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Defining the biggest non-quarterback Jenga pieces on the Dallas Cowboys roster

Things can come tumbling down without a few pieces in place for Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In the game of professional football the quarterback position rules all. Teams rise and fall with how good or bad their signal-callers are. When a team is missing their franchise quarterback they are often in disarray, lessons that the Dallas Cowboys learned throughout the 2015 and 2020 seasons.

But there are other important players on football teams even if they don’t touch the ball on every single snap. An exercise that we have partaken in around here every offseason or so has been to ask the question about which non-Cowboys players are most important to the group’s success.

This idea is one that Dave Dameshek once referred to as the “Jenga Theory” much like the traditional game that is Jenga. In that game you build a tower out of pieces and reach a point where you have to remove some to make the tower taller. If you take the wrong piece out the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Who are those non-quarterback players on the Dallas Cowboys?


Micah Parsons

The fact that Micah is eligible for this after just his rookie season speaks not only to the impact that he made on the Cowboys last year but how critical his contributions are. Ultimately Parsons is an arguable jenga piece because unlikely everybody else he is two pieces in one. If the team were to be without him for any period of time they would be without their best linebacker and pass rusher.

To date the only time that we have had to see the Cowboys play without Parsons was the regular season finale last year which was hardly a normal game given the circumstances involved for both Dallas and Philadelphia. We obviously do not want to see what this would look like in a game of consequence, but generally speaking the Cowboys have not fared well when losing players of this level of importance.


CeeDee Lamb

This one is a bit different in that there is some forecasting happening with CeeDee Lamb, although that is sort of what everybody is doing with him with regards to this season.

We expect Lamb to become this team’s top wide receiver and the most potent weapon in the passing game for quarterback Dak Prescott. Dealing without that is a difficult challenge for any signal-caller in the NFL which is precisely why many Cowboys fans were upset about the team dealing away Amari Cooper.

What’s more is that Lamb is one of only two receivers that we really trust at the moment. If he were to miss time the Cowboys group would be extremely reminiscent of 2018 as it would have Michael Gallup (unless he were out like he might be at the beginning of the season), Jalen Tolbert, James Washington, Noah Brown, and one of T.J. Vasher and/or Simi Fehoko.


We discussed this idea in the latest video on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!


Trevon Diggs

When was the last time that you were this confident in a cornerback on the Dallas Cowboys? That is a question I have been thinking about for a few weeks now.

I answered the question myself as 2012 Brandon Carr. That isn’t to say that there haven’t been other solid corners on this team since then (including other iterations of Carr himself), but that was the last time I personally felt like Dallas had a potential superstar sort of player at the position in the way that I feel that about Trevon Diggs.

It is arguable that the Cowboys have some legitimate depth behind Diggs in Kelvin Joseph, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Nahshon Wright, and others, but the gap between the leader and the rest of the pack is sizable. Losing Diggs would be losing this team’s best weapon against the pass which would be seismic.


Tyron Smith

At the end of the day this is probably the answer that most people will give because we have seen the Dallas Cowboys literally fall apart without Tyron Smith on more than one occasion.

Honestly the only thing sort of steering people away from choosing Smith as the answer for this right now is that we have all sort of accepted the inevitable reality of him missing time. It has been seven seasons since he last played an entire season, to put that a different way consider that he has never played every single game in the Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott era.

Unfortunately the likelihood of his absence is even more scary in 2022 than it has been in recent seasons given the depth that Dallas had at tackle in Terence Steele. If Tyron Smith were to be absent in the here and now it would either be Tyler Smith floating out to play left tackle or one of Josh Ball or Matt Waletzko. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Poll

Who is the biggest non-quarterback Jenga piece on the Dallas Cowboys roster?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Micah Parsons
    (443 votes)
  • 11%
    CeeDee Lamb
    (118 votes)
  • 1%
    Trevon Diggs
    (12 votes)
  • 39%
    Tyron Smith
    (387 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (32 votes)
992 votes total Vote Now