Predicting Cowboys’ Breakout Players at 2023 OTAs, Minicamp - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report
The Cowboys defensive line room is as crowded as ever, but Sam Williams made the most of every opportunity as a rookie.
Edge Sam Williams
The Cowboys got huge contributions from 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith, who started all 17 games as a rookie. But second-round pick Sam Williams only showed occasional flashes.
The former Mississippi linebacker appeared in 15 games but played only 27 percent of the defensive snaps during those contests.
Those flashes were impressive, though. Williams managed to record four sacks and 11 quarterback pressures as a part-time pass-rusher to go with 22 total tackles and three fumble recoveries. Entering Year 2, he should be ready to take on a bigger role in the pass-rushing rotation.
Dallas’ top sack artists, Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons, are back, as are Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr., but the latter two are both scheduled to be free agents in 2024. The Cowboys will want to prepare for their potential departure by working Williams into the rotation more.
And with a full season under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn now on his resume, the 24-year-old should show during offseason workouts that he is very much deserving of that increased role.
Pass-rushers don’t always get to shine during the summer since quarterbacks are off-limits, but Williams will find a way to stand out.
DAK PRESCOTT STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST CAREER WIN VS THIS AFC POWERHOUSE - Mario Herrera Jr, Inside The Star
The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat winner in nearly two decades, and Dak Prescott is a big reason why.
In this series, we are discussing Prescott’s individual record versus all teams on the Cowboys’ 2023 schedule. Let’s continue.
W/L record: 9-2
Last meeting: Cowboys 6, Commanders 26
2023 matchup: Weeks 12 & 18
Prescott might have lost his last matchup with the Commanders, but prior to that game in January of 2023, he had won nine out of the last 10.
Dallas had a chance to stay in the race for the NFC’s #1 seed this past January, but dropped a stinker on the road in Washington.
It was only the second loss Prescott has suffered versus Washington. Like the Eagles, both of his career losses are on the road.
Dak has earned each one of those nine wins. Washington always plays tough.
Even if the offense can’t get anything going, the defense always comes to play.
Prescott has been sacked at least once in every game he has played versus the Commanders, and has been sacked four times in four of those 11 games.
Dak has averaged 230.5 yards passing on 64.6% completions with 24 total touchdowns, and only five turnovers when playing against Washington.
Two matchups in the second half of the season in 2023 give Prescott the opportunity to expand on both the record and the numbers.
5 most important Cowboys for the 2023 season, including a surprise player - Ali Jawad, The Landry Hat
Tyler Smith proved more than a capable left tackle and guard in year one, giving the Cowboys flexibility with their line.
3. Tyler Smith
Remember when the Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith? The critics didn’t hesitate to question the selection. Then, a few months later, veteran and future hall of famer Tyron Smith went down with a hamstring injury, and the rookie Smith was forced to step in at left tackle.
By the end of the season it became clear the Cowboys have their new franchise left tackle. While Smith was penalized 13 times last season — not out of the ordinary for a rookie — Smith allowed just six sacks, 11 hits, and 39 pressures, per Pro Football Focus. That is very impressive for a player who didn’t even start camp or preseason as the left tackle.
The importance, however, will be his reliability. Smith will likely step in at left guard, where he was originally supposed to play last season. If Tyron Smith goes down, the Cowboys know they can count on their young second-year lineman to step up again.
The younger Smith’s inclusion might be a surprise for some fans, but he’s the single greatest insurance behind Tyron Smith, who’s played 17 of a possible 50 regular season games since 2019.
Cowboys’ Joe Whitt Jr.: I ‘feel the angst’ of being a Black coach in today’s NFL - Todd Brock, The Cowboys Wire
Whitt has been a valuable member of Dan Quinn’s defensive staff in Dallas.
Cowboys secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. is among the 40 assistants from around the league who are participating in the Coach Accelerator program, an event designed to increase the exposure of promising assistant coaches- especially those of color- to the owners who will be interviewing new coaching candidates at some point.
Minority representation among NFL head coaches continues to be a problem in a league whose ranks are predominantly of color. Only three teams- the Steelers (Mike Tomlin), Texans (DeMeco Ryans), and Buccaneers (Todd Bowles)- have Black head coaches. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is biracial, Commanders coach Ron Rivera is Latino, and Jets coach Robert Saleh is Lebanese.
That’s six out of 32.
But Whitt says it took even him a while to fully understand the struggle for coaches of color.
“I think back when I first entered the league in 2007,” Whitt said Monday in an interview on NFL Network. “I was able to work with a guy by the name of Emmitt Thomas and [I remember] how positive he was in developing and growing a lot of us younger Black coaches. At the same time, there were a number of coaches that were older that were just upset. And I didn’t understand, just coming from college, why were they so upset? Now, this being Year 17 for me, I can sort of feel the angst of what they had, not having some of the opportunities.”
NFL Enacts New Rule for ‘Emergency QB’ in 2023 - Patrik Walker, DallasCowboys.com
The Cowboys learned the value of their backup QB Cooper Rush last year, and now have a way to keep even more depth behind him and Dak Prescott.
The new rule would come with a couple of caveats, however.
The quarterback in question can not be carried as a practice squad player and must instead make the initial 53-man roster (elevated players can not be used in this capacity).
The team is required to notify officials no later than 90 minutes prior to kickoff of their inactives list, as usual, but may then designate one player as their emergency quarterback for that contest.
The player designated as the emergency QB can not take the field unless both the starting and backup QB (QB2) are injured, and if either of the latter are medically cleared to return to the game, the emergency QB (QB3) must be removed from the contest (only to return if the first two QBs are again made unavailable due to injury).
Additionally, as mentioned, it’s key to note that listing an emergency quarterback will not burn/cost the team a roster spot for that respective game, effectively granting him the aforementioned roster exemption.
For a player like Will Grier, this is fantastic news. It means he has a shot at suiting up for every game this season versus being relegated to inactives simply because the Cowboys can’t afford to sacrifice a roster spot on gameday that could and should go to another position, e.g., special teams, defensive line, etc. in the event of injury or strategic maneuvering for competitive reasons.
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