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Cowboys news: Roster strengths and weaknesses taking shape as Dallas returns home

The latest Cowboys news from the last week of the preseason.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys 2022 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 3 - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Has second-year DT Quinton Bohanna done enough to push veteran Carlos Watkins?

Defense Depth Chart (27)

DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Chauncey Golston

DT: Osa Odighizuwa, John Ridgeway

DT: Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Quinton Bohanna

DE: Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams, Dante Fowler

LB: Jabril Cox, Anthony Barr

LB: Micah Parsons, Luke Gifford

LB: Leighton Vander Esch, Devin Harper

CB: Trevon Diggs, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright

CB: Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, DaRon Bland

S: Malik Hooker, Israel Mukuamu

S: Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson, Markquese Bell

IR: LB Damone Clark

We’ve made a switch at DT from last time, dumping Carlos Watkins for Quinton Bohanna. While the veteran did good work later and is solid depth, Trysten Hill’s resurgence mitigates that need while Bohanna and John Ridgeway offer youthful upside and cheap rookie contracts.

The linebacker and cornerback positions feel locked up at this point. Devin Harper and DaRon Bland have looked good in preseason and have those tasty four-year rookie deals the team would love to preserve.

Cowboys DE Sam Williams opening eyes around league, opening up possibilities for Dallas defense - Todd Brock, The Cowboys Wire

The Cowboys defensive line is the strength of their roster, with rookie Sam Williams ready to make an early impact.

Sooner or later, Williams knows, the highlight will be his. Just 77 game snaps into his pro career, it’s already getting easier.

“It is, it is,” he told reporters after Saturday’s 32-18 win over the Chargers. “When I watch the film, I’ll be like, ‘Dang, I should have had this. Dang, I should have had that.’ But you can’t reverse time; I’m just trying to get better and better every day.”

So far, it seems to be working.

The calling card on the 6-foot-4-inch Williams early in camp was his insane speed. But studying and fine-tuning his technique every day- with guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons as his mentors- has helped him add to his rapidly growing toolbox.

In his 33 snaps against Denver, Williams made it a point to try out a variety of moves. That impressed NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.

By preseason Week 2, he was putting his speed, power, and technique together. Baldinger sees room for improvement in the 23-year-old, but also sees tantalizing possibilities once he’s paired up with other game-wreckers in the Cowboys defensive unit.

Preseason Week 2 brings promising update for Cowboys WR Michael Gallup - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys still need receivers to step up without Michael Gallup and James Washington to start the season.

When asked about Gallup’s progress throughout the offseason the coaching staff and front office members continued to give the typical “he’s doing great” and “he will get there.” But no actual timeline was given. It wasn’t until late July that we heard some kind of legitimate update, and it came from Gallup himself.

At training camp, the 26-year-old told reporters that playing Week 1 wasn’t a realistic possibility.

Gallup has been present for workouts and is there doing band work and cheering on his teammates, but can’t fully participate given he is on the PUP list. However, after Thursday’s joint practice with the Chargers, the receiver gave fans something they’d been wanting to see for a while.

The WR was on the practice field running routes and catching passes from Dak Prescott for the first time since January 2.

This is an excellent site to see. Michael Gehlken and Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News were the first to report the Gallup update.

Apparently, the receiver was told on Wednesday that he was finally ready for this next stage of his recovery. He even said he had a hard time sleeping the night before because he was so excited to get back o work. learned Wednesday that he would graduate to this step in his rehabilitation and said that his excitement made sleeping difficult that evening.

Cowboys’ Win-Loss Predictions for 2022 NFL Season - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys ran away with the NFC East last year, but the many expect the Eagles to make it a closer race this season.

Perhaps the best development for Dallas this offseason has been its ability to maintain continuity. The squad that won 12 games a year ago will largely return, with a few notable exceptions.

The offensive line lost both La’el Collins and Connor Williams. The receiving corps parted with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. Pass-rusher Randy Gregory spurned Dallas for the Denver Broncos in free agency. However, most of the key players—including Ezekiel Elliott, CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott, Dalton Schultz, Tevon Diggs, DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons—will return.

Head coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are back as well.

Yet, the general expectation is that Dallas will take a step back in 2022. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the team’s over/under for wins is set at 10. It remains the favorite to win the NFC East but is only a slight favorite.

Dallas is +140 (bet $100 to win $140), while the Philadelphia Eagles are +160.

Interestingly, the Cowboys received no votes from Bleacher Report’s panel of NFL experts when it predicted division winners in July. Philadelphia was the consensus choice, while Wesley O’Donnell picked the New York Giants.

He said: “There are intriguing roster pieces on paper, they play one of the weakest schedules in the league, and maybe, just maybe, the changes made this offseason will light an unexpected spark. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen something like this.”

Indeed, we haven’t seen back-to-back division winners since the 2003-04 seasons (Philadelphia).

Dallas is among the favorites to win the conference, at 9-1 and behind only the Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. However, the Cowboys are pegged as a longer shot to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Baltimore Ravens at 20-1.

It seems Dallas is viewed as a good playoff team but perhaps not a legitimate title contender.

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