Can Dallas a find a way to get this electrifying duo on the field - on offense? - Jermaine Arvie, Inside the Star
The Cowboys look for a way to get these two exciting playmakers on the field.
DEUCE VAUGHN IS THE EASY ANSWER FOR A SAFETY BLANKET
Could there be a better underneath option than Deuce Vaughn? If there is, please educate me on who that is. Vaughn is tailor-made for the role. The sub-4.5 speed is more than suitable to get up the field. The stop-on-a-dime moves, and ankle-breaking shiftiness make defenders look like low-level intramural athletes trying to find their skills of yesteryear. Although he has no documented 10-yard split time, his explosive speed off the line of scrimmage enables him to create separation and get open consistently. That part of his game is clearly seen on tape.
At Kansas State University, his receiving prowess gets criminally overlooked. That’s because his running ability is so fun to watch. The numbers he put up on the receiving end were more than respectable. Hauling in 116 receptions for 1280 yards in his three seasons as a starter will earn you the status of a complete dual-threat prospect. It may take a few games for Vaughn to find his way, but his speed, elusiveness, and sure hands should escalate the process.
IS IT TIME FOR DALLAS TO CAPITALIZE ON KAVONTAE RECEIVING SKILLS?
There was little to KaVontae Turpin’s receiving role last season. It was almost zilch. As a receiver, he was tossed two targets and hauled in 1 reception for the entire season. Add insult to injury, Dallas decided to put him in a divisional round football game on the final play, only to find himself on the wrong end of a whooping stick. Some of that was on him, and a portion of the responsibility fell at the feet of the play designer. We are in a different year, and the start of his second season is quickly approaching.
Expectations placed on himself may be higher than any attached to him by coaches and fans. He will walk in as a certified Pro Bowl specialist, but long-term success can be less secure on special teams. Luckily for Turpin, a role is available that fits his physical profile and skill set better than any of the receivers ahead of him on the depth chart. CeeDee Lamb is undoubtedly the team’s certified alpha and number one receiver. Michael Gallup and Brandin Cooks will round out the trio.
Cooks’ deep speed offers match-up problems, but working in concert with Turpin’s shiftiness underneath could be deadly. At this point, Turpin’s similarities to Beasley are much more than their sub-5’10” height. This coaching staff should utilize his athleticism and quickness off the line. His route running may still be a work in progress, but he was spotted with Dak and some of the guys getting some work earlier this year.
Cowboys’ Brandin Cooks Draws Rave Reviews from CeeDee Lamb, Mike McCarthy, More - Julia Stumbaugh, Bleacher Report
Newcomer Brandin Cooks has been making an impression on his new teammates.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said Cooks boasts other skills that build on his speed, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported.“I think he’s an exceptional route-runner,” McCarthy said. “He has a great understanding of routes and time clocks, and specifics of getting in and out of breaks.”
Fellow receiver CeeDee Lamb credited Cooks with teaching him new tricks of the trade as the two ran routes during the Cowboys’ recent minicamp.“I’m a visual learner and I’m just watching him as he runs his routes, the way he preps, the way he practices, how he goes about his business. I love each and every part of it,” Lamb said. “I mean, he’s a professional to a ‘T’.”
Wide receiver Michael Gallup added that Cooks, who is entering his 10th NFL season, has been focused on helping his teammates ensure they will be able to enjoy similarly long careers.“He tells everybody, ‘When you are you’re done with this, you’re done with that, make sure you stretch. Make sure you do what you’re supposed to do so you can stay in league as long as you possibly can,’” Gallup said.
The Cowboys acquired Cooks from the Houston Texans in March. Cooks has topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season six times, most recently in 2021. He’ll look to get back to those numbers when catching throws from Dak Prescott in 2023. Dallas Cowboys fans waiting to find out if Cooks can still cover 40 yards in 4.33 seconds, as he did during the 2014 NFL draft combine, shouldn’t hold their breath for a re-race.
The Cowboys have to resolve some burning questions at quarterback.
What Needs to Go Right: Well, Dak Prescott of course. Sure, by beefing up the defense and adding more weapons to the receiving corps, the Cowboys are doing all they can to make sure their star quarterback doesn’t have to carry the full load on his shoulders this season. Still, as head coach Mike McCarthy once said, “Defense wins championships, but the Super Bowl is won by the quarterback.” In other words, as Prescott goes, so too go the Cowboys.
The Question: Not much guesswork here, either. Can Prescott return to his previous form or are we headed for another unsettling adventure in 2023? Yes, he was the victim of some drops and questionable route-running at times. Yes, his pass catchers ranked among the NFL’s worst in creating separation. Nobody wants to hear it. What matters now is can he lessen the mistakes and, more importantly, win?
Battle to Watch: Although Cooper Rush is the frontrunner for the backup quarterback position after an impressive performance filling in for Prescott last season, nobody is going to just hand him the job, especially Will Grier. Where Rush provides consistency, Grier perhaps brings lightning in a bottle. Could that sort of enticing dynamic outweigh the tried and true?
These players are who the Cowboys are investing a lot of confidence in this season.
WR Michael Gallup
It’s been a rough couple of years for Gallup. An early-season calf injury cost him the first half of 2021 and then a Week 17 ACL injury carried over into 2022. Gallup, who had emerged as one of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets in clutch moments, was a shell of his former self and woefully ineffective on the field as he worked his way back from major knee surgery.
The Cowboys showed tremendous faith in Gallup’s recovery last year when they gave him a significant contract extension and dumped Amari Cooper. They doubled down on that choice this past offseason by restructuring Gallup’s deal to create cap space, pushing more dead money into the last years of the contract.
OTs Tyron Smith & Terence Steele
You’re probably as sick of hearing this as we are of saying it, but Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2015. After four years of missing at least three games from 2016-2019, things have gone off the rails with 31 missed games since 2020.
Still just 32 years old, Smith’s decreasing availability could turn around with better luck. But given how things have been trending for many years now, Dallas is taking a huge risk by counting on the veteran offensive tackle. That’s exactly what they’re doing in 2023 as Smith is expected to start somewhere on the line.
The Tyron issue wouldn’t be so bad if you were fully confident in Steele, but Dallas’ right tackle still has to prove he’s fully recovered. If the Cowboys come up short on both of these bets, the offensive line could crumble quickly with only a slew of unproven young prospects to help Zack Martin, Tyler Smith, and Tyler Biadasz. Even veteran free agent Chuma Edoga only has 13 starts under his belt since 2019; hardly a confidence booster.
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