By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303
The Dallas Cowboys used to be “America’s Team.” With great names like Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith in the not-so-distant past, and disappointing seasons from the likes of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, the pressure is definitely on for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to lead the team back to glory.
I took some time to talk about the upcoming Cowboys season with Michelle Jinks // @TheSportsJinks who is a huge Cowboys fan and, well, She Knows Routes!
Question: What is your biggest area of concern for this year’s Cowboys?
Michelle: Wide Receiver. Word around Cowboys camp is that Cole Beasley is the clear #1 receiver. While I think Beasley has been their best receiver over the last three seasons, he is a possession receiver, third down option at best. In fact, he’s their best option on third down until one of Jason Witten‘s replacements emerges. Without Tony Romo, Dallas has been unable to stretch the field. Beasley will not help in this situation. Expect to see a lot of punter Chris Jones and kicker Dan Bailey if Zeke can’t get the Cowboys third-and-short first downs…
Running Back Tavon Austin: real deal or bust?
Tough to say. You need a little innovation on offense for Austin to have success. That’s not Scott Linehan’s strong suit. I think his biggest impact can come in the return game. I expect Linehan to use him a lot like he used Lance Dunbar, as a third down receiver / running back.
— Adam Collins ✭ (@AdamCollinsCN) August 10, 2018
Which Dak Prescott are you expecting to see?
I’m expecting to see the Dak near the end of his rookie season. He’ll be better than he was last year because his security blanket will be in the backfield. Zeke’s ability to run and put Dak in short third situations is vital to his progress. He has to make better decisions and keep the drive going. If he can build a connection with Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns or Michael Gallup the Dallas offense could be very dangerous.
The Offensive Line: Is it enough to let Elliott run?
The not so subtle decline of the Cowboys OL is the most underrated question mark for Dallas this season. Dallas hasn’t recovered from the loss of Doug Free, Ronald Leary and perhaps the biggest loss, Bill Callahan. And then there is Tyron Smith‘s back, which kept him out of too many games last season. Now that they’ve secured the right side, move La’el Collins to his dominant position and added rookie Connor Williams, the 2018 season should be a comeback year for the Cowboys O-line. Of course the presence of that fella Mr. Elliott in the backfield should help.
Who will replace Jason Witten at Tight End?
This is a good question. For the past years Jerry Jones has lobbied for Rico Gathers to be the heir apparent to Witten. But he’s still learning the position and he doesn’t seem to care too much about the blocking aspect. Still, his athletic ability may be too difficult to keep off the field, particularly in the red zone. However, Geoff Swaim has put in the work over the last few years and is a more complete tight end than Gathers. He’ll at least get the start early on.
There you have it: Five Quick Questions on the Dallas Cowboys! If you’d like to answer five questions about your favorite team, let me know. Your interview could be up next!
Talk Football with Lisa on Twitter // @LJ1303
Talk Cowboys with Michelle on Twitter // @TheSportsJinks