With yet another offseason process beginning for the Dallas Cowboys, patience has worn relatively thin among even their most loyal fans. There is a sense that things are never going to change with this team and it feels like all of our questions are being left unanswered.
On the subject of questions, we decided to look a little bit deeper than the initial wave on the latest episode of The 75O on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. 105.3 The Fan Dallas Cowboys insider Bobby Belt sat in for Tony Casillas on the latest episode with me and we asked questions that we feel aren’t getting asked right now. You can listen to the show above or on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure you subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Whether or not the Cowboys do wind up answering these questions in the coming months remains to be seen, but that does not change their level of importance. Let’s begin.
Has CeeDee Lamb been a disappointment so far?
If you rewound the clock one year you would see plenty of Minnesota Vikings fans clamoring that Justin Jefferson was the best wide receiver emerging from the 2020 NFL Draft. Most Cowboys fans argued against that by saying that CeeDee Lamb did not get a full season with a legitimate quarterback, and that if he had, he would have kept pace with Jefferson across their first year in the league.
This past season offered Lamb the opportunity to establish himself as the alpha many believed the Cowboys lucked into with the 17th overall pick. All of the stories from training camp were about how he was taking over and the prophecy was about to come true.
If we are honest, though. the signs were there even on opening night when Lamb had a case of the drops (something that would repeat itself a bit throughout the season). While the blame for his lack of alpha-ing also partly falls on his utilization in the offense (shout out to Kellen Moore), he has to carry his fair share of responsibility.
Ultimately it is fair to say (especially relative to what became the expectation) that Lamb has not lived up to his draft day hype. He did not have a single touchdown catch on the season after Dallas played the Atlanta Falcons on November 14th. Consider that Justin Jefferson had six in the time after, and Lamb had six touchdowns total across the entire season.
What if Dak Prescott is now permanently who he was over the second half of last season?
One of the best touchdowns of the season to Lamb won the game for the Cowboys against the New England Patriots and sort of serves as the point in which the season completely changed as Dak Prescott injured his calf and was never really the same after.
Prescott has come out and noted that the calf injury has been made out to be a big thing but he doesn't believe that. It stands to reason that the calf may have initially bothered him, but he played poorly over an entire half of a season and in the playoffs. The sample size is too large to blame it on the calf at that point.
Obviously the hope of many is that Dak will return to who he was when he launched the game-winner to Lamb against the Pats, but what if he doesn’t? What if that is who he is on a permanent basis now?
There are definitely some who will say that is always who Dak has been and the Cowboys could exacerbate this issue in the offseason by not re-signing Michael Gallup and releasing Amari Cooper which would leave only the wide receiver who we just expressed some doubts over.
It goes without saying how important a quarterback is to a football team. While we are all sitting here discussing how this or that needs to be better in 2022, if the Cowboys have a quarterback problem next season then anything else is by far a secondary issue. There is legitimate reason to believe that Dak Prescott can and will return to proper form next season, but so much hangs in the balance as to whether or not he ultimately does.
Would not cutting Anthony Brown indicate a lack of belief in Kelvin Joseph?
Life moves quickly in the NFL and before you know it rookies are cornerstones. That certainly isn’t necessarily going to be the case for last year’s second-round pick in Kelvin Joseph, but it certainly makes sense for his role on the team’s defense to grow.
While the Cowboys have some salary cap switches that they will likely flip this offseason, one of their options is veteran cornerback Anthony Brown. They can save about $5M by releasing him, but doing so would obviously indicate a heavier responsibility for Joseph in his second season.
This question is a bit more hypothetical, but if the Cowboys don’t move on from Anthony Brown will it suggest a lack of belief in Joseph? There is no rule stating that Dallas can’t have both Brown and Joseph on their team in 2022, but if they truly felt that the latter were ready for the role wouldn’t they want to create whatever space that they could? It is worth considering.
What if Sean Payton does not actually want to coach the Cowboys in 2023?
There are a lot of assumptions being made about the Cowboys by some (also some assumptions about some by the Cowboys, seemingly), and one of them is that should the team fail to live up to expectations this season that Mike McCarthy will be dismissed in favor of Sean Payton. Obviously that rumor is not going away any time soon.
Payton’s connections to the Cowboys have been discussed many times so we needn’t waste our time there. The question that is worth asking though, one that our own Tom Ryle on expanded on himself, is what if Payton doesn’t want to coach the Cowboys next spring?
What if Sean Payton likes doing television? Or just likes being retired period? What if Andy Reid retires or Sean McVay does (assuming he returns this season first) or Bill Belichick? The point in the question is what if a more advantageous situation than the Cowboys has opened up? Would Payton still choose Dallas just because?
The Cowboys are seemingly prepared for such a DEFCON 1 scenario by having Dan Quinn on their staff and as the potential heir to McCarthy’s throne. But any assumption that Payton is certainly going to be available feels like a plan based on pure speculation. Given the state of the Cowboys these days it is hard not to believe that they would go this route, though.