The Dallas Cowboys are set to open training camp today. The opening press conference is over with and the real preparation for the season is about to begin. After all the hoopla over Jerry Jones’ National Anthem stance and whether or not this is a make or break year for head coach Jason Garrett, the game will be played on the field.
It was a disappointing season in 2017 and if the Cowboys want to get back to the playoffs, there are some guys in need of a do-over. Here are some players who need to have a bounce-back season for the Cowboys to excel in 2018:
Dak Prescott: He is always the go-to guy when it comes to blaming those responsible for missing the playoffs last year. It’s true, Dak needs to play better than he did in the final eight games, but he was damn special for the first eight. A return to form for the first 25 games of his career will likely come from having faith in the left tackle, so if Tyron Smith stays healthy, Prescott will thrive.
Ezekiel Elliott: Zeke is about as good as it gets at running back, but he has something to prove after losing six games last year. After not reaching 1,000 yards because his suspension last year, Elliott has bunkered down this offseason to crush defenses. Watch out for Zeke in 2018!
Allen Hurns: The former Jacksonville Jaguar continues to mention that he feels this is a big year for him. After a stellar 2015, Hurns struggled the last two seasons and is eager to prove that his 1,000-yard season was not a fluke. He’ll have every opportunity to put up good numbers for the Cowboys this season and become the number one option for Prescott.
Tyron Smith: This is all about managing to stay healthy. Smith’s health has been declining the last few years, his back and neck have been the main culprits of his woes. The veteran left tackle stated he’s feeling better than he has in years, it would do wonders for Dak and the offense if Smith can stay on the field this season.
Maliek Collins: The Cowboys were playing Collins out of position last season and he wasn’t as effective as he was in his rookie year. The third-year defensive tackle is going to start training camp on the PUP, but when he comes back he has to prove he can get back to playing at a high level. Without David Irving early in the year (hopefully, that’s all), the defense needs a pass rusher to push the pocket in the middle of the field, Collins needs to be able to do that.
Byron Jones: The uber-athlete still hasn’t fully made his mark on the defense yet and now that he’s moved to cornerback full-time, that impact could come this season. Jones is the ideal fit for new secondary coach Kris Richard because of his length and physicality. This is a big year for Jones, his time to prove how good he is should come this season.
The coaches: We’re looking at you, Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan. Both of you struggled to make the most of what you had when things went south in 2017 and neither of you adjusted well. It’s a new year, with new personnel and they’ve spent an entire offseason making changes to ensure the offense less predictable, how will you utilize your guys? You’ve got the players you wanted, let’s see what you do with them!
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