The staff writer from the mothership answer one burning question regarding quarterback Dak Prescott.
Kurt Daniels: Remember that Dak Prescott was in the MVP conversation early in the 2020 season before his campaign was cut short due to that brutal injury. And there’s no reason to think he can’t enter into the running again. The key may be what he has around him. Can the offensive line stay healthy? Will the young tight ends contribute? Is there a ground game? And most importantly, can he and Mike McCarthy get on the same wavelength? That might be a lot to ask, but if he gets some help, Prescott has shown the ability to put up MVP-caliber numbers.
Patrik Walker: Prescott could put himself back in the MVP conversation by simply cutting his interception tally from 2022 in half, and that’s entirely possible when considering it was an aberration to begin with. Assuming he does, the addition of Brandin Cooks (and boy did that combo look good in minicamp) and Deuce Vaughn instantly make the offense more dangerous, along with a tight end room populated by three playmakers. Toss in CeeDee Lamb’s dominance and if Michael Gallup is back to form, and we might all quickly be reminded that Prescott was in the MVP conversation only two short years ago.
Nick Eatman: This goes back to the No. 3 question about Micah winning DPOY. He’s either got to play out of his mind and have statistics that are just off the chart – or the Cowboys have to be the best team in the league and have the No. 1 seed in the NFC. That seems more likely than Dak having incredible stats because that’s just not his game usually. He can put up big numbers at times, but he’ll also throw for 220 yards, two touchdowns in a decisive win. I think for Dak, the Cowboys have to be the best team in the NFC and he’s got to be the main reason for that. Not out of the question. If they win, he’ll have a chance.
Why the Dallas Cowboys Face More Pressure Than Any Team in NFL Entering 2023 Season - Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
America’s Team isn’t new the spotlight and unfamiliar with the attention of being the most visible sports franchise in the world. However, this year the Cowboys face immense pressure to make noise late in the season.
The ingredients are supposed to all be there. Highly accomplished quarterback making $40 million per year in his prime. Highly skilled offensive line featuring two potential Hall of Famers in Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. Deep receiving corps highlighted by 24-year-old emerging superstar CeeDee Lamb and veteran Brandin Cooks. Pro Bowl running back. And a defense that ranked No. 2 in the NFL in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders thanks to Pro Bowl campaigns from Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs and DeMarcus Lawrence in 2022.
Overall, despite the fact said quarterback, Dak Prescott, missed five games due to injury, the Cowboys ranked sixth in total DVOA and fifth in point differential while winning 12 games last year.
With Cooks, accomplished cornerback Stephon Gilmore and first-round defensive tackle Mazi Smith on board, this year’s team should be as good if not better, especially if Prescott can get back on track. And yet it’s hard to buy in considering that the franchise hasn’t made a conference title game, let alone the Super Bowl, in 27 years.
During that span, the Cowboys have won just five total playoff games—all in the Wild Card Round.
Changing that probably starts with Prescott, who threw a league-high 15 interceptions in just 12 games in 2022 and has missed 17 total games in the last three seasons. When the 29-year-old is healthy and at his best, he’s a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. But that often hasn’t been the case since he landed that four-year, $160 million deal two offseasons ago.
The battle to earn the last few spots on the roster will be filled with drama. Here’s a preview of the receivers fighting to make the team and where they stand currently.
Established Starter(s): CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup
Battle for Backup: KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Tolbert, Simi Fehoko, Dennis Houston, Jalen Brooks, Jalen Moreno-Cropper
The top three wide receivers on the depth chart are locked in. CeeDee Lamb is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and is primed for his best season now that he’s eligible for an extension. Brandin Cooks, also known as “Mr. 1K”, was acquired by trade in an aggressive move not typical for the Cowboys’ front office.
Terrible quarterback play last year in Houston resulted in Cooks missing out on the 1,000 yard milestone for just the second time in eight seasons. Michael Gallup was not yet recovered from an ACL injury when Dallas decided to sign him to an expensive contract. His 2022 season was spent trying to get back on his feet, and Dallas expects him to return to form. Beyond those top three, the remaining roster spots are wide open for the taking. Those roster spots will be taken by three, maybe four of the following hopeful players.
Everyone knows KaVontae Turpin’s story at this point. He was the MVP of the USFL, and his elusiveness won him a job as the primary returner for the Cowboys in 2022. One thing the fan base was clamoring for the whole season was to see him more involved in the offense.
People forget he played an entire season in the USFL, and was barely able to rest his feet before joining the Cowboys. There’s a reason he wasn’t involved in the offense. He was tired! Now with a full offseason to rest, Turpin will be given the opportunity for a larger offensive role.
The second year player out of Southern Alabama was deemed to be NFL ready when drafted in the 3rd round last season. As Maury Povich would say, the results determined that was a lie. Tolbert famously finished the season with only two catches for 12 yards in just eight active games. He showed delays in picking up the playbook, and struggled to get open in his limited opportunities. The young wide receiver has spent a good chunk of the offseason working closely with Dak Prescott in the DakYard.
6 Dallas Cowboys land in Pro Football Network’s NFL Top 100 players list of 2023 - Brian Martin, Blogging the Boys
These Cowboys were named by Pro Football Network (PFN) among the top 100 players in the NFL entering the 2023 season and Blogging the Boys’ Brian Martin assesses where the Cowboys rank on PFN’s list.
84) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Few players have the ability to improve their stock in 2023 as much as CeeDee Lamb. His route-running prowess and post-catch ability make him one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL. The problem with Lamb has been consistency.
Giving up on routes, running the wrong ones, and suffering a few concentration drops hurt what could have been an insanely productive 2022 despite the lack of help around him in the passing game. Brandin Cooks could open things up, and if Lamb can come out in 2023 the way he finished in 2022, he’ll be one of the most productive pass catchers in the NFL.
This seems a little low for CeeDee Lamb, however, the criticism of the Cowboys #1 WR rings true. No. 88 possesses a talent to be as good as any other receiver in the league, but until he comes much more consistent with his overall game certain issues may continue to plague him.
69) Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott hasn’t had much better luck with injuries than Jackson has since 2020. The veteran QB broke his ankle in 2020 and his thumb in the first game of 2022. Although he went 8-4 as a starter last season, Prescott had a down year. While many of his interceptions were the product of poor communication or bad luck, he was more inconsistent as a passer last season. But with the addition of Brandin Cooks and, more importantly, speed to the offensive attack, expectations haven’t been this high for a Cowboys team in some time.
After the way the 2022 season played out for Dak Prescott, coming in at No. 69 seems pretty accurate. With the addition of Brandin Cooks to the passing game and with hopefully better luck staying healthy, there’s no reason to believe Dallas’ QB won’t have a bounce back season in 2023.
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