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Cowboys Mailbag: What defensive player will be under the spotlight Thursday?

We know what the talent looks like on paper for the Dallas offense. Are you buying or selling that this offense could be one of the elite units in the NFL?

Juwan: I am buying the Cowboys offense to be one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL. You expand Dak’s first few games of last season into a 16-game stretch and you will have a quarterback who was giving you top-five production. I believe this is one of the handful of seasons that the talent on paper will translate to the field for Dallas. I know sound bites are easy to digest before the season begins, but Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper all have things to prove that should guide this offense towards the top of the league. And because I’m not sold on this defense I think in order for this team to flourish the offense will need to be elite.
Dylan: There’s always a natural inflation of whatever the Cowboys offensive firepower will be each season. Twitter/Instagram is ready to say they’ll score 40 points a game without a problem. While I’m not ready to go that far, I’m confident this will be a top ten offense in the NFL with a few games where they do cross the 40 point mark. I do believe that Zeke will be improved this year, so that could slow down their pace on a few series each game. They’ll be able to go on quick drives if the game calls for it, but the work in progress defense might make them be a little more conservative on offense in order to preserve time of possession.

 What defensive player will you be focused on the most Thursday?
Juwan: For me it will be Randy Gregory. There’s a staple of players you could pick from, but this team needs a pass rusher. Am I expecting Gregory to be what the Cowboys paid DeMarcus Lawrence to be? No. But can he provide a taste of what Robert Quinn gave us in 2019? I hope so. I believe we know what you have in Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. I know people are hoping Dan Quinn finds a way to replicate the defenses he had in Seattle, but for Dallas to see a glimpse of that type of secondary play it’ll need to start on the defensive line.
Dylan:  I’ll be focused on Jaylon Smith the most on Thursday night. There were several media members who I trust seriously pondering if Dallas should just take whatever financial hit it would take to just move on from Smith this preseason. They didn’t go that route and with his salary, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff feels any sort of obligation to try to get something out of him. Most are saying he’s the fourth or fifth best linebacker on the team, but he certainly doesn’t view himself that way. Week one likely won’t tell the story for the entire season, but it’s something to keep an eye on Thursday night.

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