The Dallas Cowboys’ 2021 season can go a number of different directions. Even though Dallas finished second to last in the worst division in football last season, they could feasibly be a playoff team just one year later.
There’s a number of contributing factors as to why Dallas will bounce back in 2021 like: A healthy QB1, a healthy offensive line, a smarter defense, an unstoppable offense, and the second easiest schedule in the league.
Pro Football Focus highlighted one player who is the ‘X factor’ for the Dallas Cowboys this year.
While Dak Prescott’s health is clearly the most important factor in whether or not the Dallas Cowboys will be successful in 2021, picking a QB as the official “X factor” is basically stating the obvious. Instead, PFF went with a player not lining up under center to highlight. And for the 2021 Dallas Cowboys, that X factor player is none other than Randy Gregory.
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Gregory, the Dallas Cowboys second round pick in 2015, has had a rough NFL career. Caught on the wrong side of the NFL drug policy, Gregory has spent more time suspended than on the field. But now with his mind right and the policy corrected, Gregory is set up to enjoy his most successful season to-date.
For the first time in his career, Gregory is building on something and packing in a full offseason on the heels of a strong regular season. He’s never played more than 300 snaps in a season and even last year failed to crack 25% of the snaps on defense. All of that is expected to change in 2021.
The Dallas Cowboys fundamentally changed their defense this offeason. Gone is Mike Nolan and his criminally terrible defense. In comes players’ coach Dan Quinn and his familiar Cover 3. The Dallas Cowboys are committed to giving Randy Gregory a much bigger workload in 2021 and as such, PFF considers him to be pivotal to the Dallas Cowboys‘ fortunes this season.
Down the stretch, Gregory was one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the NFL. Playing as Quinn’s LEO will only add to his opportunities to pressure the passer this year.
With one of the top offenses in the NFL, Dallas expects to be playing in a lot of shootouts in 2021. This provides prime opportunities for pass rushers and should be the perfect situation for Gregory to have a career season.
Dak Prescott and Trevon Diggs may be the two most important players for the Cowboys in 2021, but the player that has the best ability to put the Cowboys over the top looks like it’s Randy Gregory. Will he live up to the hype? My money says yes and for the sake of a playoff run, we better hope and pray it happens. As Dan Ruppert just pointed out this morning, depth is the real issue at pass-rusher and Dallas actually needs their top two ends to be strong.
What do you think? Do you have a different X-factor?
- Published on 07/06/2021 at 12:46 PM
- Last updated at 07/06/2021 at 12:51 PM