The regular season is closely approaching in what we expect to be another exciting ride for the Dallas Cowboys. Is this the year that things finally come together? Or, could something unexpected take the wheels off the 2023 season? While the vibe heavily favors a good season versus a letdown, we really don’t know how things will play out. Today, we’ve decided to examine the full range of outcomes for the upcoming season.
Because we want to end on a positive note, let's knock out the bad stuff first.
- Offensive line battles injuries
Ever since the Chaz Green debacle, this element has always been in play, especially when their veteran left tackle Tyron Smith continues to endure injuries year after year. To the Cowboys' credit, they’ve done a fantastic job finding quality swing tackles in recent years, but will that trend continue?
The state of the Cowboys offensive line was already facing some adversity. The team’s top swing tackle option entering training camp was Chuma Edoga, but he suffered a hyperextended knee early on and has been working himself back to health. The team’s top interior blocker was looking to be Josh Ball, but a hip injury has ended his year. The team now will rely on a couple of rookies, Asim Richards and T.J. Bass, to fill in if help is needed. And most recently we learned that starting left guard/backup left tackle Tyler Smith is dealing with a hamstring issue.
If multiple starters along the Cowboys' starting five get banged up, this could create a hairy situation that hamstrings (no pun intended) this otherwise talented offense.
2. The Kellen Moore departure ends up hurting the offense
Addition by subtraction! We are all just assuming that moving on from Kellen Moore will be a good thing for the Cowboys, but have we considered the potential outcome if it’s not? It may have appeared stale at times, but sometimes it’s hard to fully understand how much of that was playcalling and how much was execution.
Mike McCarthy has a nice track record of success running the show, but those weren’t necessarily on display during his final years in Green Bay. Frankly, we don’t really know what to expect with this and are just hoping for the best.
The good news is that when you look at all the layers of goodness this offense has at it’s disposal (more talented receivers, solid tight ends, dynamic players like Deuce Vaughn, KaVonta Turpin, and Hunter Luepke), it always seems impossible to mess up.
3. Missed kicks prove costly in crunch time
For the second straight season, the Cowboys enter the year with a complete wild card at kicker. Last year, things worked out nicely for Brett Maher (that is, until the playoffs). And while the Cowboys have all the confidence in the world in rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey, he’s an unproven commodity.
Ideally, the Cowboys are playing so well that the reliance on a good kicker doesn’t weigh heavily on their chances to succeed, but things don’t always go as planned. If the team finds themselves in some close games and they have a young kicker who struggles, it could be problematic.
Alright, enough of that doom and gloom. Let’s get to the good stuff.
1. Dak Prescott is an MVP candidate
We mentioned all the weapons this offense has and no one will benefit more from them than Dak Prescott. The wide receiver upgrade alone is phenomenal. The ever-rising talent of CeeDee Lamb, the constant helping of goodness that is Brandin Cooks, the improved health of Michael Gallup, and the corner-turning development of Jalen Tolbert all point to what could be a dangerous passing game.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ll see a little more of the explosive Tony Pollard, and the team has many versatile pieces on this offense, and most of them will be ignited by the arm of Prescott. We all expect Dak to play better this season. If that happens, there’s a chance he could really help this offense take off with such a stacked cast of characters.
2. Micah Parsons leads the Cowboys top-ranked defense
While Prescott is the straw that stirs the drink for the offense, the team also has a big influencer on the other side. Micah Parsons is entering year three and he just keeps getting better. He was so disruptive in training camp that the Cowboys couldn’t even run plays like they wanted to.
As great as he is, this could be an even bigger year for one of the league’s best defensive players. And with an already strong unit getting even stronger, this year’s version may be the best we’ve seen since the Super Bowl-winning teams.
3. The McCarthy/Schottenheimer combo is just what the doctor ordered
Better weapons, better quarterback play, how about better offensive playcalling? That is what we’re hoping for this season. Schottenheimer has already stated that this was a great offense and there wasn’t a lot of tweaking needed, but if the new duo can just fine-tune a couple of things, it could be the thing that breaks the levee and unleashes the offense's full potential. And, if the offense does return to dominating ways, it’s going to put even more pressure on the opposing teams to keep up and that will further exacerbate #2 on this list.
Micah Parsons wins Defensive Player of the Year
Tyler Smith makes his first Pro Bowl
Brandin Cooks becomes the first-ever NFL receiver with 1,000 yards receiving with five different teams