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2 Cowboys veterans and 1 coach that are facing pressure to succeed in 2023

These three members of the Cowboys organization are facing immense pressure to have a successful season in 2023.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Heading into the 2023 season, many analysts and fans have high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off a 12-5 record in the regular season this past year, the team improved in several areas and is looking to make a deeper postseason push this year. However, in order to achieve this, there are a few players who will have to step up and have big seasons for the team.

Michael Gallup, WR

The Cowboys front office had high expectations for WR Michael Gallup when they decided to trade former WR Amari Cooper to the Browns, and signed Gallup to a five-year, $57.5 million contract in the offseason leading up to the 2022 season. They did this despite Gallup suffering a torn ACL in Week 17 of the 2021 season.

Throughout the 2022 season, the Cowboys did not get the same production from Gallup that they consistently got prior to his injury. Gallup struggled to produce and create consistent separation throughout the season. He only had one game of over 50 receiving yards the entire season. His best outing coming against the New York Giants when he had five receptions for 63 receiving yards. He had 2.3 yards of average separation, which tied for 116th out of 121 eligible receivers and tight ends. It is fair to counter that Gallup was never necessarily known for his separation ability, however, he also ranked 112th in catch percentage.

Gallup talked to ESPN’s Todd Archer, giving his thoughts on his lackluster 2022 campaign, and how he feels better heading into the upcoming season.

I was thinking too much [last year]. My knee was feeling sore and it was just different. I never really had it like that last year. It’s different. I feel springy again.

It is important to note too, that although Gallup is currently under contract through the 2026 season, there is a “potential out” for the front office in the 2024 offseason. If Gallup does not considerably improve next season, it could be his last year in Dallas.

Dak Prescott, QB

When it comes to pressure, no one in the sports world faces more annual pressure than the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. QB Dak Prescott came into the 2022 season off of an incredible performance in 2021. In 2021, Prescott threw for 4,449 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions. His passer rating was a 104.2, the best since his rookie season (104.9). Prescott looked to build off that impressive season in Week 1 of the 2022 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he fractured his thumb in the game and did not return for the Cowboys until Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Despite only playing 12 games, Prescott tied for the most interceptions thrown in the league with 15. He finished the 2022 campaign with just 2,860 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and a 91.1 rating.

With an abundance of talent on their roster, the Cowboys come into the season with Super Bowl expectations. The man who will be seen as responsible for their success or failure in the postseason will continue to be their quarterback. One flaw on Prescott’s résumé so far is his lack of playoff success. He is just 2-4 in the playoffs, and has thrown five interceptions in just six career playoff games. With a roster as talented as the Cowboys’, Prescott faces immense pressure to deliver success in the postseason the team has not had since the 1995 season.

Mike McCarthy, HC

Possibly facing the most pressure in the entire Cowboys organization is head coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy currently has a 30-20 record with Dallas throughout his tenure with the team. This includes a 1-2 record in the postseason. All things considered, McCarthy has been an efficient coach with the Cowboys. If you disregard 2020, a season where Prescott suffered a season-ending injury, McCarthy has won a lot more games than he has lost. However, fans are starting to become impatient. Whether or not it is fair to put these kind of annual expectations on a coach, McCarthy will have to face that pressure as he is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

To add even more pressure to McCarthy, he will be the team’s play-caller in 2023 after the team decided to move on from former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. This puts an even bigger spotlight on McCarthy, as he has been viewed by some fans of contributing less to the team than coordinators Moore and Dan Quinn the past two seasons. Whether that is actually true or not will be clear in 2023, as McCarthy takes control of an offense with a lot of talent and expectations. If the Cowboys offense is successful, it shows the type of impact McCarthy brings to the team. If the offense is underwhelming, more questions will be brought to McCarthy’s impact as a coach, as well as potential concerns regarding his future with the team.

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