At this point in the offseason, all the members of sports media can really do is guess, speculate, rank, and hypothesize what will happen for all 32 NFL teams. Doing those things is never easy. Hundreds will agree and hundreds will disagree. But when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, it is truly hard to think of just one strength and one weakness this team has going into 2022.
On a team with a lot of young talent and a roster that has changed a lot this offseason, it’s really hard to know what this team will look like this upcoming season. But Pro Football Focus writer Sam Monson took time to think out the biggest strength and weaknesses of the Cowboys roster at this time. While his choices aren’t necessarily wrong it seems like there are several other answers he could have given for both categories.
Here is what Monson wrote:
"Biggest Strength: Offensive WeaponsTrading away Amari Cooper is a big blow to this group, but they had so much depth that it remains the team’s strength. When you look beyond wide receiver, Dallas has an extensive array of weapons. Tight end Dalton Schultz had a breakout season, earning above-average PFF grades in every facet of play. The team expects to get Tony Pollardmore involved in other areas this season while finding ever more creative ways to avoid sending Ezekiel Elliott to the bench. Rookie Jalen Tolbert has a skill set that could let him really surprise people early in his NFL career, and the expectation is that there is much more to come from CeeDee Lamb as the team’s true alpha receiver.Biggest Weakness: Interior Defensive LineOn defense, the Cowboys still have a glaring weakness up the middle. Recent additions to the unit haven’t really worked out, with players like Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwaneeding a big leap forward to progress beyond flashes of ability and into the realm of true game-changing forces. Until that happens, the interior will remain a weak point to a defense making real strides."
PFF deems the offensive weapons the Cowboys’ biggest strength and the defensive line their biggest weakness
Let’s start with the strength. It’s true that Dallas is lucky to have CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and a supposedly-healthy Ezekiel Elliott. They will do a lot for the team this year. But the reality is that the wide receiver corps and tight end group can also be seen as weaknesses. The team lost two of their most targeted receivers from 2021 and one of the other favorites will be out for multiple games due to an ACL tear. That leaves Lamb as the only Cowboys receiver from last year who will start for the team this season. That’s a bit scary.
Plus, Schultz had a great season last year, but do we know he can repeat? And if he can’t, think about the options behind him. All three (Sean McKeon, Jeremy Sprinkle, and Jake Ferguson), even the veterans, have a minimal meaningful experience at the tight end if any at all. If the TE1 doesn’t perform, the offense could be in major trouble. Essentially, some see the receiving/tight end corps as the biggest issue for the Cowboys heading into 2022.
As far as the weakness goes, the interior defensive line doesn’t seem like the most glaring issue. When it comes to major problems on the Cowboys roster, most look at the offensive line. A line that used to be the best in the league is now filled with older, injury-prone veterans and young, inexperienced players who have yet to prove themselves. After losing two mainstays on the line this offseason (La’el Collins and Connor Williams), it’s hard to say the Cowboys have really done much to fill those gaps.
Is there a lot of hope around rookie Tyler Smith? Sure. But has he played a single snap in the NFL? No.
Monson isn’t wrong about the Cowboys’ defensive line struggles. An overall stellar defense from 2021 did struggle against the run. However, when young players like Gallimore and Odighizuwa had to fill in for injured players last year, they did so impressively. They do have meaningful reps on their resumes. All we have heard about both of those players so far this offseason has been positive, including reports that Gallimore has put on sixteen pounds of muscle since January.
What we are trying to say is that Monson isn’t wrong. But are these the outright biggest strength and weakness of this team? Arguably not. There are bigger victories to celebrate (like a fully healthy Dak Prescott for the first time in three years or the return of Micah Parsons) and bigger worries to have.