clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cowboys news: The Cowboys will need their role players to step up in 2021

Check out today’s latest and greatest news surrounding America’s team!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Film room: 3 Cowboys backups who could produce in a starting role, including a new face on offense - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

It’s not all about the starters for the Cowboys.

At 35 years old, Ty Nsekhe doesn’t have many years left in the NFL, but I still expect that he can come in and capably replace either Tyron Smith or La’el Collins if need be for a few games. I’ve long thought that Nsekhe was the NFL’s premier swing tackle, as he’s shown well when given the opportunities to fill in at left and right tackle over the course of his career.

At 6-8 and 330 pounds, Nsekhe is a monstrous tackle with long arms who is exceedingly tough for pass rushers to get around. While he’s not the most fleet of foot, Nsekhe displays enough range and mobility in his pass sets to deal with speed and wide-aligned pass rushers.

In addition, Nsekhe’s subtle and nuanced hand technique enables him to constantly be a step ahead of opposing pass rushers. Nsekhe loves to use feints to create reactions and set up his strong, intentional strikes. And Nsekhe’s length often allows him to outreach defenders and nullify their techniques.

The area where Dallas would likely see the biggest drop-off if Nskehe was forced into the starting lineup is in the running game, as Nsekhe’s high pad level often limits his effectiveness. Having said that, Nsekhe isn’t a disaster like Cam Erving was as a run blocker, he’s merely average. Nsehke’s sheer size and power will enable him to create movement and displace defenders off the line of scrimmage, especially on special teams.

Still, I think Nsekhe’s ability to limit the drop-off in pass protection if forced into a starting role would be hugely beneficial for a team that’s struggled mightily holding up in pass protection when missing one of their usual starters at offensive tackle in recent years.

Has Connor Williams Become one of the Most Underrated Cowboys? - Jess Haynie, Inside the Star

Connor Williams is probably better than you think.

For his first two seasons in the NFL, Guard Connor Williams dealt with being the perceived weakest link on the Dallas Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line. But after a strong 2020 performance amidst general chaos around him, Williams may now be one of the most underrated players on the roster.

Even this offseason, many fans have expressed desire to improve at left guard and prepare for Williams’ assumed exit in 2022 free agency. But according to Pro Football Focus, Connor is entering 2021 as the 21st-best guard in the NFL.

That isn’t just left guards, folks. That’s ALL guards, left or right, throughout the entire league. With Zack Martin coming in as #2 on the list, that means Dallas has two of the top-21 guards in football by PFF’s standards.

No, Williams hasn’t yet reached the elite tier at his position the way Martin, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, or Travis Frederick have in the past. But he’s a lot closer now than many Cowboys fans realize.

According to PFF’s Sam Monson:

“For some time, seemingly every draft pick Dallas spent on the offensive line turned into an All-Pro starter. While Connor Williams hasn’t done that, he has developed into a good player, particularly as the line has deteriorated around him.”


Catch-Up: Check Out Top Headlines From OTA Week - DallasCowboys.com

Week one of OTA’s is over and done, and the mothership crew catches us all up.

Friday

Dak Prescott was earnest and transparent about his struggles with mental health last season. Now, the team is drafting a plan to support the challenges mental health issues put on the community [Check out the Dallas Cowboys plan to support mental health]

The media had just one day to check out the Cowboys this week and one player who was not on the field was Ezekiel Elliott. A curious fan sent in a mailbag question wondering Zeke’s status for the offseason.

One of the newest Cowboys defenders who could play a big role this year is Keanu Neal, a former safety with the Falcons who is now moving to a hybrid role. Check out how Neal is adjusting to his new role as he reunites with his former coach, Dan Quinn.


Jourdan Lewis appears to finally have defined role in Cowboys defense - Matthew Lenix, CowboysWire

Jourdan Lewis was re-signed for a reason.

The Dallas Cowboys have added very good, young talent to the cornerback position over the last two seasons. Trevon Diggs, even with his ups and downs as a rookie in 2020, proved he was worthy of a second-round pick by leading the team in interceptions (3) and passes defended (14). Kelvin Joseph, the Cowboy’s second-round selection in the 2021 NFL draft, is expected to contribute early as well.

The success of the Cowboys cornerback group this season will depend a lot on the play of one of its veterans, though. Jourdan Lewis, who’s entering his fifth year with the team, spoke during the first week of OTAs and revealed his role would be much bigger under Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme.

“I’m going to be in the box,” Lewis said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I’m going to be able to make plays around the field and move around the field. It’s going to be cool.”

After a solid rookie campaign in 2017 in which he amassed 54 tackles, an interception, and 10 passes defended in seven starts, Lewis struggled to find his place on the Cowboys roster for a while. Former defensive coordinator Kris Richard preferred tall corners with more length, and at 5-foot-10, Lewis wasn’t a huge part of his strategy when he was hired in 2018. The former Michigan Wolverine only logged 187 snaps and a pedestrian 12 tackles during that season.


There is a small chance that the Dallas Cowboys could wear their throwback helmets in 2021 - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys

Could it be?!

There is a small chance that the Dallas Cowboys could wear their throwback helmets in 2021

When it comes to the Cowboys they do have some of the best uniforms in the National Football League. If you ask any random Cowboys fan which of the ones that they wear is their favorite, odds are many would love both the home white and navy away.

Over the last five and a half years plenty of fans have grown fond of the color rush jerseys that the Cowboys wear. These are somewhat reminiscent of the 75th anniversary jerseys that the Cowboys wore in 1994 (we don’t have to talk about that season) and ultimately offer an overall clean look.

There is still another option that many fans love which is the team’s throwback uniform. This get-up pays homage to the Cowboys teams of old and even brings with it the white helmet that accompanied it, a deviation from the standard silver Cowboys helmet.

Unfortunately almost a decade ago the NFL instituted a rule that forces teams to only have one helmet per season which has meant that the Cowboys could not wear their throwback uniforms since they don’t go with the silver helmet. Other teams like the Green Bay Packers or Chicago Bears still wear their throwback uniforms because the helmet that accompanies it (from a base perspective) is the same one that they wear with their standard uniform.

It is possible that this changes in the near future, though. Apparently the league could allow for its teams to have more than one helmet as soon as 2021 which would allow the Cowboys to wear their entire throwback setup.

BTB Podcast Schedule

  • Monday: Jersey Boyz with Dave Sturchio, Bret Ernst, and Keith Ernst
  • Tuesday: The 75O with Tony Casillas and RJ Ochoa
  • Wednesday: Talkin’ The Draft with Connor Livesay, Cole Patterson, and Dalton Miller
  • Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
  • Friday: Girls Talkin ‘Boys with Kelsey Charles and Meg Murray
  • Saturday: Cowboys Hoy with Mauricio Rodriguez

We also offer daily episodes of The Ocho where we give you that day’s latest headlines so that you always stay caught up. The BTB podcast network is available on all major podcast avenues.

You can find your preferred platform right here. Make sure to subscribe, rate the feed, and leave a review! Our latest episode is available in the feed down below.