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The Athletic ranks Cowboys offense as fourth best in NFL

Where would you rank the Cowboys offense?

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Being explosive on offensive, having strong good quarterback play and lighting up the scoreboard has never been more important than it is today in the NFL. We are constantly seeing innovation, creative play-calls, and star quarterback play across the league. It is an arms race to keep up.

Though the Cowboys did finish the 2019 season with a mediocre 8-8 record, the offense was among tops in all of football. Dallas led the league in total yards and yards per game, finished second in the NFL in passing, landed in the top-five in rushing and scored the sixth most points per game.

Defense and special teams held the team back from repeating as division champions and getting back to the postseason. While it remains to be seen how improved those two units will be under the new regime, the expectation is that the offense will be even better with Mike McCarthy teaming up with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to agree on a contract extension this offseason, but the fifth-year quarterback is already practicing with some of his teammates. Prescott did lose Randall Cobb and Jason Witten from his pass-catching group, but the Cowboys added CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the draft and now have the opportunity to unleash Blake Jarwin without splitting his snaps.

The Athletic’s Sheli Kapadia ranked the NFL offensive units from one to 32. To no one’s surprise, the Kansas City Chiefs sat at the top of the rankings, while Washington finished at the bottom. Also to no one’s surprise, the Cowboys ranked much closer to Kansas City than their NFC East rival.

The offense in Dallas finished second in the league per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, just behind the Baltimore Ravens. Kapadia ranks the offense as the fourth best league-wide:

4. Dallas Cowboys

Last year: 2nd

On paper, their offense is as balanced as any in the NFL. Dallas finished 8-8 last season because of its defense, special teams and coaching. The offense was outstanding and could be even better in 2020. They lose three starters: center Travis Frederick, slot receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Jason Witten. But in two of those spots, the Cowboys could see upgrades with first-round pick CeeDee Lamb and tight end Blake Jarwin. Dallas brought back wide receiver Amari Cooper on a long-term deal, and Michael Gallup (1,107 yards last season) is one of the most underrated pass-catchers in the league. The Cowboys have produced a top-10 offense in three of four seasons with Dak Prescott. And the run game is set up for success with Ezekiel Elliott, a strong offensive line and an effective scheme. Mike McCarthy’s best bet is to get out of the way and let Kellen Moore continue to run the show. One concern with the Cowboys is their depth might get tested more than last season when they had the league’s second-healthiest offense.

Kapadia notes of the Cowboys’ losses of Cobb, Witten and Travis Frederick but that “in two of those spots, the Cowboys could see upgrades” thanks to Lamb and Jarwin. That does seem to be the overwhelming thinking.

Elsewhere, Kapadia points out that the Cowboys have had a top-10 offense in all but one season of the Prescott era, and that Ezekiel Elliott should continue to have success with McCarthy now in charge.

If you are looking for an area of concern, though, it has to be health. Dak Prescott has not missed a start since entering the league, and Zeke has proven to be durable as well. That said, both Cooper and Gallup have had injury problems during their time in Dallas, and we know about Tyron Smith’s injury bug.

Provided that the Cowboys aren’t struck by the injury bug in a big way, Dallas should once again have one of the elite offenses in football — with the potential to take a step forward from a season ago.