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Cowboys news: Two defensive players tabbed for breakout seasons

The latest Dallas Cowboys news, with training camp right around the corner.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Who Makes the Biggest Year 2 Jump? - Staff,

The Cowboys front seven has plenty of proven talent, but if any of these breakout players become stars, it could be one of the best in the league.

Kurt Daniels: There sure are plenty of options. On one end of the spectrum, Tyler Smith was solid in 2022, but could he become a powerhouse in Year Two? Then there’s Jalen Tolbert, who basically had a redshirt season. Might he figure things out now? In between are the likes of DaRon Bland, Damone Clark, KaVonte Turpin, Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Each is expected to play a major role. But Sam Williams seems poised to really break out. After four sacks in his rookie campaign, he’s shooting for 10 this year, which, in truth, might just be setting the bar low.

Patrik Walker: I’m going to have to go with either Sam Williams or Damone Clark here. I know, I know, you want me to choose one so I’ll go 51/49 toward Clark and here’s why: I believe Williams has a breakout season that might touch 10 sacks, but I don’t know yet how his rep count will look. I know Clark is going to start beside LVE, and he’s coming off of a full offseason of work with Dan Quinn (he was rehabbing in Year 1 and still made waves on a short year). Clark is primed to detonate.

Mickey Spagnola: I’m going to go with Damone Clark, who did more his rookie season than expected since he had pre-draft neck fusion surgery and did not get elevated from Non-Football Injury to the 53-man roster until Oct. 26, in time for the eighth game of the season. And without any offseason work or training camp, Clark in 10 games started five and finished with 50 tackles and two forced fumbles. He’s been working in the offseason with the first team defense alongside Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker and watch out for the second-year guy to make a huge splash.

Ranking all 32 NFL teams by QB turnover: Browns, Texans, Rams most desperate for stability entering 2023 - Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports

The Cowboys have a chance to climb even higher in these rankings under Dak Prescott, if he finds playoff success under Mike McCarthy.

In an effort to identify the teams hungriest for long-term stability under center, we’ve ranked all 32 clubs according to how much QB turnover they’ve endured since the 2013 season, or the last 10 seasons. The teams with the most starting QBs during that span rank highest, signifying the revolving door they’ve had at the position. Note: We counted a QB if he started at least four (4) games in a single season, or roughly a quarter of the current regular-season schedule.

The rest of the rankings

17. Cowboys (6)

18. Steelers (6)

19. Buccaneers (5)

20. Cardinals (5)

21. Bills (5)

22. Bengals (4)

23. Raiders (3)

24. Giants (3)

25. Lions (3)

26. Ravens (3)

27. Patriots (3)

28. Packers (3)

29. Falcons (3)

30. Chargers (2)

31. Seahawks (2)

32. Chiefs (2)

At the very bottom, most of the teams have been buoyed by longtime franchise QBs, like Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Matthew Stafford (Lions), Eli Manning (Giants), Derek Carr (Raiders) and Philip Rivers (Chargers).

The bigger question with these, particularly those whose longtime starters have since retired or moved on, is how long they can remain at the back of the pack in terms of QB turnover. Ten years from now, who will still be standing?

The best/worst cases for the Cowboys offensive line for the upcoming season - Dan Rogers, Blogging the Boys

In the first year of a new offensive scheme, it’s imperative the Cowboys set the offensive line right and stay healthy up front.


A left guard emerges

A best-case scenario starts with healthy years by the tackles, but that’s a gift that keeps on giving because it would allow second-year rising star Tyler Smith to play left guard. Remember, this was the plan for last year, but injuries derailed that early. What if we finally get to see this plan go into effect and Smith mauls people? The Cowboys have no other obvious answer at left guard and it would be great if one of their strongest offensive linemen was able to bully defenders in the trenches.

Youngsters on the rise

Continuing with the theme of Tyler Smith dominating would be watching him put together a breakout season. He played more snaps than anyone on the team last year, and this kid’s just getting started. Since 2010, the Cowboys have drafted nine players who have become an All-Pro and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes number 10.

Add the continued growth of Steele, another Pro Bowl bid from Tyler Biadasz and maybe even a surprise from a player like Matt “Let’s go!” Waletzko or UDFA T.J. Bass and things could look awful bright for the future of the offensive line.

Coach Rankings: Unfair Trashing Keeps Cowboys’ McCarthy Out of Top 10? - Riley Shepard,

The Cowboys being a more consistent playoff team under McCarthy has been a big step up, but now the HC in charge of calling plays faces even more pressure.

CBS Sports recently ranked McCarthy as the No. 19 best head coach in the NFL heading into 2023, below the Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel and above Kevin Stefanski from the Cleveland Browns.

“It takes more than just an elite QB to oversee 10 different double-digit winning seasons across two teams, so McCarthy deserves more credit than he gets,” CBS Sports writes. ”What keeps him from the upper echelon here is the recent crunch-time resume: an old-school play-caller with a conservative bent, he hasn’t guided any of his elite rosters to an NFC title game appearance since 2016.”

McCarthy’s lack of postseason success, especially with the caliber talented rosters he’s had, is a talking point. But ... he’s posted a 11-10 playoff record over his 17-year NFL head coaching career. That puts him on a very short list of active coaches who’ve a) won double-digit playoff games and b) have winning records in the postseason. (Bill Belichick, Andy Reid and John Harbaugh are the other three.)

Meanwhile ... Two men ranked above McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell (No. 17) and Carolina Panthers’ Frank Reich (No. 16), comparatively have combined for three playoff-game appearances over eight seasons - notching a 1-2 record over their careers.

Cowboys Rumors: Netflix to Win $50M ‘Bidding War’ for Rights to Jerry Jones Series - Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys will always find a way to be in the media at all times.

Over that period, Jones became one of the NFL’s biggest behind-the-scenes power brokers—a status he still holds today despite the Cowboys not making a Super Bowl since that stretch.

Belloni noted the docuseries will feature never-before-seen footage of the early 90s Cowboys and has drawn comparisons to The Last Dance, the ESPN docuseries focused on the rise and fall of the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty.

Much like those Bulls, the 90s Cowboys were filled with internal strife—much of it coming down to who got the public credit for building the dynasty. It will be interesting to see if the film becomes the same type of viral phenomenon as The Last Dance given the interest in all things NFL.

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