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Concerns over the Dallas Cowboys run defense after the 2021 season

Cowboys’ Biggest Weaknesses Ahead of 2022 NFL Training Camp – Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys gave up a season-high 169 yards on the floor of their Wild Card loss to the 49ers.

Run Defense

While query marks at receiver and alongside the line are merchandise of this offseason, Dallas’ run defense was a weak spot final 12 months. It ranked simply twenty third in yards per carry allowed (4.5) and was significantly dangerous towards the run late in the season.

Dallas surrendered a median of 130 yards per sport over the ultimate 10 weeks of the common season. In its playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, it gave up 149 yards on the floor.

Yet, the Cowboys have accomplished little to bolster their run defense in the offseason. They didn’t draft a linebacker till taking Damone Clark in the fifth spherical and didn’t add a starter in free company. Dallas additionally misplaced inside defender Brent Urban in free company.

The Cowboys could get a lift from the return of 2021 fourth-round choose Jabril Cox, who’s coming off of a torn ACL. However, this can be a weak spot Dallas could have to deal with externally.

Some high quality run defenders—akin to defensive sort out Larry Ogunjobi and linebacker Dont’a Hightower—stay unsigned, and the Cowboys ought to suppose lengthy and onerous about buying considered one of them.

Dallas has $20 million in cap house accessible, in keeping with Spotrac, and utilizing a few of that to deal with the run defense would make a ton of sense. Run defense was a legal responsibility final 12 months, and as issues stand, the Cowboys usually are not poised to be any higher in 2022.

Why 2022 Could be a Big Season for LB Leighton Vander Esch – Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Vander Esch and Jabril Cox are the prime candidates to play linebacker snaps subsequent to Micah Parsons this season.

Thankfully, final 12 months confirmed glimpses of Vander Esch’s rookie type. He was enjoying his greatest ball late into December and was considered one of the few standouts in the Cowboys’ playoff loss to the 49ers. That momentum was sufficient for Dallas to offer Leighton a one-year deal to come back again and show he’s value a fair higher dedication.

What helped Vander Esch have that late-season surge in 2021, and do these components nonetheless exist now? Thankfully, all of those are nonetheless in impact and will have even higher affect this season.

1. Improved Confidence

This is a twofold issue; Vander Esch’s confidence in his well being and in his efficiency.

One of the greatest points we’ve seen in Leighton’s play since 2019 is a hesitance and lack of aggression. This is just pure after being identified with neck points that threaten your profession and past. Unfortunately, timidity doesn’t work for enjoying any NFL place and particularly linebacker.

Additionally, a insecurity after down years causes many gamers to begin second-guessing on the area. Again, this doesn’t work in soccer and will be deadly for linebackers in the open area.

The Vander Esch we noticed at the finish of 2021 seemed much more certain of himself and extra prepared to dive into the fray. Assuming these carry into this season, Leighton ought to constantly be a much more efficient participant.

Cowboys Coach Kellen Moore: Best Play-Caller in NFL? – Mike Fisher,

Kellen Moore is going through numerous stress to maximise the Cowboys expertise on offense.

And someplace off to the aspect is the lingering perception that whereas Moore could be significantly gifted (and that’s the view of the Jones household, for sure, and quarterback Dak Prescott shares that view as Dallas tries to maintain a “top-10 offense’’), Kellen isn’t even the greatest play-caller inside The Star.

That honor might simply go to the head coach, Mike McCarthy, who served as his personal play-caller for a perennial winner in Green Bay.

But alongside comes PFF’s providing of a rating of play-callers in the NFL. … and the man at the very prime could be an nearly consensus choose as a minimum of belonging someplace up there. Pro Football Focus ranks Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid No. 1 in the league as a play-caller.

Who is No. 2? Reid is adopted by Cowboys coordinator Moore.

Then come a bundle of fellows who clearly oversee profitable offenses: Bucs coordinator Byron Leftwich, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Rams head coach Sean McVay and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.

As a gaggle of six, that appears a sound assortment. We may argue that if we have been to survey our personal NFL folks, and media folks, and followers, Shanahan and McVay can be considered as having been ranked too low. And subjectivity being what it’s – and bless PFF’s hearts, this isn’t about analytics close to as a lot because it’s merely “opinion’’ – Kellen Moore’s rating might be the most “controversial’’ of all of them.

Cowboys land both starting cornerbacks on PFF’s top 10 list for press coverage – Todd Brock, The Cowboys Wire

It may not be straightforward for younger cornerbacks like Kelvin Joseph or Daron Bland to see the area a lot in 2022.

Brown’s presence in the prime ten could shock followers who have been able to run the veteran out of city after a poor displaying versus Las Vegas on Thanksgiving. But he’s truly the good complement to Diggs and his fashion of play, adequate to come back in ninth total on this checklist, simply forward of Baltimore’s Anthony Averett.

McQuiston notes:

“While Brown is certainly great at bullying opposing receivers, leading to his four defensive pass interference penalties against the Raiders in 2021, he plays in an advantageous system in Dallas. Trevon Diggs’ presence allows Brown to frequently match up with an opponent’s No. 2 receiver, and the quick pressure the Cowboys get from DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons minimizes how long he has to cover for. So, while Brown is strong in press coverage, his ranking here is likely inflated due to his environment.”

2022 NFL rookie updates: Offseason notes, impressions on all 32 first-round draft picks – Todd Archer, ESPN

Tyler Smith could have a significantly better likelihood to face out when the pads come on at coaching camp, however already has veteran Zack Martin impressed.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Tyler Smith, G

How he has fared thus far: It’s troublesome to guage linemen with out pads on, however Smith has proven he might be prepared to begin the opener at left guard and in addition noticed some first-team work at left sort out, giving Tyron Smith some relaxation.

“As a rookie your head can swim a little bit because of different things that happen at guard and then you kick out to tackle and it’s ‘Oh, there’s a lot of space out there,’ but he’s done a nice job,” All-Pro guard Zack Martin mentioned. “The No. 1 thing is he works hard and he’s eager to learn. We can work with that all day.” — Todd Archer

5 of the best undrafted free agents in Dallas Cowboys history – Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys at present solely have one kicker, UDFA Jonathan Garibay from Texas Tech.

5. Dan Bailey, Okay, 2011-2017

Bailey was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State who turned out to be a Pro Bowl kicker. From 2005-2010, the Cowboys struggled to search out the proper kicker. When Dallas picked him up forward of the 2011 season, he needed to compete with three different kickers with the intention to earn a spot.

That season, Bailey set a franchise rookie document with 32 area objectives made and tied a Cowboys document with 26 area purpose makes an attempt made in a row. His unbelievable accuracy all through his first three years earned him a large (for a kicker) seven-year, $25 million contract again in 2014.

For a few years, Bailey and Justin Tucker went face to face as the greatest kickers in the league. Since the crew determined to chop him in 2017, the Cowboys have but to discover a longstanding, dependable kicker like him. Bailey supplied longevity and sudden success that the crew in all probability by no means imagined they’d get out of a UDFA.

Hopefully, the similar factor occurs in 2022 for Texas Tech kicker Jonathan Garibay.

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