The Dallas Cowboys just opened up training camp in Oxnard and they have a lot to accomplish in a very short period of time. Here are seven questions facing the offense.
Training camp is all about answering questions. Every team rolls into camp with a full docket of questions. And every team hopes to answer as many of those questions as they can before embarking on the regular season.
Here are five questions facing the offense:
Can Allen Hurns really replace Dez?
Panic befell Cowboys Nation when Dez Bryant was released. Not only was this fan favorite now gone, but his replacement was nowhere in sight. Eventually we’d accept Allen Hurns was preemptively added as his replacement. And eventually the Cowboys sold us on the idea of having a group of reliable receivers instead of leaning on the traditional No 1.
I admit. They sold me. I believe this is a move for the better but that doesn’t mean I’m not legitimately worried. But hey, at least we have old reliable #82 to fall back on…oh wait…
Can anyone fill Jason Witten’s empty shoes?
Jason Witten is going to be nearly impossible to replace. That’s why I predict the position itself is going to fundamentally change. But even if the tight end plays a smaller role, the Cowboys are going to need three capable guys who can catch the ball in traffic and seal the edge in the running game. How that shakes out is a pretty big mystery.
Will Dak Prescott be a franchise arm or bus driver?
The most important question of all will be how Dak Prescott bounces back from his sophomore campaign. He had a brilliant first 24 games to his career but his last eight were abysmal. Dak has all the tools to be successful and it seems the coaching staff has stacked the deck to play to his strengths. But it’s ultimately going to be up to him to become that franchise arm. If he’s nothing more than a bus driver, the Cowboys may dedicate extra time to developing the young arms behind him (ala Kirk Cousins in Washington)
How will the QB depth shake out?
When the starting QB struggles, the QB2 becomes the most popular man in Dallas. My money is on Dak succeeding but just in case, I’m keeping a watchful eye on the depth. Cooper Rush doesn’t have the most impressive intangibles but he has a Romo-esque swagger that’s difficult to deny. Mike White has some real QB1 traits, but he’s not as athletic as the Dak or Coop. All three QBs hold good potential and nothing is more fun than watching young talent develop.
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How will Tavon Austin be used?
I discussed this specifically on Wednesday. As a web back Austin is going to stretch the field horizontally to spread out defenses. This will keep teams from overloading the box – helping Ezekeil Elliott and Dak Prescott in the process.
Seeing this actually happen is going to be a thing to behold. The Cowboys spoke of Austin serving a Dunbar-like-role. It’s going to be much more than that. With the addition of the RPO, this is going to be a short-to-intermediate passing attack that leans on YAC for big plays. This is all possible because of Austin (whether he has the ball in his hands or not).
Can Michael Gallup, Cedric Wilson, or Dalton Schultz make an instant impact?
After losing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the pressure will be on the rookie pass-catchers to make an instant impact. Gallup is assured of a roster spot, sure, but Dallas needs more from him than just depth. They need him to contend for a starting role now.
Schultz appears to be the best-rounded of all the Cowboys’ TEs. But is he strong enough to put them to work against real NFL talent? Cedric Wilson dominated with Boise State but can he make that same big-play impact against faster NFL competition?
Will Rico Gathers be given a fair shake?
One of the biggest questions of all revolves around a guy currently on the outside looking in. Rico gathers is No 4 on a team that’s probably only keeping three. Rico is a giant of a man with speed and fluidity uncommon for someone his size. The problem is we don’t know if he can block.
Rico Gathers has a lot to prove this training camp and much of it will be difficult for us fans and media to grade (because we don’t know the called offensive and defensive assignments). We know he can make the highlight play but can he do the other things. Has the Cowboys coaching staff already given up on him?
- Published on 07/26/2018 at 22:01 PM
- Last updated at 07/26/2018 at 20:19 PM