We’re going into 2020 NFL season, but it’s not like any other season.
COVID-19 pandemic has affected every sporting league and the NFL is no different. The offseason has been totally different. There’s been no voluntary workouts or mandatory minicamps, it’s been an all virtual offseason.
With the new coaching staff in Dallas, they are facing challenges due to the virtual offseason because it’s a new system, especially on defense. They’re not on the field practicing the new formations McCarthy & defensive coordinator Mike Nolan brings in.
But make no mistake, as a Cowboys fan you should be optimistic in 2020.
It all starts with the new head coach McCarthy. Look, we know how mediocre Jason Garrett was as head coach. He didn’t even plan for a huge downpour in Foxboro against the Pats. Not only the Cowboys bring it a Super Bowl-winning coach, but they also bring in a coach who holds accountability, prepares & coaches with analytics, and isn’t conservative with the gameplan. Being conservative in big games, especially away from Jerry World, hurt the Cowboys more than anything in 2019, and really during the Garrett era as they were 24-37 against above .500 teams and 2-3 in the playoffs.
When the leash was off, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore offense put up big numbers. Dak will benefit more than anyone coming off a career year. Moore & Dak has plenty of premium weapons on offense starting with all-pro RB Zeke of course, Amari Cooper after signing a 5-year deal, and steadily improving WR Michael Gallup. Even with Travis Frederick retiring, they still have a top tier offensive line. But it’s 1st rounder Ceedee Lamb that’s going to take this offense into an elite status. Former Cowboys LB Mickey Pruitt, Super Bowl champion from the 1992 Dallas Cowboys, joined the WARR on Anchor podcast and stated he has big expectations for this Cowboys team. He stated the addition of Ceedee Lamb makes this Cowboys team “special”. Pruitt added, “they now have two WRs that can go get [the football], an RB that’s unbelievable and a QB that’s unbelievable. It’s going to be exciting to see them mesh together.” I agree. I believe it will be exciting.
I stated earlier in this column that conservative gameplan was a huge problem with the previous coaching staff. It made their defense very predictable. Remember what Sam Darnold told The Athletic after their win? “They kind of do what they do. They just play one high (safety), occasionally two high, and they like to stop the run. They do it every single week” That was after the Cowboys lost to the 0-5 Jets in 2019. Well with this coaching staff, it’ll most likely be far from predictable. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has a history of mixing coverages and pre-snap motions. Cowboys safety Xavier Woods told Jon Machota back in May to expect a lot of pre-snap movement and different coverages, opposed to the previous staff. Exactly why Dallas drafted versatile CBs Trevon Diggs from Alabama in the 2nd round and one of my favorite sleepers from the 2020 NFL Draft, Reggie Robinson from Tulsa in the 4th round. Both are perfect fits for Nolan’s defense. Expect bounce-back seasons from their motivated & healthy LBs Leighton Vander Esch & Jaylon Smith. Also, I have a feeling the leader of this defense, pro-bowler Demarcus Lawrence, will have a huge year coming up.
The Dallas Cowboys have the talent and staff to be competitive for years to come. Be optimistic Cowboys fans, the future is looking bright for America’s Team.
Hicks, J. M. (2020, July 31). In The Scope w/ Joshua M. Hicks: Gridiron Grind (feat. Former Chicago Bear Mickey Pruitt) – WARR on Anchor. Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://open.spotify.com/episode/3orHoIXnlnxAhkSxRtoR5v?si=JZoPvWWRRruVadTvA4R0Jg