Dallas Cowboys: 3 pivotal people in Cowboys Camp

. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

For the third time in franchise history, the Dallas Cowboys have been featured on the award-winning HBO sports program “Hard Knocks”. As with any real life behind the scenes footage, you’re going to see unexpected things that you didn’t know existed with your favorite team, players and coaches.

The good thing about “Hard Knocks” is that they do a fantastic job of filming the small things and capturing players and coaches personalities. For example, I didn’t know one of the Cowboys defensive line coaches, Aden Durde, was from England and has an amusing accent. Whether it is for dramatic purposes or not, the players and coaches come across as being realistic.

The Dallas Cowboys are on the right path to a successful season because these three people are connected.

Because “Hard Knocks” is so focused on capturing the realness of the Dallas Cowboys, we can see things we otherwise wouldn’t notice. I’ve identified three positives from Cowboys training camp that will go a long way in making this team a legitimate NFC contender.

Note: There are several positives to pick from the Cowboys training camp, but I chose these three because of their roles/positions and importance of how they will ultimately affect the success of the team.

And since he’s coaching one of the best offenses in the entire league, Coach Big Mac is not going to let his players play like “High School Harry” and “Charlie Fool Around” under any circumstances.

Mike McCarthy, head coach, standout skipper

Until I watched “Hard Knocks”, my perception of head coach Mike McCarthy was of a mild mannered coach who rarely raised his voice and was not the motivational type. In other words, just a boring Super Bowl-winning head coach who was able to coach a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre and a future HOFer and in the Grinch from Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers).

But after watching the first two episodes of “Hard Knocks”, I view Coach Big Mac far differently from the way my friend and site expert Reid Hanson views him  (LOL). Reid explains so eloquently about how undisciplined Dallas’ players are and the mistakes they’re making, and that Coach Big Mac needs to hold them accountable and cut out this foolery before it becomes a liability.

Although I agree with Reid wholeheartedly in the undisciplined part, I saw Coach Big Mac give a fiery speech that showed me not only does he have a pulse, but that he demands the best from his players and then some. I saw a coach that will yank a player out of the game if they’re not playing all out and continue to make dumb mistakes.

In the first episode of “Hard Knocks”, Coach Big Mac talked to Dallas’ players before the Hall of Fame game about how he didn’t won’t his players behaving like two fictional characters with bad behavior. Coach Big Mac used some colorful language to describe these fictional characters and it was beyond funny.

If Dallas’ players continue to act like the fictional characters Coach Big Mac described in the team meeting, they won’t be playing and if they keep it up (depending on the player), they won’t make it out of training camp-let alone the team.

For some of the people that don’t like Coach Big Mac and point to his firing as the Green Bay Packers coach as him being a failure, this man has more to prove this upcoming season than any player or coach in the entire NFL. Period.

The pressure for Coach Mac to produce not only a winning record with an ultra-talented offense, but to go beyond the second round of the playoffs with an unpredictable defense is akin to asking a rookie quarterback and first-year head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl.

Coach Big Mac knows his reputation is on the line and he wants to prove to Jerry Jones, his critics, and Cowboys Nation that winning a Super Bowl with Rodgers was not luck. And since he’s coaching one of the best offenses in the entire league, Coach Big Mac is not going to let his players play like “High School Harry” and “Charlie Fool Around” under any circumstances.

CeeDee Lamb, WR1A/WR1

CeeDee Lamb balled out last season while catching passes from four different quarterbacks. The former first rounder recorded 935 receiving yards on 74 receptions, scored a total of six touchdowns, averaged 12.6 yards a reception, and was targeted 111 times.

Targeted 111 times and caught 74 passes while playing with a total of four quarterbacks and three of them were back-ups- at best. PLEASE LET THAT SINK IN PEOPLE! MY GAWD!

Since training camp has started, Lamb is displaying the skill set of a Pro Bowl receiver. Lamb is making ridiculously acrobatic catches while being blanketed by different corners. I don’t want to hear anything about the quality of corner that’s covering him because Lamb is catching under thrown balls, balls over the corner, and running underneath passes as if someone placed it into his hands.

Lamb’s growth is so evident that Dak Prescott even mentioned how easy it is to throw passes to him, and that connection should give every defensive coordinator nightmares. Because if Lamb makes the leap to WR1A like I and many others expect, Dallas’ offense will be beyond unstoppable. Most defenses have to adjust their coverage for a team that has only one WR1, but how do you defend an offense with three WR1’s? (Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup).

Further, Lamb can play in the slot, too, and I’ll wait while you find a defensive back that can consistently cover Lamb from the slot without holding and picking up a pass interference call. Sorry, not even All Pro Jalen Ramsey can cover a talent like Lamb consistently without holding.

An elite receiver playing in the slot is hard to cover simply because corners don’t have the advantage of putting their hands on the receiver at the line of scrimmage. That favors the receiver all day long, and with Lamb’s talent…..

It just makes Dallas’ offense more potent because Coop is the best route runner in the league and Gallup will stretch the field like plastic. Washington Football Team has a top-tier defense with pass rushers galore, but they’re going to have their hands full with Lamb emerging as WR1 and the other receiving threats to boot. And with Dak throwing to Lamb and co….

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Dak Prescott, the ultimate and unquestioned team leader

During Dallas’ press conferences, Dak says all of the right things and uses corporate phrases as if he’s making a commercial as Dallas’ franchise quarterback. But after watching Dak’s attitude on “Hard Knocks”, I’m more inclined to believe that the real Dak is the one from “Hard Knocks” than the one who looks like a good candidate to marry your daughter.

In the first episode, Dak shows his competitive and serious side because he can’t take any snaps and uses some choice words to one of the backup quarterbacks. And I loved Dak’s response because you could feel his passion to be the best quarterback out there by taking all of the snaps-regardless of having a strained shoulder.

It hyped me the way up.

What Dak exemplified is that he will hold any of his teammates accountable and correct them when need be, and Dak is not about to bite his tongue when it comes to the coaching staff, either. If it was up to Dak, he would continue to throw the ball with a strained shoulder.

After signing a mega contract, how many quarterbacks will further risk injury to their throwing arm? Not many. That fiery desire to succeed at any cost is something I’ll take that any day from America’s Team quarterback.

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In conclusion,

All eyes are on Coach Big Mac, Lamb, and Dak. These three have a vital role to take Dallas up and beyond an NFC East crown and through the playoffs.

Coach Big Mac has the expertise to guide Dak to being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL-along with calling the right plays to make up for any shortcomings the defense presents. Coach Big Mac is going to do his best coaching job this season.

Not only does Dak wants to win but he wants to show his critics and teammates alike that he’s worth every penny of his luxury contract, and that he’s more than capable of putting this team on his back and carrying them deep into the playoffs. Before Dak’s season-ending injury in 2020, he showed us he was the real deal and the unquestionable leader of this team.

dark. Next. Can Mike McCarthy and staff control this team?

Lamb is a rising star in this league and is going to be needed in the event Coop goes down with an injury or as critics love to proclaim with no proof –disappears. Lamb is developing a meaningful rapport with Dak-with Dak acknowledging on “Hard Knocks” how easy it is to throw to Lamb.

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Yes, Dallas’ offensive line is the foundation for the entire team, but the trio of Coach Big Mac, Lamb, and Dak are the essentials gems to make this season a success. Luckily, we can witness these positives right before our eyes.