarthy with a 12-5 record (5-3 home and 7-2 away). Dan Quinn returns after a really good defensive year for the Cowboys. Kellen Moore remains at OC under McCarthy. Dallas will be a tough team again in 2022.

Strengths

QB

Dak Prescott returned from an injured 2020 season and performed well.  Prescott notched a 104.2 QB rating 4,449 yards with 37 TDs and 10 interceptions. He is a difference maker for the Cowboys and will be again in 2022.

Run Game and Pass Protection

The Cowboys have a strong 1-2 punch with Ezekiel Elliot (1,002 yards at 4.2 YPC, 10 TDs) and Tony Pollard (5.5 YPC 719 yards and 2 TDs). Dallas revamped their offensive line some from their best years, but Tyron Smith and Zach Martin are still studs at LT and RG, respectively.  Tyler Biadasz was an average center as a rookie in 2021 and should improve. Terrence Steele stepped up at RT in 2021 but was average as well replacing La’el Collins. Dallas drafted Tyler Smith in Round 1 to play LG replacing Connor Williams who left in free agency. Dallas lacks offensive line depth other than G Connor McGovern, so the Cowboys coaches hope there are no injuries at tackle. Should be enough protection and run support for Dak though.

Weapons

Amari Cooper was traded but Ceedee Lamb had a very nice 2021 season (1,102 yards and 6 TDs). Lamb is the new number 1 and Michael Gallup was re-signed to be the number 2 WR. Dalton Schulz returns at TE on the franchise tag after 808 yards and 8 TDs in 2021. James Washington looks to revive his career after a failed 2nd round pick with Pittsburgh. Jalen Tolbert was drafted in Round 3 out of South Alabama and Noah Brown is a decent backup slot man. Dallas has the run game and firepower for Dak. They can flirt with 30 PPG again scoring offense (31.2 in 2021 which led NFL).

Defense

Dallas was 7th in PPG defense in 2021 and Dan Quinn returns for that defense. Micah Parsons was a beast rookie (13 sacks) who played LB and DE. Demarcus Lawrence is still a good consistent pass rusher but had a down year somewhat in 2021. Dorance Armstrong was solid and underrated in 2021. Dante Fowler replaces Randy Gregory who left in free agency. Sam Williams was also drafted in Round 2 at DE for the future and Tarrell Basham is solid depth. Dallas has some pass rushers, and it will keep their defense strong.

Micah Parsons probably mans the MIKE spot though and Kyler Vander Esch returns on a 1 year prove it deal. KVE is solid when healthy after a monster rookie season a few years ago. Jabril Cox is young depth and Damone Clark is another LSU LB as a backup that can cover. Clark is injured though and should miss a lot or most of the year.

Questions

Secondary

Trevon Diggs was flashy with the interceptions but did get beat some too. He is a number 1 CB but not shut down yet. Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are solid with more experience. Kelvin Joseph and Nashon Wrigth are day 2 picks from 2021 that have a chance to step up in year 2 as well.

Malik Hooker finally stayed healthy with a solid year in 2021 coming to the Cowboys. Jayron Kearse broke out after just average play with the Vikings and Lions previously.  The depth lacks at safety though which could be an issue.

DT

Lots of second/third year day 2 picks in Neville Gallimore, Tyrsten Hill, Osa Odighuwuza. They have been averaging to below average and it will need to step up in pass rush and run stopping ability. This is the weak link of the team right now but there is talent.

Schedule

Dallas hosts Detroit Week 7 and Chicago Week 8. Cowboys travel to Green Bay Week 10 (after the Cowboys bye) and Minnesota Week 11 for 425 PM ET on FOX. They are going to be a tough game for all 4 NFC North teams. Better bring your A game defense to stop the Cowboys potent offense and figure out how to stop Parsons and their pass rush under Dan Quinn. Getcha popcorn ready.