The 2022 NFL preseason is rapidly approaching, with team practices growing more intense by the day. Coming off an offseason for the ages that changed not only the complexion of individual teams, but both the AFC and NFC as a whole. Many things will look quite different from a season ago. It’s the perfect time for the fourth annual edition of Three Burning Questions. As in years past, this 32-part series will look at the three most pressing questions facing each of the 32 teams. Here are the Three Burning Questions for the Dallas Cowboys.
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Will the Offense Look Any Different Without Cooper?
The Cowboys offense is much the same this season as last. Gone is wide receiver Amari Cooper who is now in Cleveland with the Browns, and in is former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver James Washington. First round pick Tyler Smith, the guard out of Tulsa, is the only significant change offensively. The team hopes he can shore up the left side of their offensive line to protect Dak Prescott. The familiar Prescott-led unit, with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard splitting carries behind him, leads to the also familiar divide among the fans in Big D on who should really be the featured back. Receivers CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup (along with Washington) and tight end Dalton Shutlz will split the enormous amount of passes which has become the norm for their signal caller.
Can the Defense be Even Better?
Dallas’ defense was ranked seventh in the NFL last season. They were led by Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons, who was selected to the Pro Bowl and was also named to the All-Pro team. Even the Cowboys expected that out of their No. 12 overall pick in his debut season. Parsons recorded 13 sacks and was a dominant force at stopping the run, as well. Behind him, second-year defensive back Trevon Diggs in tallied 11 interceptions. However, his style of play with taking chances led to him getting beat by his receiver badly on occasion, too. This defense with those two playmakers leading the way could be a top-three unit.
Is the Window Closing?
For a team that won the NFC East division with a 12-5 record, their time is now. They finished three games ahead of the team behind them, The Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles made a handful of moves this offseason in hopes of catching and surpassing the Cowboys. With the current roster in Dallas, their window for getting to the Super Bowl or at the very least a NFC Championship Game appearance is closing fast. If this team goes “one and done” in the playoffs or worse misses the playoffs completely, this team will look drastically different a year from now.
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