Put this veteran QB in the Prescott camp.
Prescott’s injury wasn’t nearly as severe as Smith’s, but it did raise questions about whether he’d be ready for the 2021 campaign. Smith has no doubt the Cowboys signal-caller will be.
“Dak is, I think, one of the most unique athletes in the NFL – and I really think that from like a freakish perspective,” Smith told USA Today. “He is such a strong, powerful, such a good athlete. So I really expect him to come back and be rolling. Then you add that on to his fortitude and mental perspective? I think he’s going to have a huge, huge year.”
Prescott was playing some of the best football of his career before he got hurt in the Cowboys’ fifth game of the 2020 season. Although Dallas went 2-3 in those games, the 27-year-old completed 68% of his passes for 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns against four interceptions. He also ran for 93 yards and three scores.
If Smith is right, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year should pick up right where he left off. He’s currently being considered a top MVP and Comeback Player of the Year candidate.
Prescott also recently said the 2021 campaign will be “very, very special” for the Cowboys and their fans because the team has spent much of the offseason improving.
Randy Gregory will finally have every opportunity to break through as a Cowboy.
Kyle Youmans: Expectations for Gregory shouldn’t be over-the-moon or towards the Pro Bowl caliber expectations set for DeMarcus Lawrence on the other side. The biggest thing for Gregory to accomplish this season is consistency. Each of his 3.5 sacks and seven of his 25 pressures came in just two games, Week 12 against Washington and Week 16 against Philadelphia. Tallying multiple sacks a week is not possible. He’s at least shown that he can hit that mark, but constantly creating pressure has to be an addition to Gregory’s game. In a full 17-game season, there’s no way he shouldn’t be near 45 pressures and lead to around 7 or 8 sacks total. Numbers that would make any defensive coordinator happy, but the film is really where Gregory is going to shine if all goes right.
Mickey Spagnola: To steal a Charles Dickens book title, Great Expectations. Maybe as great as when the Cowboys used a second-round pick in the 2015 draft on the Nebraska defensive end, his career over the next six years turned upside down by repeated suspensions in four of his six seasons. And that included the entire 2017 and 2019 seasons, along with the first six games of 2020. But by the end of the 2020 season Gregory was the Cowboys’ most dynamic pass rusher, and rounded into shape against the run. Think about this, then. This was Gregory’s first full offseason with the Cowboys since his rookie year. He seems to have his life in order, which will allow him to play at an even higher level. While he recorded 3½ sacks in the 10 games he played last year, Gregory finished third on the team with 16 QB pressures, and that at playing just 21.8 percent of the snaps. Guarantee you, health willing, Gregory will not be underused again this year.
Dallas Cowboys land stud CB in an intriguing hypothetical trade scenario - Brian Martin, BloggingTheBoys
A veteran cornerback seems to be on the minds of Cowboys observers.
Howard just turned 28 years old on July 4 and is without a doubt a Top 5 cornerback in the NFL right now. He has led the league in interceptions twice in the past two years (2018, 2020) and is coming off a 10 INT year. On top of that, he is a two-time Pro Bowler and would be a perfect fit in Dan Quinn’s defensive system.
If the Cowboys could complete this trade by just giving up Connor McGovern and a first-round pick, they should jump at the opportunity. Yes, they would have to extend or rework Howard’s contract, but that’s easily doable. They’ve shown here recently they know how to get creative as far as contracts are concerned.
Now, it’s important to remember this is just a hypothetical trade scenario. It’s hard to see anyway Howard can be acquired by the Cowboys by offering just a first-round pick and a backup guard, but if they could they should absolutely pull the trigger. It could very well be the move that turns them into a serious contender.
If the Cowboys truly want to land Howard, they may have to sweeten the pot a bit. For a team who hasn’t been shy and about making trades the past few years this might be a situation worth monitoring from here on out.
How much would you give up to acquire Howard?
Quinn has a big job in Dallas.
Week two of 2020 against the Dallas Cowboys is remembered as the “Snail Mary” or “watermelon kick” game. After the Falcons took a 39-20 lead on our beloved Cowboys with just under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Falcons only had one more drive after that.
The Falcons punted, then gave up an onside recovery before losing to the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 40-39.
The following week, Dan Quinn was fired after his team was up 26-10 against the Chicago Bears but their last six drives went punt, missed field goal, punt, punt, punt, and ended on a Matt Ryan interception.
Dan Quinn does have some soul searching to do as poor tackling and penalties added to his team giving up so many leads but what really stands out is how bad his offense got when the team had a lead.
Quinn’s defense in Atlanta does leave questions about his decision-making while maintaining a lead but in the five games where Atlanta blew a double-digit lead, the offense produced zero points in 18 drives and turned the ball over six times.
It is pretty tough to place the entire blame on Quinn’s defense.
There are always surprise cuts after training camp.
WR Noah Brown
While seventh-round picks don’t always stick on rosters for long, wideout Noah Brown has been a member of the Cowboys since being taken 239th overall in 2017—though he was injured for all of 2019. Brown re-signed with Dallas this offseason on a one-year, $1.27 million deal.
The challenge for Brown is that he’s looking up at a deep depth chart and has just $137,000 in guarantees on his contract. If Dallas doesn’t view him as a high-level contributor, it can save nearly $1 million by letting him go.
Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are all likely locks to make the roster. The Cowboys also have Cedrick Wilson and rookie Simi Fehoko at the position, among others.
If Brown doesn’t have a strong camp, the Cowboys could find it hard to justify spending $1 million and a roster spot on a receiver who played just 20 percent of the offensive snaps a year ago.
If the offensive line is healthy, Prescott could put up huge numbers.
Here’s what they had to say about Prescott.
Highest ranking: 7 | Lowest ranking: 14
Age: 27 | Last year’s ranking: 9
Prescott surpassed Lamar Jackson in a close race that prompted an isolated matchup with new voters for good measure. For some, the reasoning was simple.
“Lamar is a better all-around football player, Dak is the better QB,” one AFC exec said.
Prescott’s ankle injury didn’t hurt his standing. In fact, it might have helped, placing a focus on his stellar production in the five games before the injury. Prescott threw for 1,856 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions before falling to the turf in Week 5. The Cowboys were first in passing yards per game with Prescott (381.4) and 28th without him (204.9).
“He, individually, was pretty impressive,” said a veteran NFL quarterback. “Couldn’t do better than that. It was high-level play.”
Prescott, however, has not always been great against high-level teams. In 2019, Dallas was 1-6 against opponents that made the playoffs, with Prescott throwing for eight touchdowns to eight interceptions in those matchups. Against non-playoff teams, Prescott cleaned up, with 22 touchdowns to three interceptions and a 7-2 record. For his career, Prescott is 9-17 against eventual playoff teams. Of course, the Cowboys’ defense has been a major issue the past few seasons too.
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