Veteran WR addition Brandin Cooks is already making a difference in the Cowboys locker room.
According to offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, the addition of Brandon Cooks hasn’t just elevated the team speed on offense but has allowed others around him to elevate their game.
One of the beneficiaries is second-year receiver Jalen Tolbert, who appears to be taking strides towards a better season in 2023.
“Jalen Tolbert has had an incredible camp,” Schottenheimer said. “And if you talk to Jalen, what he’ll tell you is that he’s spent a ton of time with Brandin.”
Cooks is entering his tenth professional season and starting anew with his fifth NFL franchise, having tallied at least one 1,000-yard season with each of the previous four. Tolbert on the other hand, finished with just two receptions for 12 yards during his debut season in the league.
Despite this being Cooks’ first season in Dallas, the two have spent significant portions of the offseason working in tandem to fill the depth chart of the wide receiver room. A pairing that has benefited the entire offense, but especially the trajectory of Tolbert.
“What Brandin wants to do, although coming to learn a system, is he wants to encourage and invest in the younger guys. Those guys spend a lot of time together. I see them before practice in the weight room working together.”
Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts didn’t face off against each other once in 2022, but these matchups are poised to shape who wins the NFC East this season.
Projected starter: Dak Prescott
Bench: Cooper Rush
Rodgers no longer being in the NFC is not the only ramification of that move for the Dallas Cowboys.
With that transaction, Dak Prescott is now the longest tenured quarterback with the same team in the NFC.
Entering his eighth season as field general for Dallas, the expectations for Prescott are higher than they have ever been.
Projected starter: Jalen Hurts
Bench: Marcus Mariota
Fresh off of a Super Bowl appearance, Jalen Hurts looks to return to the big game in 2023.
Bolstered by a great supporting cast in his first year as a starter, Hurts brings a skillset to the quarterback position that gives defensive coordinators agita.
He can rifle passes to his receivers or simply choose to pull the ball down and use his 6’1″ 225 pound frame to barrel over defenders.
The Eagles boast an excellent offensive scheme that utilizes his skills to put him in the best position to win on a down to down basis.
Eagles fans are ecstatic to see Hurts build on a season in which amassed 4,461 yards from scrimmage and 35 total touchdowns.
A repeat performance from Hurts likely means the Eagles will be in or around the big dance come February 2024.
Cowboys should sign recently-released NFC East rival to fortify offensive line - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat
OTAs and minicamp are hardly the time to evaluate offensive line play, but the Cowboys can still upgrade this group before arriving in Oxnard.
Unfortunately, the OL is banged up right now and some of the lineups deployed at minicamp left something to be desired.
Signing a veteran for added insurance couldn’t hurt, and recently-released Commanders guard Andrew Norwell fits that bill.
The Cowboys should sign former Commanders OL Andrew Norwell
Once upon a time, Norwell’s five-year, $68.5 million contract with the Jaguars set the floor for Zack Martin’s eventual extension with the Cowboys in 2018. Clearly the superior player, Martin inked a six-year, $84 million deal that made him the NFL’s highest-paid guard at the time.
While Martin remains the game’s best guard, Norwell is a fringe starter who’d be better served as a backup at this stage of his career. That being said, Norwell is still a serviceable player in the right situation. It didn’t work out in Washington, but the entire Commanders offensive line was a disaster last year.
It stands to reason that a move to a more functional organization — one where winning is the ultimate goal — would benefit Norwell, who was the No. 2 ranked guard in run block grade on gap runs in 2022, per PFF’s Marcus Mosher.
The 32-year-old Norwell was a turnstile in pass protection last year, but he’s one season removed from producing a 73.5 pass-blocking grade from PFF. He’s more reliable in the run game at this point in his career, but the notion that he’s incapable on passing downs is misguided.
Cowboys D-line waiting through no-hit minicamp: ‘They’re embracing wanting to get out there’ - Todd Brock, The Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys offensive line should have their hands full in padded practices with all the depth on this defensive line.
“There’s a lot of drills- team drills- that the D-line can’t be part of,” Cowboys defensive line coach Aden Durde told reporters at the conclusion of last week’s minicamp. “But you feel comfortable with where we are because in the walkthroughs, the guys are getting deliberate practice. And then when we’re out on the field, their conditioning is going through the roof.
“You can work on the fundamentals, the techniques, certain little things are more individualized teaching because of the time you have with the guys. So I feel really good with where were at.”
Some of Durde’s confidence no doubt comes from the arrival of Mazi Smith. The Cowboys spent a first-round draft pick on an interior defensive lineman for the first time in over two decades, and expectations for the havoc-wreaking Michigan man are sky-high.
“Part of it is, ‘Mazi’s coming,’ you know?” Durde admits. “We drafted a player like that.”
And while Smith hasn’t yet gotten a chance to show much beyond classroom work and weight room reps, his 43-year-old position coach is careful not to set the bar too high too soon.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott listed as one of NFL’s most likely to improve in 2023 - Staff, Dallas Morning News
If this happens, the Cowboys will be in great position to reclaim the division title.
Prescott was listed as one of the players most likely to improve in 2023 by NFL.com columnist Adam Schein. Schein, who listed Prescott at the very top of his nine-player list, says to doubt the Cowboys QB at your own risk.
“I still love Dak. Now, I didn’t love Dak’s NFL-high 15 picks last season,” Schien wrote. “But I see the Cowboys quarterback bouncing back in a major way this fall, and not just because of the clean bill of health.”
Prescott, whose quarterback rating and passing-yards-per-game average were both at their lowest since 2017, will be working in a revamped offense under head coach Mike McCarthy, who’s taking over playcalling duties after the departure of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Schien: “Now it’s McCarthy’s offense from stem to stern. No confusion, no conflicting strategies. And seeing how I believe McCarthy is a true quarterback/offensive guru, I really think Dak and the ‘Boys will reap the benefits of this change.”
Schein believes Prescott will also benefit from the addition of WR Brandin Cooks and further improvement from CeeDee Lamb, who Schein notes was his headliner for this same piece during the previous offseason.
Blogging The Boys Podcast Network and YouTube Channel
We offer a different show every single day on the Blogging The Boys podcast network, and on weekdays we offer two different shows every single day.
- Monday: 1st and 10 with Tony Catalina & Aidan Davis
- Monday: Hidden Yardage with Mark Lane and Sean Martin
- Tuesday: The Writer’s Block with Jess Nevarez and Brandon Loree
- Tuesday: BTB Roundtable with various BTB Staffers
- Wednesday: NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton
- Wednesday: Talkin’ The Star with Connor Livesay
- Thursday: The Ocho with RJ Ochoa
- Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
- Friday: Girls Talkin’ Boys with Kelsey Charles and Meg Murray
- Friday: The Star Seminar with Danny Phantom and Rabblerousr
- Saturday: The World’s Team with Meg Murray and Paul Stewart
Also every single weekday features a roundup episodes of sorts similar to these news headlines that catches you up on everything that you need to know! Make sure to listen to Dallas Cowboys Daily hosted by Jess Nevarez from Monday through Friday. We also offer live shows every weekday afternoon on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel.
The Blogging The Boys podcast network is available on all major podcast platforms.