The Dallas Cowboys are looking this year to be one of the scariest teams on both sides of the ball. With many players returning from last years roster, they look to seek revenge after suffering a devastating loss against the LA Rams in the Conference Semi-finals. Many players believe that last year was a good learning experience for the young players to truly understand how to go about the pressure and being a part of a longer season compared to only playing 16 games throughout the year. Let’s rewind even further to the beginning of the season, which turned to be a not so hot start for the team.

After cutting Dez Bryant right before the season began, it left the third-year starting QB Dak Prescott without a main target on the outside, even though they picked up a rookie WR Michael Gallup from Colorado State. He wasn’t enough to fully take on the role of being the number one target.

It left Prescott to mainly hand the ball off to his dynamic teammate Ezekiel Elliott and occasionally dumping the ball off to Cole Beasley. This strategy led the team to a 3-5 start of the season. This stretch led to many tough decisions Jerry Jones had to make that, later on, became a successful outcome.

I am referring to the 1st round draft pick that was sent to the Oakland Raiders for Amari Cooper, who some believe is still one of the most lethal outside weapons the game has ever seen. With the second half of their season underway and a new weapon Prescott can use to help him win games, there was a light that had many fans hope that their season was not yet over. For the remainder of the season, they finished 7-1, which is one of the best finishes in the NFL. This placed them as Division title winners and with a home-field advantage against the Seattle Seahawks in the first round.

Going into the off-season, the Cowboys are hopeful that this upcoming season is THE one that’s going to take them all the way to the Super Bowl. With many changes that came about with not only the players but also the coaching staff, look for the cowboys on offense to have a new identity when it comes to moving the ball up and down the field.

After getting rid of Coach Scott Linehan who many say his play calling was very predictable, it allowed Kellen Moore to retire from the game and become a play-caller. Many of his college teams believe this is a good fit for Moore. They say the majority of his time when not on the field is drawing plays and different schemes “for fun.” To me, this means he has a lot in store for the offense this upcoming season.

After the leaving of Beasley and him wanting to make more money, he was forced to find a better option and go up North to play for the Buffalo Bills. But with him, a new name came about, which I believe is an upgrade at Slot compared to Beasley. Randall Cobb comes to the Cowboys with loads of experience after playing with arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Aaron Rodgers. This offseason also gives a chance for Dak to build better chemistry with Cooper along with his previous rookie WR Gallup, look for both of them to be used a lot on not only the deep ball but also as an end zone threat.

Here are my predictions for the starting lineup, along with the backups, and guys who might get cut once the preseason ends.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
  • Starter: Dak Prescott
  • Backup: Cooper Rush
  • Preseason Cuts: Mike White, Taryn Christion

With many contract talks looming throughout the organization, Prescott is one of those names that are in talks of getting a big contract before the upcoming season. With many people claiming that he is not worth more than 25 million a year, others would say he deserves to be paid as a top five quarterback, and I don’t blame them. He has proven year after year that he can win under pressure and has the stats and winning record to prove it. Ever since entering the league he has the second most wins behind of course Tom Brady. Rush is a solid backup, however, many believe he is not worthy enough to step in front of Prescott.

Running Backs

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starter: Ezekiel Elliott
  • Backups: Darius Jackson, Tony Pollard, Mike Weber Jr., Alfred Morris
  • Preseason Cuts: Jordan Chunn, Jamize Olawale

Elliott is currently holding out of training camp for a new contract. I expect the contract issue to be resolved by the time the new season comes into play, but if its not done look for Pollard and Weber, the two rookies, to shine out of the back field. Also, with bringing back Alfred Morris, it gives the two rookies a veteran presence for them to learn and grow and become great running backs.

Wide Receiver

Credit: Ron Jenkins/AP Photo
  • Starters: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb
  • Backups: Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson
  • Preseason Cuts: Reggie Davis, Jalen Guyton, Jon’Vea Johnson, Devin Smith

With a full offseason under Cooper’s belt, there is hope that the chemistry between him and Prescott will be even greater than before. Look for also Gallup to mature a lot more and to build his chemistry with Prescott as well. With the new signing in Cobb, we expect him to become a better slot receiver than Beasley, with a lot more years under his belt and bringing over the knowledge he received from arguably one of the best QB’s in the game right now. Expect Cobb to be a helping hand for the young QB as he tries to take another step towards greatness in the league. Look for Austin to become a down field threat as they try to incorporate the deep ball a lot more this season.

Tight Ends

Credit: Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Jason Witten
  • Backups: Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz
  • Preseason Cuts: Marcus Lucas, Codey McElroy

With the return of Witten, this gives Prescott his security blanket back from retirement. After him leaving the game for broadcasting it left the position “non-existent” if you want to say. Don’t get me wrong, both Schultz and Jarwin are good TE’s but they don’t have that much experience compared to one of the best TE’s to ever play. With his return, you can expect the young TE’s to learn from the lest and watch and try to mimic on how to become a good tight end in the league. Expect Witten to not miss a step in his return for his 16th season.

Offensive Line

Credit: Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, La’el Collins, Joe Looney
  • Backups: Cameron Fleming, Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, Xavier Su’a-Filo
  • Preseason Cuts: Adam Redmond, Lukayus McNeil, Cody Wichmann, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Jake Campos, Mitch Hyatt, Brandon Knight

The Cowboys still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Especially if their core five can stay healthy, with the return of Travis Frederick after sitting out all of last season look for the line to get back to the way they were back in 2016.

Defensive Line

Credit: Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Demarcus Lawrence, Antwaun Woods, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins
  • Backups: Joe Jackson, Christian Covington, Taco Charlton, Trysten Hill, Dorance Armstrong
  • Preseason Cuts: Tyron Crawford, Randy Gregory, Kerry Hyder, Jalen Jelks, Shakir Soto, Ricky Walker, Daniel Wise, Daniel Ross

With their defense coming off a tremendous season, look for the “Hot Boyz” to come out looking for revenge after losing to the Rams last year. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli likes to rotate a lot of different players in a long the defensive line. The edge rushers are in good shape, especially after the addition of Quinn from the Dolphins and two rookie linemen Jackson and Hill. Look for the defense to finish top five in the league.

Linebackers

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • Starters: Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee
  • Backups: Justin March-Lilliard, Chris Covington
  • Preseason Cuts: Andrew Dowell, Luke Gifford, Nate Hall, Justin Phillips, Kyle Queiro, Joe Thomas

The Cowboys have to most athletic and arguably the best young linebacker duo in the NFL with Smith and Vander Esch. With both of them coming off a tremendous year they look to improve as they go into their second year together. Look for Lee and Covington rotate at the other position as they try to keep the young duo on the field for a majority of the defensive snaps.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • Starters: Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie
  • Backup: Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Michael Jackson
  • Preseason Cuts: Treston Decoud, C.J. Goodwin, Chris Westry, Tyvis Powell, Donovan Olumba

Byron Jones is one of the most underappreciated corners in the league. Awuzie, Brown, and Lewis all get a lot of playing time as they know their perspective roles within the organization. Look for Jackson to grow into his role and become a threat later throughout his career as a Cowboy.

Safeties

Credit: Dallas Cowboys Website
  • Starters: Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods
  • Backups: George Iloka, Kavon Frazier, Donovan Wilson
  • Preseason Cuts: Jameill Showers

Wile not being spectacular, Woods and Heath get the job done at safety. Iloka is a veteran player who will get plenty of playing time as a rotational player.

Specialists

Credit: Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Brett Maher
  • Punter: Chris Jones
  • Long Snapper: L.P. Ladouceur
  • Preseason Cuts: Drew Scott, Kasey Redfern

Jones and Ladouceur have been a solid special teams duo for Dallas since 2011. Maher was added last year from the Canadian league as a solid kicker. Look for Maher to improve on his accuracy a little bit more this upcoming season.

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