Dallas Cowboys are actually shaping into a well-rounded team

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Despite the losses of key players and the unknowns heading into the 2022 season, the Dallas Cowboys front office has somewhat addressed those issues through the draft and through free agency. At least on paper.

For example, the Cowboys addressed the losses of former wideouts Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson by drafting wide receiver Jalen Tolbert, signing free agent wide receiver James Washington, and signing an undrafted free agent like Dennis Houston. The Cowboys did same on the defensive side of the ball by replacing Randy Gregory with Dorance Armstrong, Jr, signed Dante Fowler, Jr, and drafted Sam Williams as edge rushers.

Even though the Cowboys didn’t go out and use up that beautiful $20 million dollars in cap space money on big name players, they have taken the more basic and conservative approach to address the unknown question marks on both sides of the ball. That includes the special teams, too.

The Dallas Cowboys have found the right players to form a well-rounded, contending team.

When Cooper, Wilson, and Gregory were no longer a member of Dallas, Cowboys Nation immediately went into a frenzy about the future of their beloved team. I mean how could you blame them after losing two of your best wideout with another on the mend from a torn ACL injury (Michael Gallup) and then losing a really good edge rusher in Gregory. It didn’t look good.

In some ways, Turpin is the best offseason acquisition Dallas has made because of his ability to score touchdowns and give Dallas’ offense that “12 man”. A lethal return specialist can change the field position and course of game easily, similar to an accurate kicker.

Instantly, Dallas went from a Super Bowl contender to a team that critics are now predicting to finish second in the NFC East to the Philadelphia Eagles, and the media mounting daily pressure on Dak Prescott to see if he can deliver victories with a young unit of wideouts-led by CeeDee Lamab.

But after two preseason games and a combination of training camp, Dallas is surly fulfilling all of its needs on all levels: offense, defense, and special teams. These young players are stepping up and giving Dallas the opportunity to regain itself as the NFC East favorite and maybe more.

Let’s dive into why this team is well rounded on all levels.

Offense

With Tyron Smith now out, the biggest question mark is – can Terence Steele continue his upward trajectory as a legitimate right tackle? Rookie Tyler Smith is having a really good preseason/camp and appears to be the “REAL DEAL” at left guard. So, in other words, if Dallas can replace Tyron, the offensive line can be at least decent. Then Dak can take less hits, the running game can complement the passing game, and Dak will have a field day because…

Lamb, Tolbert, Noah Brown, Houston, KaVontae Turpin, Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson are all having a good preseason and the expectations are for these players to be heavy contributors on the offense. Lamb and Schultz will show the league they’re truly WR1/TE1, but the supporting cast of the aforementioned pass catchers is the secret weapon that’s going to give opposing defenses headaches.

The expectations are those players-specifically Brown, Houston, Ferguson, Turpin-can beat man coverage and make plays. If this is truly what the coaching staff believes, then offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will have plenty of creativity to spread around because I haven’t even mentioned Ezekiel Elliott and the versatile Tony Pollard-who has been taking reps in the slot.

Man..just imagine what Moore can do with Pollard and Turpin on the field at the same time. My Gawd. This offense will continue to roar.

The Defense

Unlike the offense that had more question marks than an unfinished math test, Dallas’ defense seems to cover all of its bases and then some. Firstly, it has found a few players to stop the run with defensive tackles Osa Odighizuwa, Neville Gallimore, Quinton Bohanna, Chauncey Golston, and the renewed Trysten Hill.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Jr., Sam Williams has the edge set. With D-Law taking on double teams, this will allow Armstrong to show why he’s more than capable of replacing the production of Gregory and for Williams to learn the ropes. Let’s hope so!

The dynamic and ultra-talented Micha Parsons leads the linebackers with his pass rushing skills and ability to play off the ball as a linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch, Jabril Cox, and the newly signed Anthony Barr are beyond good.

For once in a long time, Dallas’ secondary has plenty of ball hawking defensive backs that can lay the wood, too. All Pro corner Trevon Diggs is one of the best in the league, regardless of how many yards he gave up last season.

For a corner to snatch 11 interceptions from the souls of quarterbacks and return two for touchdowns says more about his talent than how many yards allows. Of course, I never heard of this stat until the HATERS brought it up because Diggs wears the star on his helmet!

Think about the less than average quarterbacks in the NFC East Dallas faces, and Diggs is good for at least five or more interceptions.

Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Kelvin Joseph, DaRand Bland, Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson, Israel Mukuamu, and Marquese Bell round out the rest of the secondary. Of course, a player or two might get cut, but the coaching staff loves the play of rookies Bland and Bell.

The defense is set and deep with good players. Don’t be surprised to see some breakout players on defense.

Special Teams: It’s Turpin Time

KaVontae Turpin elevated the status of the special teams with his two kick returns against the San Diego Chargers. Turpin solidified his place on the team with a 98-yard kickoff return and an 86-yard punt return. Dallas’ special teams hasn’t seen anything close to Turpin since the Hall of Famer Deion Sanders returned punts and kickoffs on a regular basis way back in the 1990’s.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying he’s as good as Prime Time Sanders!

Turpin gives Dallas the edge in special teams because opposing teams will either shank a punt, misplace a punt or punt it to him with the ability for him to score a touchdown. Even if Turpin doesn’t score a touchdown, he has the capability of giving Dallas offense good field position when he fields the punt/kickoff.

This is a plus for an offense that can use good field position to put points on the board. Furthermore, Turpin is a threat to score any time he has the ball in his hands, whether on a jet sweep or as a receiver. Turpin being a full-time kickoff/punt returner allows Lamb and Pollard to focus on their position and not risk injury to special teams.

So now Dallas has a player that can score touchdowns on special teams and touch the ball on offense? Man…

In some ways, Turpin is the best offseason acquisition Dallas has made because of his ability to score touchdowns and give Dallas’ offense that “12 man”. A lethal return specialist can change the field position and course of game easily, similar to an accurate kicker.

Dallas Cowboys KaVontae Turpin earned more offensive opportunities. light. Must Read

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Instead of Turpin downing a kickoff inside his end zone, he will be allowed the opportunity to take it deep out of the end zone. That mindset changes the way opposing special teams kick to Dallas, and a kick out of bounds is sure to happen-another way Dallas’ offense gains good field position. As a result, a short field is a plus for the offense.

Now, all Dallas has to do is hope that kicker, Brett Maher, can assist Turpin in making their special teams one of the best in the league. If and when that happens, the Dallas Cowboys will definitely be an all-around complete team with the ability to do so much more in an NFC conference ready for the taking.