Cowboys News NFL: Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin suffered a hyperextended knee injury in the preseason.



Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/19/2018.


Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Recap


Dallas signed Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns as a Free Agent. They also cut Dez Bryant to save cap room making Hurns the replacement to Bryant. I'm not sure this is a good move for Dallas long-term. At the same time, I understand why they made this move. Dallas signed Jihad Ward and Datone Jones at defensive tackle hoping to find some short term interior run stoppers in the trenches.



Dallas Cowboys Draft Recap


The Dallas Cowboys got Leighton Vander Esch as a 4-3 left outside linebacker out of Boise State with their first round pick. They also drafted Texas Longhorns offensive lineman Connor Williams in the second round. The former Longhorns' left tackle is now the Dallas Cowboys left guard. Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft and is having enough success to push Cole Beasley for the slot receiver job even if he begins his rookie season as a backup. Cedrick Wilson the other receiver that Dallas drafted out of Boise State is on injured reserve and will not play this year.




Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Summary: Dak Prescott dominated as a rookie. Without Ezekiel Elliott he had a setback season. Now Dez Bryant is gone along with Jason Witten. I feel like Dak's weapons are weaker then ever, but if these coaches continue to work with Dak Prescott then he can take off and have a huge third season in the NFL just to get a massive contract extension in the offseason.


The Cowboys have three coaches who are naturals at developing quarterbacks. Those guys are Jason Garrett at head coach, Scott Linehan at offensive coordinator, and former Cowboys backup Kellen Moore who is replacing Wade Wilson as the quarterbacks coach. This is the same Kellen Moore that lost the starting job to Dak Prescott in the preseason after Tony Romo got injured.


Dallas Cowboys Running Back Summary: Dallas is thin at running back compared to last year if Ezekiel Elliott misses any time. They don't have depth at this position like last year when they had Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. This offense falls apart if Ezekiel Elliott does not start all 16 games.


Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan develops running backs just as good as he develops quarterbacks. Gary Brown has been the Cowboys running back coach since 2013, and he's had a huge role in improving the play of the Cowboys running backs.


Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Summary: Allen Hurns is replacing Dez Bryant. Terrance Williams had some success as a rookie, but struggled before putting things together in a contract year in 2016. Despite this he'as an effective #2 receiver when next to Dez Bryant. Cole Beasley showed he could fill in as a #2 receiver during Bryant's injury last season and is pretty much guaranteed the slot receiver job. Dallas has more depth at wide receiver though with Michael Gallup emerging.


Sanjay Lal replaces Derek Dooley. Lal was awful as the Colts wide receivers coach and now he's taking over that responsibility with the Dallas Cowboys.


Dallas Cowboys Tight End Summary: Geoff Swain is the starting tight end. Dallas does not have a tight end on this roster that can replace what Jason Witten does. With Elliott's success I feel like they will build the offense more towards him even if it means giving Elliott 30 carries a game.


Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Summary: Tyron Smith is one of the leagues best left tackles. Connor Williams is starting at left guard. Travis Frederick will start at center. Zack Martin may end up starting at right guard if his hyperextended knee injury is not serious.


Paul Alexander is now the offensive line coach for the Dalllas Cowboys. He was with the Cincinnati Bengals for twenty three years and now coaches one of the NFL's best offensive lines. La'El Collins is the starting right tackle. His assistant, Marc Colombo a former right tackle with the Dallas Cowboys seems like a better choice to be the Cowboys offensive line coach since he used to play for the team while serving as a good mentor to some of their younger offensive linemen.


The Cowboys are a team that I expect to have a top 5 team in rushing yards. I see a top 20 passing yards team. Dallas could be top 15 or top 25 in points scored depending on how Dak Prescott does this season.



Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Summary: Right now you got Tyrone Crawford at 4-3 right end DeMarcus Lawrence at 4-3 left end. Dallas also has Kony Ealy as a backup 4-3 left end as well as Taco Charlton as a 4-3 right end. Charlton looks better in the preseason this year compared to his abysmla rookie season. Charles Tapper got demoted to third string and is now a backup to Charlton. You got one of the worst defensive tackle situations despite adding some key Free Agents.


Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is great at developing defensive linemen. The Cowboys defensive coordinator is also the defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He did a phenomenal job with what he had to work with last year. Leon Lett, a former defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys also deserves some credit as the defensive tackles coach.


Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Summary: Dallas has a good core of linebackers in right outside linebacker Sean Lee, middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, and left outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. This linebacking core also has Damien Wilson for depth who started at 4-3 left outside linebacker last season.


Ben Bloom finally earned the linebackers coach job. He's been with the Dallas Cowboys since 2011 and worked as a quality assitant coach with the Dallas Cowboys for seven years. Bloom is coaching a pretty solid group of linebackers so it will be interesting to see how he embraces this challenge in his first season as a linebackers coach.


Dallas Cowboys Defensive Backs Summary: Dallas is moving Byron Jones to field cornerback after playing safety. Chidobe Awuzie is the boundary cornerback. Anthony Brown is the nickel cornerback. Jourdan Lewis their 2017 third round pick is the dime cornerback with Marquez White being the quarter cornerback.


Jeff Heath at strong safety and Xavier Woods at free safety. This could end up being a pretty suspect safety combination.


Kris Richard is the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the Seattle Seahawks previous defensive coordinator and he's also a passing game coordinator for both offense and defense coordinating practice sessions.


The Cowboys defense has some question marks at a lot of positions. I like th linebackers and cornerback depth. I like the depth Dallas has defensive end, but don't love any of their pass rushers outside of DeMarcus Lawrence. Defensive tackle and safety are both huge voids. Dallas could have a middle of the pack defense. At the same time, this won't be a top 10 defense in any major category due to the lack of star power on this defense.



Dallas Cowboys Special Teams Summary: Dan Bailey is one of the NFL's best kickers. Chris Jones is starting to emerge as a reliable veteran on special teams. Jourdan Lewis is the kick returner and punt returner for the Dallas Cowboys. While his role in coverage as a cornerback is being reduced his role on special teams is expanding due to his tremendous speed.


Keith O'Quinn was the assistant special teams coach for the last three years before being promoted to special teams coordinator. He was also a former scout for the Dallas Cowboys. He scouted players for Jerry Jones at one point and now he's a coach so he can help Dallas prepare for how every NFL team operates on special teams by scouting opponents through film as well as scouting for the draft in addition to coaching.




Dallas Cowboys Worst Case Scenario: The Dallas Cowboys go 5-11 and miss the playoffs due to a shaky defense and lack of weapons.


Dallas Cowboys Best Case Scenario: Dallas goes 11-5 and does enough to secure a wild card spot. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott both play well enough to receive long-term extensions with the Dallas Cowboys organization.


Dallas Cowboys 2018 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 9
AT
4:25 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 2
September 16
VS
8:30 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 3
September 23
AT
4:15 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 4
September 30
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 5
October 7
AT
8:20 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 6
October 14
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 7
October 21
AT
4:05 PM ET
CBS
L
Week 8
Bye Week
Week 9
November 5
VS
8:15 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 10
November 11
AT
8:20 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 11
November 18
AT
8:30 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 12
November 22
VS
4:30 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 13
November 29
VS
8:20 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 14
December 9
VS
4:25 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 15
December 16
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 16
December 23
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 17
December 30
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L


Dallas Cowboys 2018 Projected Record (6-10): Dallas made a lot of coaching changes despite keeping Jason Garrett around. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone. This defense is incredibly suspect and needs Rob Marinelli to maneuver this defense the way Bobby Fisher plays chess in order for Dallas to have any shot of competing for a playoff spot. Dallas has a brutal strength of schedule and its the biggest reason I believe they are the bottom feeder of this division in 2018.









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