The upcoming season for the Dallas Cowboys may end up being a 17-week “next man up” experiment. It is no secret the team has lost a number of starters, including Pro-Bowlers Amari Cooper, Lae’l Collins, and Randy Gregory, while also failing to fill those new holes with free agency additions.
With positional weaknesses on the offensive and defensive line, as well as in the linebacker corps, the Cowboys are going to have players already in place to step up and make an impact. Even positions that are considered strengths for Dallas have problems with depth, like cornerback and wide receiver.
This is all to say, as I mentioned, in order to win this year the Cowboys are going to need some young guys and older veterans to have much better seasons. Training camp and the preseason will sort out some already existing positional battles, but once they chop the roster down to 53 guys, it will be make-or-break time for a few key Cowboys. So, here are a few guys that the Dallas coaching staff will be counting on to have major improvements in the 2022 season.
5 Cowboys that have to make huge improvements this offseason
5. Terence Steele, RT
The previously mentioned cutting of Lae’l Collins has fully handed the keys of the right tackle spot to Terence Steele, the former Texas Tech Red Raider. Steele is entering his third year in the league, and it is certainly the most important one yet. Despite some inconsistencies and penalty issues, the Cowboys’ front office has put their trust in him, and he has shown the flashes to be the man for years to come.
Steele is now both young and decently experienced at the position, a combination that is rare on the offensive line. That combined with his size and flashes of ability could make for something really good at right tackle. But that is not going to come to happen if Steele does not improve in some key areas.
He finished in the top ten in penalties allowed last year, a stat that unfortunately nearly all of the Dallas offensive line dominated in 2021. In the year prior, he finished second in sacks allowed league-wide. That could have more to do with him being a rookie, and he has since improved on that number, but the technical issues that engulfed Steele in his first year are not gone.
With the front office seemingly all in on him for this season, he absolutely has to showcase a true development in both run and pass blocking if Dallas is going to reach their offensive potential this year. He has big shoes to fill after the Collins departure, and he certainly has pressure on him, but he absolutely has the tools to make it happen.