The Dallas Cowboys head into the 2020 regular season with a renewed sense of excitement.
Coming off an 8-8 season without a playoff berth, the Dallas Cowboys made some serious changes to both their roster and their coaching staff to kick-off 2020. And those moves plus an excellent draft class has Cowboy fans once again excited about the potential the new season holds.
In that same positive spirit, we contemplated which storylines we were the most excited about heading into the new season. Here’s what we came up with.
Mike McCarthy’s impact on the Dallas Cowboys’ offense
The Cowboys’ offense led the NFL in yardage last season under first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The addition of offensively-minded head coach Mike McCarthy is expected to take this unit to yet another level.
McCarthy has worked with some of the league’s best quarterbacks ever. From Joe Montana to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. If McCarthy can work that same magic to propel Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott from being a good passer to a great one, we could see a historic performance from this stacked offense.
How will the defense respond under Mike Nolan?
All-in-all, the Cowboys defense fared better than most have given them credit for in 2019. They were in the top ten in yards allowed and their 20.1 points allowed per game average was the 11th lowest in the NFL.
Still, Rod Marinelli was replaced as defensive coordinator this offseason by Mike Nolan. The former head coach for the San Francisco 49ers who has been in the NFL since 1987 figures to bring a more deceptive approach and a multiple scheme to Dallas.
And with former Pro Bowlers like defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, plus safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix peppering the roster, there’s a talented group there for Nolan to use.
Adding CeeDee Lamb to the offensive mix
Undoubtedly, the excitement level surrounding the Cowboys jumped to a new level when they landed Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft in April.
With the team already possessing a quality duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup at receiver, both of whom posted over 1,000 receiving yards each last season, the position wasn’t seen as an early draft priority. But as arguably the best overall wideout in the class, the value Lamb presented was simply too great to ignore.
Now, Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb figure to form one of the top receiver corps in the entire NFL. And it isn’t inconceivable that this trio could post a combined 3,000+ receiving yards in 2020.
Can Aldon Smith return to his All-Pro form in Dallas?
Certainly, the fact defensive end Aldon Smith hasn’t played football since 2015 means we must all temper our expectations for the former All-Pro pass rusher. But the fact Smith is still only 30-years old and once recorded a whopping 19.5 sacks in a single season has some fans giddy with anticipation.
The Dallas Cowboys traded for a veteran pass rusher last year in Robert Quinn. He’d go on to lead the team with 11.5 sacks and earn a hefty new contract to join the Chicago Bears this offseason. The Cowboys are certainly hoping to catch lightning in a bottle again with Aldon Smith, despite his long layoff and past off-the-field issues.