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Jalen Tolbert and Kellen Moore among 5 storylines to monitor

The Dallas Cowboys come off probably the most disappointing seasons for the reason that stacked 2009 roster underwhelmed. It all appeared culminating to final season. Dak Prescott was again wholesome, the roster appeared impeccable on the offensive facet, and the protection simply wanted to maintain on. Instead, the protection carried the group, and it was the potent offense that lacked, notably within the second half of the season.

Prescott suffered a calf harm, the severity of which wouldn’t be identified till the offseason. But it was the inconsistent speeding assault and general lack of creativity in that space that upset most. Last season was Dallas’ finest likelihood, and now they enter coaching camp in 2022 with a less-talented roster. But if well being stays on their facet and they execute extra persistently, the Cowboys can nonetheless be a contender in a seemingly watered-down NFC.

5 storylines to monitor throughout Dallas Cowboys coaching camp

In 2021, Dallas had large expectations, notably after the season began, and it appeared they’d discovered lightning in a bottle on the protection. And regardless of disappointingly ending the season, they deserved that consequence. San Francisco was the higher group that day.

With that stated, there’s excellent news from final season and for 2022. Dallas completed seventh in offensive EPA per play and third on the defensive facet of the ball. They completed on the prime of Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

While defensive efficiency is about as sticky season to season as a two-day-old bandaid submerged in water, a couple of elements counsel Dallas may replicate theirs this season. The Cowboys performed comparatively unhealthy on the line of defense final season, and their schedule is extremely lenient this season.

But for Cowboys followers, the common season issues little. Can they end the job in January and make it to a convention championship for the primary time in Gen Z’s lifetime?

How concerned are the Cowboys’ offensive rookies?

The Cowboys have by no means been afraid to throw rookies instantly into the hearth and flames. If Dallas is to achieve 2022, they’ll want to depend on their first three draft picks to various levels.

Tyler Smith will undoubtedly be stronger on the level of assault than Connor Williams. The Tulsa deal with strikes inside to left guard, for now, and should be taught shortly. But the Cowboys will arguably want much more manufacturing from their third-round rookie.

Jalen Tolbert should be on the sector with the starters and instantly present competency in his function. Dallas will likely be with out Michael Gallup for a while to begin the season. James Washington ought to fill the function Gallup as soon as had, getting used because the designated downfield menace and intermediate goal.

Tolbert has to considerably fill Amari Cooper’s sneakers. The extra appreciable burden will undoubtedly fall on CeeDee Lamb to elevate his play to the subsequent degree and for Dalton Schultz to proceed being an environment friendly and target-rich tight finish. But Tolbert should acclimate shortly, or Dallas’ passing assault will likely be in bother.

Will Kellen Moore set up some identification?

Admittedly, it is a double-edged sword. Some would say that Kellen Moore is likely one of the finest offensive coordinators within the league, whereas others would scoff at that notion. However, there shan’t be any debate about how spectacular of an offensive thoughts the younger play-caller is.

Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, Andy Reid, and Sean Payton are all great offensive minds. But in contrast to Moore, every has a really overt offensive philosophy, whereas Moore has spent years plucking ideas from the brightest offensive minds on this planet.

Week in and week out, no one is aware of precisely what to count on from the Cowboys’ offense. That makes them tough to recreation plan in opposition to, which an offense ought to attempt to obtain. The different fringe of that sword is the inconsistent execution of ideas, notably between quarterback and receiver, who persistently have been on completely different pages in 2021.

While the offensive outcomes in a 16-17 recreation pattern converse for themselves, there’s a definite lack of “go-to” when issues aren’t going nicely for the Cowboys’ offense in a one-game pattern.

Will we see extra consistency from Moore this season?

Will Moore evolve the speeding assault?

You didn’t suppose we’d simply skim proper over this, did you?

This is well extra irritating than any trick performs or lack of constant thought from Moore. The speeding assault usually seems like an afterthought on this offense. It felt usually static final season.

In truth, (*5*) simply how little the Cowboys utilized movement on the snap, regardless of additionally displaying the constructive EPA impact on movement on the snap in each the cross and run recreation.

With weapons like Tony Pollard and Lamb, there’s no excuse for the shortage of creativity within the run recreation. Being static on the snap is one thing that Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy battled in Green Bay. It’s continued right here in Dallas, whereas Green Bay finds themselves within the prime proper quadrant in that respect now.

A cerebral QB similar to Prescott most likely has a say on this when it comes to the passing assault. Static offense means a static protection, which supplies him a clearer pre-snap image of what protection the protection is wanting to deploy.

But within the run recreation, there are not any negatives. Motion on the snap brings misdirection and doubt into the minds of second-level defenders. It additionally will get the ball into the arms of receivers, who’re extra environment friendly than backs on designed carries, partially due to its novelty.

Oh, and let Pollard contact the ball extra. Good issues occur when Dallas does.

Tyron Smith’s well being

Tyron Smith is likely one of the most bodily gifted offensive tackles ever to play. There aren’t many 300-plus-pound males who search for each alternative to take their shirts off, however he’s one among them. However, whereas he’s chiseled from stone, the All-Pro expertise has endured put on over his 11-year profession.

Since 2015, Smith hasn’t performed greater than 13 video games in a season. His 4 straight 13-game seasons from 2016-2019 became simply 13 video games mixed over the previous two seasons. The shiny facet is that his accidents haven’t been attributable to his again, which had been the difficulty for thus lengthy. Unfortunately, he nonetheless can’t appear to shake the harm bug. So like each time the Cowboys go to Oxnard, there will likely be eyes on the gifted left deal with.

Micah Parsons’ location

There will likely be, or higher be, a couple of on the Cowboys’ beat to chart the place Micah Parsons is spending his time in Oxnard. Is he doing particular person drills with the linebackers or defensive linemen? How a lot time is he spending at every? And the place is he aligned throughout group drills and stay motion?

Parsons might solely be an 88 in Madden, however he’s a 99 on the sector. If he wasn’t mendacity and Parsons was enjoying with a lower-body harm for many of the season in 2021, we’ll be discussing him as the perfect participant within the league after this season. But that’s solely achieved if his utilization stays comparable.

Parsons received’t get that recognition purely off the ball. He wants the pass-rush productiveness he discovered so simply final season. And with a whole offseason to give attention to creating that craft for the primary time since highschool, we may see some terrifying issues from the 23-year-old.

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can learn extra of his work right here and observe him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch.

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