High expectations are being placed on four Cowboys heading into the 2021 season

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Generally there’s a consensus about sure NFL groups’ prospects presently of the 12 months. Different instances, it’s a decidedly combined bag. The latter is the case for the Dallas Cowboys. Some query how a lot Dak Prescott can elevate the group, or suppose Mike McCarthy is absolutely on a sizzling seat. Others take a look at among the gamers and see large potential. That’s definitely a constructive signal. Listed here are some who’re getting quite a lot of pre-training camp buzz.

Dak Prescott

Earlier than he was injured, he was on a record-breaking tempo throwing the soccer. Whereas the controversy concerning the Cowboys’ file in these video games stays, others see him poised to make a triumphant return behind middle. Some predictions concerning the MVP race have him as one of many high contenders, resembling a latest one from ESPN. Invoice Barnwell checked out nearly each doable contender, and had Prescott in his group of established, efficient beginning quarterbacks.

My favourite from this group: Prescott. There have been 5 cases of a quarterback throwing for 450 or extra yards in a sport final season. Three of them got here from Prescott, who solely completed 4 video games earlier than breaking his ankle within the fifth. The Cowboys starter was on tempo to throw for six,760 yards after the primary 4 weeks of the season, and whereas that was partly as a result of the Dallas protection was so horrific, Prescott has the chance to publish some historic numbers in 2021 given the gamers round him.

Moreover, the oddsmakers in Vegas have him because the main contender for comeback participant of the 12 months. That bodes properly for the group’s probabilities as an entire. The offense is anticipated to be the actual energy of the Cowboys, and Prescott is the plain engine that drives it. Not explicitly said is how a lot it’s going to assist him to have a wholesome offensive line forward of him. That’s the expectation, though there are quite a lot of fingers crossed that it’ll bear out by camp.

It’s some recognition of simply how he has grown as a participant and ascended within the ranks of NFL quarterbacks.

CeeDee Lamb

Like Prescott, Lamb is getting a number of favorable evaluations. First up is the one from Bleacher Report, which named only one participant from every place group within the league that was poised for stardom this 12 months. That is their logic for choosing him.

Dallas Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb was electrical as a rookie final 12 months. The Oklahoma product caught 74 passes for 935 yards and 5 touchdowns regardless of taking part in the majority of the season with out beginning quarterback Dak Prescott.

Lamb additionally returned 14 punts for 172 yards and had a kickoff return for a landing. When focused on offense, he helped present a quarterback score of 100.2.

If the bracelet Lamb wore throughout offseason exercises is any indication, the second-year receiver has much more leisure in retailer. In line with ESPN’s Todd Archer, it learn, “Get your popcorn prepared.”

That could be a stable basis and he needs to be even higher with a 12 months’s expertise. One other favorable assessment got here from NFL.com, which picked one participant from every group most certainly to be chosen to their first Professional Bowl.

Earlier than Dak Prescott was misplaced to a grisly ankle harm in Week 5, Lamb averaged 5.8 receptions for 86.6 receiving yards per sport. That chemistry hints at a giant marketing campaign from the second-year wideout, even with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup competing for targets. A harmful weapon out of the slot, Lamb noticed motion everywhere in the discipline in minicamp and garnered reward from coach Mike McCarthy, who stated: “I see CeeDee making that soar. He’s very snug, very pure.”

Lamb is a part of one of the crucial harmful large receiver teams within the league together with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Nevertheless, a lingering fear about Cooper’s well being may thrust him into a good larger function for the group. Hopefully that gained’t be the case, however Lamb is excellent insurance coverage to have simply in case. In any case, he may show to be the most effective within the NFL in solely his second season.

Ezekiel Elliott

For a change, virtually all of the pre-camp buzz concerning the group’s star working again has been about his coaching routine and the way good he seems to be. After struggling by COVID in 2020, Elliott signed on with extremely revered personal RB coach and former participant Josh Hicks. It definitely appears to be paying off.

The Cowboys again began coaching with Hicks in Dallas six months in the past, seeking to elevate his sport and keep away from a repeat of 2020, his worst season as a professional.

Elliott final 12 months set profession lows for speeding yards (979), yards per try (4.0) and yards per sport (65.3), and he matched his profession low for speeding touchdowns (6).

Has the work with Hicks paid off up to now?

“I believe I’m undoubtedly in a great place proper now,” Elliott stated.

Elliott is consuming clear this offseason, we’re instructed, and his work with Hicks has added a brand new dimension to his sport.

Hicks, a shorter pace again when he performed at Purdue, has Elliott on a footwork routine so as to add extra shiftiness to his working fashion. It’s been a welcome growth for Elliott, who’s extra of an influence again together with his energy between the tackles.

Cowboys followers keep in mind fondly how Prescott and Elliott set the league on fireplace as rookies. The QB has grown in his abilities and stature within the locker room, however Elliott has seen a gentle decline in his manufacturing since then. Nevertheless, not solely did he have well being points final season, the offensive line has additionally fallen off since that 12 months, virtually all attributable to their very own well being issues, such because the illness that minimize brief the excellent profession of Travis Frederick and the well-documented avalanche of accidents final season. Similar to Prescott, Elliott can solely profit if the road is again to extra what he ran behind his rookie 12 months. It might be a passing league, however a reliable, extra explosive Elliott can solely assist.

Randy Gregory

Jon Machota of The Athletic got here to a distinct conclusion about who was the most certainly breakout candidate – though he did present Lamb some love as properly.

This one got here right down to CeeDee Lamb and Randy Gregory. I believe each have the chance to have a giant 12 months. Since Lamb already had a pleasant rookie season, I’m giving Gregory my official vote. With Aldon Smith now not on the roster, Gregory is in place to be Dallas’ beginning proper edge defender with DeMarcus Lawrence dealing with these duties on the left. Contemplating that Gregory has been suspended for extra video games for violating the league’s substance-abuse coverage than he’s performed in, he’s develop into considerably of a forgotten man across the league. However at 28, he nonetheless has loads of expertise to presumably lead the Cowboys in sacks and quarterback pressures. In a latest convention name with reporters, Gregory appeared like somebody who’s in an important place on and off the sphere. And contemplating the previous second-round decide is within the closing 12 months of his contract, there’s much more motivation to place collectively his finest season.

Gregory has not solely proven large potential when on the sphere, his perseverance and exhausting work in overcoming his off-field and psychological well being points could be very admirable. Now he has an opportunity to point out the NFL simply what he can do when given an opportunity.

On paper, that’s quite a lot of star energy seeking to shine for Dallas. For a very long time, there was a bent, particularly inside sure components of the workers named Jerry Jones, to overstate the expertise of the Cowboys’ roster. This time, the excessive expectations are coming from exterior the Star. That could be a good factor, and we hope these writers and analysts have it precisely proper.

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