As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to head off to the beautiful weather in Oxnard, CA they are bringing with them a lot of possibilities and questions. There are certain Cowboys on the roster who are looking to prove they deserve what the Cowboys are paying them, others are looking to get their next contract by performing, and then you have the rookies who are looking to make a name for themselves in the league. This is going to make things very interesting once the season begins.
With so many possible situations that could arise, it’s time to predict three things for the offense.
Ezekiel Elliott return to form?
Last season was a pretty rough one for the Cowboys star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, who saw the lowest rushing total of his career (979 yards). Part of that is due to the injuries along the offensive line, and the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott, but you also have to take into account that Elliott just didn’t seem right. Whether it was him being a bit out of shape or dealing with some undisclosed nagging injuries, he was clearly not himself last season, plus he had the fumbling issue. Thankfully he will be seeing his quarterback return, and pieces of his offensive line are returning and are reportedly in the best shape of their career. It’s been reported that Elliott himself is returning in great shape, but is that enough to see him return to form and re-establish himself as one of the best running backs in this league?
Expect a return to form. He has so many things going in his favor at the moment. A returning quarterback, returning offensive linemen, and quite possibly the most talented receiving group in the NFL. It will be hard to focus on stopping the run with that much talent on the outside to defend.
Dalton Schultz outperforms Blake Jarwin?
The Cowboys were dealt a blow last season when Blake Jarwin went down with an ACL injury, but from that they found out they have another very good weapon in Dalton Schultz who came in and became one of the more reliable tight ends in the league. This season the Cowboys expect to have Jarwin back healthy and it will be interesting to see how they use these two players. Will they end up splitting their time on the field or will one get more snaps than the other? Schultz has the advantage of putting together a consistent full season of production, while Jarwin has potentially more upside of breaking big plays deeper in the secondary.
Put the money on Schultz actually taking over the starting role and Jarwin taking a back seat and being used more as a big-play player instead of the every down tight end. They may also want to ease Jarwin back into the fold by slowly giving him more reps.
Tyler Biadasz solidifies the middle of the offensive line?
Last season Biadasz wasn’t expected to get that much playing time but after the injury to Joe Looney he had to step in. The Cowboys expected Biadasz to be able to take over at center late in the season or in 2021, but not all plans work out the way you want them to. Starting in four games last season and playing in 12 total games he did a pretty good job at holding the line. There were some issues for him dealing with the stronger defensive linemen but for the most part, it was a good rookie year for Biadasz. He will look to build on that showing where he was only called for one holding call and one false start in 2020. The Cowboys are also showing a lot of faith in him by not bringing back former starter Looney.
That a pretty big vote of confidence from the team. But the Cowboys are putting too much faith in seeing him making such a leap that the offensive line issues up the middle are nonexistent. In time he may be the answer, but there will still be struggles this year.