There’s no place for complacency in professional sports. It doesn’t matter if you’re a superstar athlete or someone just trying to make the team, everyone has something to prove year after year, and that’s especially true for some of the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2022 season.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 Dallas Cowboys who have something to prove this year. From coaching staff to players currently on the roster, no one is safe. Everyone listed below has something to prove in some form or fashion in 2022.
#10 - CB Trevon Diggs & LB/DE Micah Parsons
How about a two-for-one to get things started? No. 7 and No. 11 have both already proven themselves among the best at their given positions, so the only thing they need to do now is go out and continue to play at an All-Pro level on a consistent basis. These two should be the foundation in which the Cowboys build their defense around for years to come.
#9 - DC Dan Quinn
Dan Quinn was just what was needed for the Cowboys defense last season and it should be much of the same in 2022 with him returning. He may have lost starters/rotation pieces like Randy Gregory, Keanu Neal, and Demontae Kazee via free agency, but other than that he pretty much has the same personnel to work with after a year of being in his system. Can they have repeat success?
#8 - S Jayron Kearse
Right now, No. 27 is pretty much a one-year wonder. In the first few years of his career he was nothing more than a special teams contributor, but finally made a name for himself last season with the Cowboys. He has to prove he’s not just a flash in the pan and can continue to play at a Pro Bowl caliber level once again like he did in 2021.
#7 - LT Tyron Smith
When healthy, No. 77 is still arguably one of the best left tackles in the entire league and has absolutely nothing to prove with his on-the-field performance. Sadly, his inability to stay healthy is what lands him on this list. He must prove he can stay healthy for the majority of the year, otherwise it may be his last with the Cowboys.
#6 - DE DeMarcus Lawrence
No. 90 has to prove his doubters wrong. Stats don’t equal success, but there’s no doubt he would like to have more sacks going forward. If he can remain healthy for the entire season his presence should not only send a positive ripple effect throughout the Cowboys defense, but in so doing also see all of his numbers, particularly sacks, increase significantly in 2022.
#5 - RB Ezekiel Elliott
Much like Tyron Smith, No. 21 could be a dead man walking depending on how he performs in 2022. He’s being paid as one of the top RBs in the NFL, but sadly his production continues to dip year after year. He has to prove he’s the same productive player this year - remaining 100% healthy will help - otherwise it could be his last in Dallas.
#4 - QB Dak Prescott
No. 4 has been fortunate enough to be surrounded by well-established, veteran talent since taking over the starting job as a rookie in 2016. Heading into the 2022 season there is more uncertainty. There are a lot of unknowns for him in the passing game, but if he can continue to find success with lesser talent, he will cement himself as a top QB.
#3 - C Tyler Biadasz
No. 63 is entering the ever important Year 3 for young players. The way he performs throughout the 2022 season will likely determine whether or not he has a future with the Cowboys moving forward. Out of everyone else on this list, he is probably the top non-coach who has the most to prove this year.
#2 - OC Kellen Moore
Kellen Moore could do no wrong in the first half the 2021 season, but from there on struggled to find his earlier play-calling ingenuity. The future head coach-in-waiting will need to prove he can recapture that play-calling magic if he wants to be taken seriously as a head coach candidate in the not-too-distant future, maybe even for the Dallas Cowboys.
#1 - HC Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy claims the top spot because he could be on the hot seat heading into the 2022 season. He’s likely coaching for his job this year. Not only does he have both Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore breathing down his neck, but Sean Payton’s relationship with the Jones’ and his potential availability means it could be do or die time for him this year.