Beginning this weekend, we will have NFL football each week until February. If that doesn’t sound awesome, then I am not sure what does.
With that said, many outlets have gone ahead and released their preseason power rankings. These obviously do not mean too much, but it is still fun to look at and analyze where certain teams — especially the Cowboys — are positioned.
The Athletic released their power rankings for the 2019 season — voted on by ten different reporters and editors — and the Cowboys came in a nice spot on the list.
9. Dallas Cowboys (Ended last season: 10)
Training camp is starting and none of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper have new contracts yet. That’s not to say contract drama will become a distraction over the next month or so, but it certainly isn’t a good thing for a team with real playoff chances
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are both more-than-likely to receive new deals before too long. The Cowboys have made it clear that they are committed to building around Prescott, while Cooper helped give new life to a struggling offense last season.
Elliott, meanwhile, is holding out in hopes of earning an extension from Dallas. Zeke has proven himself to be one of the more electrifying talents across the league and knows that the shelf life of running backs is not very long — hence why he is trying to cash in now before it is too late.
As noted, the Cowboys finished 10th in these rankings at the end of last season after winning the NFC East, beating the Seahawks on Wildcard Weekend, and falling by eight points to the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round.
The Cowboys are ranked behind four NFC teams in The Athletic’s first poll, including NFC East foe Philadelphia Eagles — who are ranked fifth. The rest of the top-5 is as followed (fourth-to-first): Saints, Rams, Chiefs, Patriots.
Other teams of note: Washington Redskins are 26th, while the New York Giants land at 29.
The biggest factor in how good the Cowboys are going to be in 2019 seems to be the passing offense. Many believe Elliott will be in uniform for week one, but the Cowboys need to be able to hurt defenses through the air as well.
Dak found some new life with the arrival of Amari Cooper during the back half of last season, and Michael Gallup has shown flashes of becoming a solid WR2 for the Cowboys. Kellen Moore was promoted to offensive coordinator for the upcoming season, and the team brought in former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna to help take Prescott’s development to the next level.
There is some optimism that Moore’s added wrinkles of pre-snap motion, among other things, will help the offense reach the next level in the modern NFL. Bryan Broaddus took note of some things that Moore has already implemented through the first few days of training camp:
Kellen Moore continues to do things with his personnel by way of motions and shifts. One little wrinkle during practice was to move his tight ends in and out of the formation. Moore also went back to a formation he showed us in OTAs and minicamp, which was the tight ends bunch formations that Sean McVay likes to use with the Los Angeles Rams. There has been far more pre-snap movement than what we observed from Scott Linehan.
Broaddus also wrote that Moore is getting the receivers into space by design, which is something that many have been wanting for a while.
Something else I have also noticed from Kellen Moore’s plan of attack has to do with the spacing of the receivers. The route combinations they’re using along with putting their running backs in routes creates space within the defense. There are clear windows to throw the ball in.
This is exciting news for the Cowboys offense. If Dallas is going to be one of the elite teams in the NFL this season, it is going to be because the offense takes the next step.