Film room: 3 weaknesses on the Dallas Cowboys’ current roster, including major concern at swing tackle - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys have done an excellent job this offseason, but weaknesses still remain on the roster.
Unlike Erving, Knight is still young and early enough into his pro career that he still has intriguing upside. In a vacuum, Knight wasn’t great when thrust into action, allowing nine pressures in essentially two games. But when you add in the context that he was an undrafted rookie who missed much of camp with an injury going against a ferocious pass rush in Green Bay and a blitz-happy New York Jets squad, Knight’s performances become much more impressive.
Still, Knight went undrafted for a reason. In a perfect world, Knight would be able to sit and get one more year of seasoning before being thrust into the all-important swing tackle role. But with Erving as his only real competition, Knight may not get that luxury. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, either player winning the swing tackle job does nothing to ease concerns if Tyron Smith or La’el Collins has to miss time. Fleming wasn’t great as the swing tackle, but at least Dallas knew it could get by with him in the game -- the same can’t be said for Erving or Knight.
Whichever way you slice it -- unless the Cowboys add another tackle before the season -- the swing tackle position will be a major weakness on the roster.
Giants’ offense under Jason Garrett will look a lot like the Cowboys - The Associated Press, Dallas Morning News
The former Cowboys coach will run a very similar offense in New York.
New coach Joe Judge said the Giants’ offense this season would like like the one the Cowboys ran the past decade with Jason Garrett as the head coach. Garrett’s contract with Dallas was not renewed after last season and Judge hired him as his offensive coordinator less than two weeks later.
“There’s going be some similarities, but it’s got to cater to our players we have on our roster currently,” Judge said Tuesday in a video conference call. “So right now we’re installing all the base concepts and the shell of the offense. I think really you’ll see through our training camps as it takes form with the character of our team and as different players emerge.”
Judge said the offense will vary by game depending on the opponent. Jones, who was the sixth pick overall in last year’s draft, may throw more one game and Saquon Barkley might carry the load the next.
The Antwaun Woods mystery.
Antwaun’s initial two-year deal ended this year and he became an exclusive rights free agent. As was their right, Dallas offered Woods a minimal $750k EFRA tender. That meant no other team could negotiate with Antwaun; he either takes the Cowboys’ offer or sits out.
It’s a tough place for any player who has already risen to being a starter. We usually see ERFAs as developmental prospects who are happy to even get that one-year offer to remain in the league.
Not only is Woods trapped in 2020, but he also faces the prospect of being a restricted free agent next year. That means Dallas could again keep him for far less than market value; somewhere between $2-$3 million based on this year’s numbers. Keep in mind that Antwaun is already 27. By the time he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2022 he will be 29 and near the end of the typical “prime years” for a defensive lineman. It will take some big seasons for him to hit the open market and draw attention.
What will Amari Cooper’s production look like in 2020?
Reach At Least 90 Receptions...The Cowboys depended on Amari Cooper as their most relied upon receiver in 2019 with Michael Gallup not being far behind. They managed to be one of the most productive receiving duos in the NFL last season. Dak Prescott threw to Cooper 119 times last season and those targets resulted in 79 receptions and translated to a 66.4% catch percentage. Starting the 2020 season healthy, he should be able to handle a higher volume of targets and naturally amounting to more catches.
One of the few categories Cooper didn’t find himself ranking within the top 10 was receptions based on his production from last season. A reasonable goal would be to try to increase his volume of receptions as close to 90 as he can get in 2020.
The volume of targets isn’t necessarily there for Cooper as they are for some of the NFL’s most utilized receivers. There could be more dependence on him despite the addition of CeeDee Lamb considering the departures of Jason Witten and Randall Cobb.
Cornerback will likely be the biggest puzzle for Dallas to solve next offseason.
Lewis developed into a fan favorite over the past few years as a playmaker on a Cowboys defense that has at times been starved for turnovers. His quickness and intuitive ability to be at the right place at the right moment have provided the Cowboys momentum in important games recently. He did that while largely playing in nickel formations, and it's to-be-determined if he could and should transition into a role on the outside. Will he, like Orlando Scandrick before him, have a long career in Dallas or will one of the Cowboys' recent draft picks ultimately make him expendable?
Awuzie, on the other hand, was picked on quite a bit last year by opposing quarterbacks despite having shown the abilities at times over his career to be a successful cornerback. If the Cowboys have too many cornerbacks on the roster, Awuzie may prove to be the easiest one to move in a trade during or after training camp. One would think, however, that a player or two would need to have stepped up in an impressive manner in the interim for the Cowboys to feel confident parting ways with a cornerback who has significant NFL experience.
Anthony Brown is also a player that fans shouldn't forget about. Dallas re-signed him this offseason, which proves that it was more than just Jason Garrett who appreciated his abilities. He has started games at cornerback since his rookie season in 2016. They've relied on him before and they're unafraid to do it again.
How different will the Dallas Cowboys be under Mike McCarthy? - Matt Aaron, FanSided's The Landry Hat
Things will be different under Mike McCarthy...but how different?
3. Player Over System...Coach Garrett, though he was usually a good judge of talent, often praised as helping the Cowboys acquire a talented roster, preferred to look first to positional needs in the draft, as opposed to choosing the best player available in each round.This resulted in the selection of some excellent players, like All-Pro offensive tackle Zack Martin in 2014, but also produced duds like released defensive end Taco Charlton who was chosen in the first round of 2018, when there were higher-rated players on the board.
Another one of McCarthy’s early pronouncements was that he preferred to find the best players he could regardless of position or scheme. He said if they found a very talented player that didn’t fit his scheme, he would rather change his plans than miss out on the player.
This proved to be true a few weeks ago when the Cowboys surprised the football world by selecting CeeDee Lamb of the Oklahoma Sooners, widely regarded as the most talented wide receiver in this year’s draft, with their first-round pick, instead of choosing a player in a position deemed a higher need. The Cowboys then proceeded to select highly-rated players in every round, and were roundly praised as having one the best drafts in the NFL.
I think most Cowboys’ watchers have been impressed with these moves, and see them as an improvement over the prior coaching regime. Does this mean the team will be better in 2020? Not necessarily.
The Bird Gauntlet is a thing and we need to talk about it.
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