Is it Super Bowl or bust this year in Dallas?
The offseason is history. It’s time for training camp and the Cowboys’ pursuit of a special season.Will this wind up being a “Super” season? Time will tell. But the goal for all 32 teams is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. The Cowboys are no different. So, based on their success last year and their work in the offseason, is this a “Super Bowl or bust” roster? That’s the final installment in our 20 Questions series.
David Helman: Even when you’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender, getting there is so much easier said than done. Ask the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs if they were “Super Bowl or bust” last year. It’s hard to place those expectations on a team when so much has to go right. But I’ll do my best not to cop out of this question. The Dallas Cowboys are absolutely one of the three or four most talented teams in the NFC. There’s no reason why they can’t be playing in the final game of the season. And with the amount of hefty contracts they’re about to pay out, they’d be smart to make that push sooner rather than later. I don’t know if that means they’ll make the Super Bowl, but I will say this: If this season doesn’t result in the Cowboys winning multiple playoff games for the first time since the1995 season, it will be a complete disappointment.
What are the biggest stories heading into Oxnard this season?
Weird, don’t you think, the only person who has been quoted on this whole Zeke reporting/not reporting on time fiasco has been Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. This whole thing has been sourced to death, and we certainly have nothing on record from the man himself, Zeke, the NFL’s defending rushing champ. So, when posed with the question if he is expecting Ezekiel Elliott to report to training camp on time, Garrett said, “Yeah, we anticipate that. I’ve heard nothing different from that.” Neither have we. Hopefully, though, Zeke doesn’t make a grandstanding entrance as Jalen Ramsey of the same 2016 rookie class did in Jacksonville, arriving in an armored truck and walked out to his own emcee announcing his arrival over a bullhorn. That’s what this world has come to for sure.
Can Randall Cobb’s production impact other players on the offense?
It's been a little over four months since Randall Cobb left the frozen tundra of Green Bay for the bright lights of Dallas, but his impact is already being felt. The veteran receiver put a bug in the ear of Dak Prescott at the NFL Honors ceremony the night before the Super Bowl, telling him "Hey man, come get me". After the departure of Cole Beasley in March to Buffalo, the Dallas Cowboys needed the slot position filled expeditiously, and did so with Cobb.
There is a huge advantage the Cowboys have with Cobb as opposed to Beasley. He isn't limited to just being in the slot beating guys underneath. He can not only do that, and do it well, but he can play either outside position, beating defensive backs vertically. With up and coming young stud Michael Gallup alongside him, this makes life easier for Amari Cooper. Double teams can't happen as frequently on him with multiple downfield threats. This gives Cooper the chance to annihilate corners with what I think is his best route, the slant, critical when it comes to converting third downs in short-yardage situations.
What will the Dallas’ running back group look like this summer?
The importance of running backs is a big debate right now throughout the NFL, but they're still a big deal in Dallas. The Cowboys have one of the league's best, but Ezekiel Elliott may not be with them when training camp starts on Saturday. They also have questions marks throughout the depth chart for 2019. Will Zeke report to camp? That is the question of the week right now, and will only be fueled by Melvin Gordon's confirmed holdout with the Chargers. All we have right now are rumors from someone with notoriously questionable journalistic practices.
If he's here, obviously Elliott is the top RB and the focal point of the Cowboys offense. And while he may not be a guy who generally needs the extra work in July and August, Zeke would benefit from being present while Kellen Moore's new offensive wrinkles are being installed.
There we be plenty of opportunities for young wide receivers at training camp this season.
The Cowboys are preparing for their first camp with Amari Cooper on the field, allowing their depth chart behind the star receiver to settle itself with competition between younger and less expensive options. Hurns was reportedly offered a pay cut but declined prior to his release.
Prior to trading for Cooper, the Cowboys’ stagnant passing attack was a direct result of Hurns struggling to get acclimated. Targeted 27 times with just 13 receptions through the first seven games of the season, Hurns’ pace for a 361-yard season dipped after Cooper’s arrival, targeted just 14 more times in those nine games. The Cowboys are truly embracing youth throughout a roster while hoping to repeat as NFC East champions.
Report: Cowboys are “optimistic” that a Dak Prescott deal gets done at training camp - RJ Ocha, Blogging The Boys
Could we see a Prescott extension at training camp?
These days the Cowboys have a lot of options when it comes to contracts to sort out. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Byron Jones are all waiting on extensions with the club so there is a lot to figure out when the team migrates west. It seems as if some figuring out could happen sooner rather than later.
NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported on Wednesday that the Cowboys are “optimistic” that a deal will get done with Prescott while the team is at training camp. It’s a big deal for a franchise quarterback to get a deal so it makes sense for the team to be focused on this. They’ve already exchanged offers with Prescott’s camp over the offseason.
Dallas Cowboys: Predicting 4 candidates for training camp MVP - Steven Mullenax, FanSided's The Landry Hat
Who will be this year’s training camp MVP?
Jourdan Lewis, CB. Undersized for the prototypical Kris Richard-led secondary, 5-foot-10 cornerback Jourdan Lewis faced an uphill battle to earn his opportunities last season.
The 23-year old started just one game, and played a total 187 defensive snaps. Lewis was on the field just 18.26% of the time when the Dallas defense played in 2018. For comparison, Cowboys’ slot corner Anthony Brown played 690 defensive snaps last year (67.38%). The former third-rounder entered the league with a chip on his shoulder. Lewis posted an impressive rookie season and for a short-time was considered a possible Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. He’d end up posting 48 total tackles, 10 pass defends and one interception while making seven starts in 2017.