Thanks to the Hall of Fame game the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers both have a head start on the rest of the league as far as the evaluation process goes for their rosters. With two preseason games under their belts, they should have a better understanding as to not only how to construct a roster for the 2021 season, but the areas of concern they need to work on the most.
The Cowboys are two games into the preseason with two to go, but it’s obvious they still have quite a bit to work on. Today, we’ll identify and rank three of their biggest concerns heading into the all-important “dress rehearsal” game against the Houston Texans this week.
#3 - The mystery that is the Cowboys defensive front
If the Cowboys defensive front wasn’t a pretty big concern prior to the second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, and it was, it certainly is now after the injury to defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. Although we have yet to see this unit as a whole in the first two preseason games, the mystery remains as to whether or not the Cowboys have done enough to upgrade the defensive tackle and defensive end position.
With DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory yet to play in the preseason, Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham have handled the majority of the starting reps. Armstrong is coming off a pretty good showing against the Cardinals, but so far Basham hasn’t showed much and is now injured. He’s expected to be the primary backup to D-Law and Gregory in 2021. With two preseason games to go, Dallas may want to keep an eye out for more help.
Gallimore’s injury could keep him out of action for the next month or so. He was the Cowboys best penetrating/disruptive DT and was expected to start. His loss is a big one because it has a ripple effect throughout the interior of the defensive line. Not only is someone going to have to step up to start in his absence, but Dan Quinn and company also have to figure out who plays what role now. Outside help may be needed.
#2 - Who starts opposite Trevon Diggs?
Just missing out on the top spot is the Cowboys current situation as to who starts opposite second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs in 2021? Through two preseason games and training camp, not one single cornerback has managed to emerge and separate themselves from the pack as the clear-cut favorite to become Diggs’ counterpart on the outside this year. With two preseason games to go, this is a huge concern.
Right now, Dallas’ third-round pick this year, Nahshon Wright, might have a slight edge over the competition, but probably not by much. He may be in a neck-and-neck race with fellow rookie CB Kelvin Joseph, however, Joseph is coming off a game in which he didn’t put his best foot forward. Because of that, Wright could’ve separated himself just a bit because he’s been a little more consistent. The Cowboys may, or may not, think otherwise though.
Jourdan Lewis, and Maurice Canady look to be competing with one another to become Dallas’ nickel CB this year, with Anthony Brown still is getting looks on the outside. Brown has more versatility to start in the outside than either Lewis or Canady, and as such could be an option to start opposite Diggs if the Cowboys want to go with someone with more veteran experience over a rookie. But, he’s really going to have to step up his game if he wants to earn that job.
#1 - Cowboys’ offensive line depth is MIA
As things stand right now, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line depth, or lack there of, is the biggest concern for the organization after two preseason games. Many of you may disagree and think the top spot should go to the cornerback position, and who may or may not start opposite Trevon Diggs, but at least the Cowboys have the bodies there to hopefully figure out the solution. That’s unfortunately not the case along the o-line.
Considering Connor Williams was Dallas’ only offensive lineman to start and remain healthy for every game last year, the Cowboys OL depth is a snap away from becoming starters once again. Sadly, through two preseason games there are some serious concerns, from center to tackle, with the backups across the entire line. Protecting Dak Prescott is the top priority and it doesn’t look as if Dallas has the players to do that right now.
Connor McGovern looks to be a solid backup at guard, but it’s still a mystery as to who is the No. 2 guys at both center and swing tackle in 2021. The Cowboys have tried to experiment with Williams at center, but sadly it looks as if they may need to look elsewhere. The same can probably be said with both Ty Nsekhe and Brandon Knight at tackle. In order to have a good Plan B in place, Dallas may want to address this sooner rather than later.