Entering the 2023 campaign, quarterback Dak Prescott acknowledges that the team has made improvements in the arsenal he has at his disposal.
Sure, they had an offense that had their share of Pro Bowlers, but when it came to actual playmaking options with the ball in their hands, they didn’t have enough.When the game ended, CeeDee Lamb was the only real threat for the 49ers defense, especially after Tony Pollard suffered an injury just before halftime. San Francisco capitalized by focusing more on Lamb as they squeezed out the life of the Cowboys’ season.
Fast forward to now, as the Cowboys find themselves just over a week until the start of the season and there seems to be a major upgrade in the playmaking department, especially with the amount of speed added to the table.
“Yeah, a lot of speed. You can name a lot of guys,” Dak said of this year’s offense. “(We have a) few guys that have speed but are playmakers. Speed is one thing, but to be a playmaker is another thing.” For starters, Brandin Cooks arrived through a trade. He’s got six 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and still claims to run in the 4.3 range. Everything we saw in training camp suggests he still has the “take-the-top-off” kind of speed.
Not only is Pollard back at tailback, but Deuce Vaughn has added an electric juice to the backfield, at least that’s how it appears based off the preseason. All he did in college was make plays.
The knock on Vaughn of course, is his lack of height, and the same could be said for KaVontae Turpin. But the Pro Bowl return specialist seems to have a larger role on offense this year.
Why Mike McCarthy likened Dallas Cowboys rookie Hunter Luepke to this former Packers FB - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Head coach Mike McCarthy has an affinity for fullbacks and knows a thing or two about the position. Regarding his newly-found fullback Hunter Leupke, the head coach gave him a glowing comparison.
When the Dallas Cowboys signed Hunter Luepke as an undrafted rookie out of North Dakota State and gave him $200,000 in guaranteed money you knew they had a vision and plan for the player.
Picture former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn, who played under then-Packers coach Mike McCarthy from 2007 to 2015. Like Luepke, Kuhn starred in college at as small school (Shippensburg) and arrived in the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But he didn’t find his groove until he landed with the Packers as an ideal fullback in the McCarthy’s West Coast offense. He became a fan favorite in Green Bay because of his ability as a lead blocker in the run game, pass catcher and roles special teams.
“John is an excellent comparable because that has been used in our conversations,” McCarthy said. “If you recall, John was very productive, productive one-back runner at Shippensburg and Hunter has those skills. His versatility is what we’re excited about. He gives us the lead blocking ability in two back. He’s got good hands, good receiver, very bright. The protection part of it he has picked up for rookie very well.”
“And then there’s a lot of high special teams value. You have guy like John who can be a staple over there for four or five years. I see Hunter in the same light.”
But not because it’s Trey Lance, because it’s the Cowboys.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Young explained he wasn’t a fan of the trade:
“I have PTSD,” Young said in an interview with the Chronicle. “I feel like we should never trade anything to the Dallas Cowboys ever again after the Charles Haley disastrous mistake. You can easily say we traded away some Super Bowls when we did that. That’s an overstatement. But I felt that way.”
Jourdan Lewis isn’t quite ready to action but the Cowboys are willing to keep him on the active roster until he is. They also have a viable option in the meantime.
He won’t be ready for week one, but could be ready within the next few weeks. Lewis missed all of training camp and the preseason while recovering from a Lisfranc injury. I and others thought Lewis came off the PUP list a bit early. It was surprising.
He will still need a handful of weeks to get game-ready, so the one pushback I have is adding him to the 53-man roster and not just starting him on the PUP list. He is going to miss the first three weeks of the probably season, anyway.
Once ready, Lewis will compete with DaRon Bland for snaps as the slot cornerback. With an already loaded cornerback room, adding Lewis back just a few weeks into the season will be huge. This defense has a chance to be special.
“I feel really good. The best I have in a while,” Lewis said. “The tough part is over. I can do all the breaks and cuts and stuff like that, it’s just now getting back in the fold and actually playing football against people.” It will take some time to get him remotely close to the player he was before the injury, but I know Dan Quinn will have a game plan for him.
Bland will start the year as the starter, but Lewis should have his chance to get that job back. I love Bland, but both are great with dime-man coverage and the type of defense Quinn runs. All of this will iron out once Lewis can step on the field again, but for now, he will continue to practice for the next couple of weeks.
Fantasy football outlook: Which Cowboys players should you target? Who should you avoid? – Dan Rogers, Blogging the Boys
Your fantasy home draft is right around the corner. Fight the urge to be a homer in your home league. Check out this pre-draft primer for which Cowboys to pick up and pass up when you’re on the clock.
Current position rank: 11
Draft Value: HIGH
Dak Prescott is one of the most disrespected players in the league and that disrespect carries over into the fantasy world. The mainstream sports media has done a great job convincing people that Prescott is just your average Joe player. And recency bias that contains games due to injury and a league-leading 15 interceptions last year has many people looking for better QB options.
Look, we’re not here to tell you that Dak is an elite fantasy QB. What’s important here is that Prescott is better than he’s being given credit for. When you consider that his wide receiving options have been seriously upgraded from a year ago, the upside here is enticing. Prescott has 5,000+ passing yards, 30+ TDs capability. And while those numbers aren’t likely to happen in a more conservative-driven McCarthy offense, he should still be able to produce good numbers this season.
Current position rank: 72
Draft Value: HIGH
The rookie is the handcuff you want and he’s going dirt cheap. While his everyday role doesn’t make him fantasy-relevant, things change considerably if something happens to Pollard. Currently, Rico Dowdle is the RB2 choice and should see more touches early on, but he has a defined role in this offense that brings limited upside. If Pollard were to get hurt, Vaughn’s opportunities would increase and he would offer more big-play ability. There have always been fantasy points to be had in the Cowboys backfield and Vaughn could be one of the top in-season waiver wire adds if he’s given a larger role.
Blogging The Boys Podcast Network and YouTube Channel
We offer a different show every single day on the Blogging The Boys podcast network, and on weekdays we offer two different shows every single day.
- Monday: 1st and 10 with Tony Catalina & Aidan Davis
- Monday: Hidden Yardage with Mark Lane and Sean Martin
- Tuesday: The Writer’s Block with Brandon Loree, David Howman, Brandon Clements and Chris Halling
- Tuesday: BTB Roundtable with various BTB Staffers
- Wednesday: NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton
- Wednesday: Talkin’ The Star with Connor Livesay and Joey Ickes
- Thursday: The Ocho with RJ Ochoa
- Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
- Friday: Girls Talkin’ Boys with Kelsey Charles and Meg Murray
- Friday: The Star Seminar with Danny Phantom and Rabblerousr
- Saturday: The World’s Team with Meg Murray and Paul Stewart
We also offer live shows every weekday afternoon on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel.
The Blogging The Boys podcast network is available on all major podcast platforms.