The Dallas Cowboys had a very quiet start to the 2018 offseason being the last team to sign a free agent. Since that, they have been quite active. They have said goodbye to Cowboy legends and welcomed in guys that are looking to take a step in their career.
What addition will have the biggest impact this upcoming season?
Out of all the Cowboys free agent pickups and draft picks, I expect Connor Williams to have the biggest impact. The Cowboys took Williams number 50 overall in the draft out of the University of Texas. His addition should solidify the offensive line and allow Dak Prescott to stand in the pocket and make the necessary throws to move the chains.
Three things that could lead the Cowboys back to the playoffs?
Dak taking the next step
The last eight games in 2017 have set up Dak for a “prove it” kind of year. The next contract has already become a topic of discussion. Stephen Jones spoke at the teams’ annual golf event and said that the Cowboys have planned the quarterbacks’ next contract in their budget. Now, it’s up to Dak to go out there and earn it. They have done everything they feel they needed to do to make the offense “Dak friendly.” Dak will be responsible for elevating his teammate’s game.
Defense continuing to improve
The most exciting aspect of the 2018 Cowboys is the defense, especially in the secondary. Special things should be ahead with Kris Richard leading this group. Jourdan Lewis is a guy that could take a major step. In the series “All or Nothing” that came out April 27th on Amazon he showed that he isn’t afraid of competing with the best of the best. The defensive line group appears to be very strong with Demarcus Lawrence leading the way as he continues to look for his big pay day. The Cowboys could also have a wild card in play with Randy Gregory preparing to apply for reinstatement.
With the retirement of Jason Witten and the release of Dez Bryant, there is plenty of opportunity for the next star to emerge. In order to be successful this upcoming season the Cowboys will need multiple guys from the receiver room and the tight end room to step up. I expect Michael Gallup to be one of those guys that comes in and contributes right away.
Three things that could hold the Cowboys back?
The inability to adjust on the fly during the game or when adversity strikes is something that remains a weakness for head coach Jason Garrett. There are very few times that you can say Garrett outcoached an opposing coach or the Cowboys won a game because of a move Garrett made. His job could be on the line in 2018 if that doesn’t change.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jerry said after the season that he would like to see more creativity out of the offense in 2018. That puts Scott Linehan on the hot seat.
Sean Lee injury
While the defense has the ability to be very good and there is a lot to be excited about going into the 2018 season, the elephant remains in the room and that’s the Sean Lee injury bug. The Cowboys took linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft in part because they aren’t sure if they can count on Lee to remain healthy for 16 games and they aren’t 100 percent sold on the Jaylon Smith story.
Ezekiel Elliott missing time
(Knock on wood) There hasn’t been any bad news so far this offseason for Ezekiel Elliott. He seems to have learned a lot from his experience last year of being away from his teammates for six games. Elliott being off the field for any amount of games this season would spell bad things for the Cowboys.
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