The Cowboys could still add some talent for training camp.
If the Cowboys can add an edge-defender before camp, they should. Dallas logged a mere 31 sacks as a team last season, with 6.5 of those coining from standout pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Aldon Smith was second on the team with five sacks, and he left for the Seattle Seahawks in free agency.
No other Dallas defender had more than 3.5 sacks in 2020.
If the Cowboys hope to field a quality pass-rusher, they need to find a bookend defender opposite Lawrence. The tandem of Randy Gregory and third-round rookie Chauncey Golston may be serviceable, but it shouldn’t be considered enough.
The good news for Dallas is that at least one high-end edge-rusher remains available. Justin Houston, who had eight sacks last season, is still unsigned. The bad news is that with just $6.1 million in cap space available, signing a player of his caliber could be difficult.
The smart move right now may be to examine the pool of undrafted pass-rushers and to bring a young player with upside into camp.
Time for players to step up and coaches to motivate the players.
LAST YEAR: QB Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 derailed a team that was already underachieving with first-year coach Mike McCarthy. A three-game winning streak late kept the Cowboys in the playoff race until the final weekend in the weak NFC East. McCarthy dumped his most important hire, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, after Dallas gave up a franchise-record 473 points (29.6 per game).
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Micah Parsons (No. 12 overall draft pick), CB Kelvin Joseph, S/LB Keanu Neal, S Damontae Kazee, DE Tarell Basham, DL Osa Odighizuwa, DL Chauncey Golston.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB Andy Dalton, S Xavier Woods, CB Chidobe Awuzie, DE Aldon Smith, C Joe Looney, DT Antwaun Woods, LB Sean Lee, Nolan.
CAMP NEEDS: The focus will be on what new coordinator Dan Quinn is doing to fix a defense that appeared beyond repair at times a year ago. The Cowboys drafted their most defensive players (eight) in the seven-round era, so camp could go a long way toward determining how many will have an impact as rookies. If healthy, the offense is the known commodity with Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and a trio of receivers in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. The top three offensive linemen are returning from injuries: RG Zack Martin, LT Tyron Smith and RT La’el Collins.
The three players the Dallas Cowboys need to have big seasons in 2021 - Tony Catalina, Blogging The Boys
If they can then we will have a nice season.
3. Tyler Biadasz
In year two it looks like there is nothing but opportunity for Tyler Biadasz as the center position is his for the taking. Biadsaz saw limited action last year do to the presence of Joe Looney and injuries that hampered his playing time, but he will look to make an early impact on this Cowboys offensive line in 2021.
Biadasz often draws parallels to former Cowboys great Travis Frederick. That’s mainly due to the fact they are both centers from the University of Wisconsin, but the Cowboys don’t necessarily need Biadasz to go out there and try to be like Frederick, he just needs to go out there and find a way to be better than Looney. Looney was a fan favorite and a valuable member of the offensive line, mainly for his ability to play multiple spots and to step in at a serviceable level. However what the Cowboys need from Biadasz is to find a way to come in and solidify the center position while elevating his game after a full offseason, a year of growth, and continued continuity on the line. The Cowboys hope he can come in and be a key cog at the important center position going forward, and his development will be an important piece to monitor as this Cowboys offense looks to be a high-powered unit in 2021.
The Cowboys will be looking for the best out of every player this year and will take a true full team effort to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at seasons end, but it is safe to say that if these three Cowboys don’t produce Dallas will have a hard time reaching the promise land this upcoming season.
A look at one of the UDFA wide receivers.
How he got here: Vasher certainly isn’t the only two-time All-State player on this roster. But, Vasher actually earned All-State honors in Texas in consecutive years for his basketball skills, becoming the only player in his school’s history (Wichita Falls Rider) to accomplish that feat in both sports. Vasher was a high-flyer on the court, usually playing in front of packed jams to watch what become a highlight reel of dunks. But he took his skills to Lubbock, where he was a four-year standout for the Red Raiders on the football field. From 2016-2020, Vasher was a fan favorite of the Red Raiders, wowing the crowd with his jump-ball catches, especially in the red zone. Vasher finished his career tied for ninth in school history with 19 touchdown catches. He decided not to return for another season of college football, but went undrafted this past April.
What’s next: Although Vasher signed with the Cowboys, a team he grew up idolizing in nearby Wichita Falls, which was a former training camp site of the organization from 1998-2001. But Vasher will have his work cut out for him to make the team, or even the practice squad. The Cowboys only drafted one receiver (Simi Fehoko in the fifth round) but picked up a handful of receivers after the draft, and many of which stand in the 6-4 to 6-5 range such as Vasher. So he’s not the only vertical receiver who looks the part. But he can help his cause by creating some of those highlight plays that put him on the map early into his college career.
Bet you didn’t know: Vasher earned the No. 1 spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays back in September of 2018, the first weekend of college football that season. Vasher made a diving one-handed, diving catch down the sideline in a game against Ole Miss in a neutral site game in Houston.
Micah Parsons’ ‘different’ journey from Harrisburg, Pa. to Cowboys inspires hope in his hometown - Michael Gehlken, DMN
Learn all about how Micah Parsons got to where he is today.
The other 5-year-olds screamed “back up!” before Micah Parsons took swings in T-ball. He won national championships in youth wrestling, plowed past opponents in pee-wee football at Sunshine Park, and made high school basketball his personal slam-dunk contest.
A word is commonly used around here to signify someone of advanced skill: different. Athletically, Parsons is different. Being different makes his story no less resonant in Pennsylvania’s capital.
“He shows these kids there is hope,” said Ahmod Bullock, equipment manager at Harrisburg High.
In April, Parsons became the first Harrisburg native to be drafted in the NFL’s first round, as the Cowboys chose the former Penn State linebacker and edge rusher at No. 12 overall. The feat required more than talent. On a journey beginning inside a Jefferson Street row house, Parsons rode a feverish competitive drive and youthful spirit that matured over time.
Too often, talent has a way of not making it out of Harrisburg. Violence, drugs and incarceration can derail promise.
Parsons not only made it out. He has returned.
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