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Top 5 things the Dallas Cowboys need to figure out in training camp

Unanswered questions Cowboys need to answer in training camp.

NFL: DEC 04 Colts at Cowboys Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As things stand right now, the Dallas Cowboys have quite a few questions they need to answer prior to the start of the 2023 season. Luckily for them, we are still about a month away from the start of training camp. With a little luck and proper assessment, any concerns they have about the way the roster is currently constructed could get worked out.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at the top five things the Cowboys need to figure out once training camp gets underway in five weeks time. If they can address most, if not all, of these concerns they should be well on their way to becoming one of the Super Bowl favorites this year.

#1 - OL configuration and backup plan

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

From left to right, the Dallas Cowboys are hoping Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and Terence Steele will be the starting offensive line for the entirety of the 2023 season. However, with Steele still working his way back from last year’s season-ending injury, and Smith’s inability to remain healthy for an entire year, they need a Plan B in place for if/when the OL needs to be reshuffled.

With that in mind, Dallas needs to figure out how to best utilize Tyler Smith if injury occurs to other players. That also means players like Matt Waletzko, Matt Farniok, Chumba Edoga, and possibly rookie free agent T.J. Bass, need to prove themselves capable of stepping in as potential starters in training camp. Otherwise, a veteran addition may need to be added to provide stability.

#2 - Backup linebacker

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The way the Dallas roster is currently constructed, the linebacker position may be the most concerning heading into 2023 prior to training camp. Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark are expected to be the starters, but the depth chart behind them doesn’t inspire much confidence due to lack of meaningful proven experience in the NFL.

Jabril Cox, this year’s third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown, and Devin Harper, are the favorites to make the final 53-man roster as things stand right now. Dallas is excited about Overshown’s potential and is hoping Cox will be much better in his second season removed from the season-ending knee injury he sustained as a rookie. However, they can’t rule out a veteran addition if they have any concerns with the backup LB situation in training camp.

#3 - Backup running back

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Dallas’ running back situation is on precarious footing right now prior to training camp. While Tony Pollard is expected to make a full recovery from last year’s season-ending injury, replacing Ezekiel Elliott as the full-time starter carries a little bit of concern considering Pollard has never been RB1 in the NFL or college. That makes the backup RB situation even more important.

In Ronald Jones, Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle, and Deuce Vaughn, the Cowboys do have some intriguing options who will be competing to become the primary backup in 2023. Dallas must take the backup RB situation serious in training camp considering Zeke carried the ball 231 times last year compared to Pollard’s 193 carries. With No. 20 carries to increase significantly, someone needs to emerge to help pick up the slack.

#4 - Finding Brett Maher’s replacement

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Brett “Money” Maher was a viable weapon for the Cowboys during the regular season last year. Unfortunately, he developed the yips in the postseason which ultimately led to the reason why he probably wasn’t re-signed in free agency. With Tristan Vizcaino as the only kicker currently on the roster, Dallas is on the lookout for a potential upgrade.

As things stand right now, Robbie Gould is arguably the best kicker still available on the open market. However, his age (40) and recent injuries over the past few seasons is a big enough concern for the Cowboys to hold out for something potentially better. This is one thing they absolutely must figure out in training camp or it could come back to haunt them.

#5 - Dalton Schultz’ replacement as TE1

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Dalton Schultz has been the Cowboys starting tight end for the past three years, but chose to move on this offseason by joining the Houston Texans via free agency. Who ends up replacing him as the starting TE in 2023 will be a position battle everybody will have their eye on in training camp.

Jake Ferguson, a fourth-round draft pick last year, is the favorite to claim the starting gig right now. However, this year’s second-round pick, Luke Schoonmaker, has just as much a chance of emerging as the TE1 being the more athletic of the two and playing in a pro-style offense at Michigan. There will be ample opportunity for one of the two to emerge as the TE1 in training camp.

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