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Cowboys News: Predicting the Cowboys starting defense for 2020

Plus, more news on America’s Team.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mailbag: Predicting The Starting Defense? - David Helman and Rob Phillips, Dallascowboys.com

The Cowboys defense could have some moving parts, so predicting the starting 11 should be hard. But not really.

If the season started this coming Sunday and every player was available, who is your starting 11 on defense? — WALTER DE BELL / TROY

Rob: For a base 4-3 defense, here's my starting lineup. Front four: DeMarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe and Tyrone Crawford with Aldon Smith rotating in at defensive end. Linebackers: Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee. Cornerbacks: Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis with Anthony Brown taking the slot. Safeties: Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

David: If everyone is healthy and available, I'd have a starting line of DeMarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe and Tyrone Crawford. I'd rotate Aldon Smith into the action in pass rushing situations, to help him get his feet wet. I assume we're playing a nickel defense, so my two primary linebackers would be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Xavier Woods would be my safeties. Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown would be manning the outside corner spots, and Jourdan Lewis would be handling the slot. Hopefully, Trevon Diggs can push for playing time – but if the season starts in just four days, I don't think that's very realistic.

Latest Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team | - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

Predicting how many games Dallas will win in 2020.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is banking on the idea that a new head coach can get his team deep into the playoffs. If Mike McCarthy can get the most out of this roster, he may just be correct. From a talent standpoint, it's hard not to like what Dallas brings to the proverbial table.

On offense, Dallas has Pro Bowl-caliber players at quarterback (Dak Prescott), running back (Ezekiel Elliott), receiver (Amari Cooper) and virtually all along the offensive line. With another 1,000-yard receiver in Michael Gallup and rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb also in the mix, the talent level on offense can rival that of any team in the NFL.

Defensively, the Cowboys aren't as stacked, but they do return most of a unit that ranked 11th in points allowed last season, minus No. 1 cornerback Byron Jones. With the New York Giants and Washington both rebuilding, Dallas' top competition in the NFC East will be the Philadelphia Eagles. Expect those two to engage in a back-and-forth battle at the top all season long.

Prediction: 9-7

Film room: Adjusting expectations for Cowboys’ rookies, including two pass-rushers prized for technique - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Picking a rookie to surprise us all.

Bradlee Anae, DE...Bradlee Anae is skilled enough to contribute even with this year’s unique circumstances.

Anae fell to the fifth round, not because of his skill level, but because he tested poorly prior to the draft. Not only did Anae measure in with T-Rex-esque 32 1/8-inch arms, but followed that up by testing into the 11.2 percentile athletically among NFL edge defenders.

Most edge defenders with short arms and below-average athleticism don’t make it in the NFL, which is why Anae fell all the way to the 179th overall pick despite three straight seasons with at least seven sacks and double-digit tackles for loss at Utah. His pass-rush technique could make him an exception to the rule.

Anae possessed some of the most developed pass-rush hands and footwork in his draft class, displaying a large breadth of technique, including a stab-chop, side scissor, rip-swipe, cross-chop club and an assortment of snatches to defeat blockers on his way to the QB. That pass-rush ability should enable Anae to stand out during camp against the likes of Brandon Knight, Mitch Hyatt and Cameron Erving. Anae could carve out a role as a pass-rush specialist during his rookie season. Sacks are also possible.

Five ways the Cowboys (and fans) got lucky this offseason - Matt Aaron, FanSided's The Landry Hat

Getting rid of a certain head coach has fans feeling lucky this offseason.

#5. Hiring Mike McCarthy as new head coach I almost left this one off the list, but I kept coming back to Mike McCarthy. Of course, like much else, depending on how the season goes, I could be wrong. But I don’t think so.

In the 54 Super Bowls that have been played, there have been only 33 coaches to guide their team to the Lombardy Trophy. Nine are still coaching and only one of them was available this offseason. You guessed it: Mike McCarthy. McCarthy is just a winner, and an excellent coach. He’s coached two quarterbacks headed to the Hall of Fame, and like Garrett, has a lifetime winning average. In his case, .618. McCarthy-coached teams are 125-77.

But unlike Garrett, McCarthy also has a winning record in the playoffs. He’s 10-8 in the post-season, and brought his team to the NFC title game four times, progressing to the Super Bowl in 2010, and winning it. Plus, McCarthy is a lot of fun at press conferences! There isn’t an experienced, excellent, and proven head coach on the market every year. You might disagree, but I think the Cowboys were lucky he was available and so enthusiastic about coaching America’s Team.

Cowboys Trivia: Take our quiz and enter for your chance to win a Dak Prescott or Cee Dee Lamb prize bundle - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Do you know your Dallas Cowboys history well enough to get 12 out of 12?

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no one is sure what exactly this NFL season will look like. All we know is that the league and (most) of its players want to try to play the 2020 season. When... or if that happens, as a Cowboys fan, you’re still going to want to rep your favorite team with the latest, and safest, team apparel.

Take our quiz below to test your knowledge of Cowboys history and enter for your chance to win a Dak Prescott or CeeDee Lamb prize bundle. Each bundle will come include the following officially licensed products:

A navy Dallas Cowboys New Era 2020 NFL Summer Sideline cap

A 2-pack of face masks with either Prescott or Lamb’s jersey number and signature

A navy Prescott or Lamb jersey

BTB Podcast

What should our expectations be for this year’s rookie class? We discuss on the latest episode of Talkin’ The Star.

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