The Dallas Cowboys open their preseason camp in Oxnard, California on Wednesday with the idea of breaking a streak of 27 years without playing in the Super bowl.
This is an analysis of how the Cowboys arrive at their preseason camp.
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The Cowboys won the NFC Eastern Division for the third time in quarterback Dak Prescott’s six seasons, but again failed to make it deep into the playoffs, losing a wild-card game at home to San Francisco.
Dallas hasn’t been to an NFC championship game since the 1995 season, when the storied franchise won its fifth Super Bowl.
The offense was one of the best in the NFL before Prescott hurt his calf and was inconsistent at best the rest of the way.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons led a dramatic turnaround for a much-criticized unit.
Tackle Tyler Smith (first-round pick), defensive end Sam Williams (second-round pick), free agent and defensive end Dante Fowler, free-agent wide receiver James Washington.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Randy Gregory, guard Connor Williams and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson.
Prescott could use a healthy camp after a strained throwing shoulder sidelined him for most of last year’s preseason.
He was coming off a gruesome broken ankle that ended his 2020 season in Week 5.
There are several questions on the offensive line that need answers in camp.
Topping the list is left guard after Dallas released Connor Williams in free agency.
First-round pick Tyler Smith is a tackle, but he could fill that spot to start his career.
Center Tyler Biadasz was inconsistent last year and shouldn’t feel too comfortable.
Left tackle Tyron Smith hasn’t been able to stay healthy the last few years and they really need him.
Connor McGovern will be the player to watch alongside rookie Smith at right guard.
Defensive end Sam Williams, Dallas’ second-round pick, could compete for a starting job against DeMarcus Lawrence, who returned on a modified contract and will be important in trying to make up for the loss of Gregory.
The pecking order behind new No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb will be an issue with Michael Gallup still recovering from a 2021 knee injury and unlikely to be ready until early in the season.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, a 2018 first-round pick, is back on a one-year deal alongside Parsons, but the Cowboys are ready to take a closer look at second-year Jabril Cox, who missed out. most of last year with a knee injury.
Owner Jerry Jones hired coach Mike McCarthy in 2020 because he thought Green Bay’s Super Bowl winner could end Dallas’ long streak without a deep playoff run.
The year of the pandemic was a waste before the team reached the division title last year.
The 23-17 loss to the 49ers ranks high on Jones’ list of disappointments in the 33 years since he bought the Cowboys.
If Dallas doesn’t delve into the postseason this time around, McCarthy’s job security will be a hot topic.
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Cowboys: Complete analysis of the team that opens its preseason camp