In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
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Let’s talk about the Dallas Cowboys. I was the defensive coordinator (1989-1992) there and won Super Bowl XXVII there, and we know that is what everybody talks about — getting to the Super Bowl. That’s the goal. Well, for the Cowboys, it really is the only goal. I mean, the heat is on this year for them to take a step forward.
How can they help themselves in the draft and free agency? Well, they don’t have much free agency money to spend. They have a few guys that are up for free agency. Tight end Dalton Schultz is someone they’re gonna have to decide on. He’s probably the No. 1 guy, in my opinion, because he’s a favorite target. Tony Pollard is a guy they need to look at, too.
However, there are three things I think they need to do this offseason to take that step forward.
3 Ways to Improve Cowboys
1. Figure Out Running Back
Let’s not lose sight of how Dallas’ season ended. If you look at the stats from the Divisional Round matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys went shoe to shoe with the 49ers in every category except one — interceptions. Two for Dak Prescott and zero for Brock Purdy.
What does that tell you? They have to keep taking the pressure off of Prescott. That means running the football. That means high-percentage throws, play-action passes and hitting the tight end.
No. 1 is addressing the running back. I don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is the guy. He almost got to the point at the end of the year where they were using him, and he was giving everything he had. But, they were using him on short yardage and goal line. Pollard was the guy that got you out of your chair every time he touched the football.
Hopefully, Pollard is healthy. If he is, I would move on from Elliott, and I would go draft a young running back. I really would. If there is a great free agent guy, then fine, sign him. But I would draft a running back and have Pollard and someone else as a one-two combination.
2. Address Offensive Line
It comes down to Prescott being successful back there. They had a lot of injuries this past year. Tyron Smith played just four games in 2022 after suffering a torn hamstring and avulsion fracture in his left knee during training camp.
Is it injuries or is it talent? That is what you have to decide, Cowboys.
I think they have talent. I think they just need to play up and perform a little bit better and be healthy. I think the offensive line will be fine if they can stay on the field this coming season.
3. Draft a First-Round Cornerback
The Cowboys have a lot of ammunition to move up and down the board. With that first pick, you know what I would do? I would take a cornerback. A defensive back on the opposite side of Trevon Diggs, with the way they want to run that defense, they’re going to be a pressure defense.
When you play a pressure defense, you’re going to play man-to-man coverage. That is critical to have good cornerbacks for that to happen. So I would go out and add another cornerback with my top pick.
>> READ: The 33rd Team’s Latest Mock Draft
Dave Wannstedt is a former college and NFL Head Coach for the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Panthers. He now works for Fox Sports as a studio analyst.