Cowboys ‘Most Irreplaceable’? Can’t Lose ‘Heart & Soul’ Micah Parsons - Adam Schultz, Sports Illustrated
Who else on the roster has an argument to be named the most irreplaceable player?
CBS Sports has compiled a list of all 32 NFL teams and the one player they can’t afford to lose. For Dallas, that’s Micah.
“CeeDee Lamb is a star out wide, and his absence would surely affect Dak Prescott, who’ll be counting on Brandin Cooks to help him downfield,” CBS Sports writes. “But Parsons is the heart and soul of the team, his rangy athleticism enabling Dallas to be creative on D.”
As CBS Sports mentions, quarterback Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb are other viable candidates, but given how well Cooper Rush fared last season (4-1 as the starter in Dak’s absence) and with the addition of Cooks, perhaps the potential loss of Prescott and Lamb could be offset.
But without Micah? While the Cowboys possess a pass-rushing unit that is the envy of the league, Parsons stands above them all, and we have the stats to back it up.
In each of his two NFL seasons, Parsons has led the Cowboys in sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles, and quarterback hits on his way to back-to-back All-Pro honors.
Despite an impressive offseason, several questions still loom large.
RB: Who will fill the on and off-field roles formerly held by Ezekiel Elliott?
Close call here, as Tony Pollard’s return to full health and ability after a serious leg injury is a major doubt. For me, edging this out are the multiple voids left by Ezekiel Elliott’s departure. Prescott as the quarterback is the unquestioned leader of the team, but Elliott’s large role in the hierarchy of the club can’t be understated. Also, his role as the bell cow is now vacant, and the top back has never carried the load by himself ever in his career. Is that still needed in the NFL in 2023? Camp will be the first glimpse of what the new relaity looks like.
WR: Is this group as good as the 2019 receiving corps?
The Cowboys were fourth in dropback EPA in 2019 and sixth in 2021. That dropped to 10th in 2022.
With the addition of Brandin Cooks, the Cowboys should be better across the board at wideout. CeeDee Lamb’s escalator should still be rising entering his fourth season. Cooks is light years ahead of what Michael Gallup was last year. Another year out from injury, Gallup should be way better than Noah Brown was last year. Jalen Tolbert should be way better than he was as a rookie.
Should be. This should be evident during training camp. Remember when Dennis Houston was a thing?
Last year, the Cowboys saw players like Dorance Armstong, Daron Bland, and Tyler Biadasz exceed expectations. Here are a few players who could do the same in 2023.
Tyler Smith has every chance to great in this league. If the Cowboys stop messing with his position on the line and just let him get comfortable, then yes he could breakout in 2023.
He is clearly one the best five offensive lineman Dallas has on the roster. He is a great run blocker and for as big as he is, man is he athletic .
Being healthy and staying on the field comes first, and if not only Smith can do that, but the rest of the line for a good part of the year can, Smith could very easily have a breakout year for the boys.
Onto the defensive side of the ball. This one is easy. Sam Williams has everything you need to be an elite pass rusher in this league.
In his rookie season with Dallas, Williams registered four sacks, three fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.
He had 15 tackles. Let me also remind you, he did all of this WITHOUT starting a single game in 2022.
Cooper Rush might be more valuable to the Cowboys as a trade piece despite his success as a backup for the team.
NFL trade rumors: Is Cowboys Cooper Rush available for trade with Las Vegas Raiders?
I have to be honest here. The idea of getting Rush to Las Vegas is certainly interesting, but I don’t think there is enough juice to this to make it work for both parties. Then again, desperation can make anything and everything happen quickly. The fact the Cowboys and Raiders play in opposite conferences certainly helps. However, this would be such an incredibly risky trade for both parties.
For the Raiders, they would have to give up either a quality starting-level player or a future draft pick worth far more than Rush could ever hope to command on the open market. And even if they were to land Rush, who is to say he will be the cure all to what ails them? They are still probably going to be the worst team in the AFC West this year. McDaniels’ seat may be getting scalding hot.
As for the Cowboys, this team will only go as far as Prescott will take them, which is the divisional round… While parting ways with Rush could get them that one piece to maybe even think about getting over the top this century, it is not going to be worth it. Rush’s greatest value is to be able to win games when Prescott is unable to go. Dallas also plays in an incredibly strong division now.
Here is what fans should be buying into, as well as a few narratives worth selling.
Fact or Fiction: This will be Tyron Smith’s final season
The current longest-tenured Cowboy and a future Hall of Famer. The Cowboys enjoyed for many years having Tyron Smith lock down the blind side for quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott.
Unfortunately, as Smith got deeper into his career, the injuries began to pile up. The last time he played a full season was in 2015. In contrast, he can still perform at a high level when healthy. At this point, both the team and fans expect the 32-year-old to miss time since it is a rinse-and-repeat-like process.
However, Smith will likely reclaim his position after what the Cowboys saw out of last year’s rookie Tyler Smith. It is safe to assume that the younger Smith could take over, knowing that the older Smith is in a contract year.
We are officially one Hall of Fame lineman away from the 2023 season.
We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 77.
OT Tyron Smith
Born: 12th December 1990 (32) - Los Angeles, California
College: USC Trojans
Draft: 2011, Round 1, Pick 9, Dallas Cowboys
Total Snaps: 401 (35%)
Pass Block Snaps: 239
Run Block Snaps: 162
Tyron Smith started playing at USC in 2008, at first as a backup left tackle. In his sophomore year he got a starting role but at right tackle, and that’s where he stayed for the next two seasons. In his junior year he was named All-PAC 10 first-team and earned the Morris Trophy award for his blocking skills.
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