One of the big problems the NFL had to grapple with was the lack of organized activities and offensive training due to the pandemic. So the 2020 Draft rookies, as well as free agents coming to new teams, had to deal with doing everything virtually.
Of course, the Cowboys were no exception to the rule. And added to this, the arrival of a new coaching staff made things a bit more complicated. With a defensive coordinator Mike Nolan who wanted to apply hybrid schemes against a team that never quite understood the idea.
Certainly, with things returning to normal, a very different environment is seen for Dallas with organized activities. With Mike McCarthy’s second year as head coach, an idea of what he wants to raise on the field is much better appreciated. And with the arrival of Dan Quinn as the new defensive coordinator after Nolan’s firing, greater efficiency is expected from all of his constituents to help the cowboy offense be that much more forceful. Added to this, there is a lot of good news from many items of interest.
There is definitely a lot to change heading into the 2021 season. The first to be mentioned without a doubt is quarterback Dak Prescott. Who after missing last season due to a compound fracture in his right ankle since week 5, has returned to the field and it seems that he has not lost his touch.
While it is true that during practices it has been taken into account that Prescott does not pressure the defensive line, thanks to the fact that he is still in the final stages of his recovery, he is in top form and practicing with his teammates. In fact, during the fifth organized activity, he was playing 7v7 and in various team exercises. But there is no doubt that Dak’s leadership is back and that is a very positive thing for the team. As you can see in this pass to fellow catcher Michael Gallup.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) June 6, 2021
The other item in question is runner Zeke Elliott. Considering he was another one of the noted greats in the Cowboys’ underperformance and 2020 6-10 record, he’s looking much better. In fact, it has left very positive impressions when it comes to the organized activities.
And is that the runner had a very bad situation last season. First of all, the fact that he was infected with Covid-19 may have limited his production a bit. Also, if you look at their numbers, they are extremely low. With just 979 yards rushing and just six touchdowns. And last but not least, six turnovers, of which five were recoveries for rivals.
However, all this seems a thing of the past and Zeke is showing what was his performance in his first year as a professional. According to Bryan Broaddus via 105.3 The Fan, he sees Zeke extremely fast and sharp. “Zeke a couple of times avoided the defender very quickly,” Bryan said. “Those exercises that we have seen through social networks are giving results. When we talk about his footwork, it’s clearly something he’s been aware of, because there were a couple of times when he got complicated and was able to get away with one quick move. “
Ezekiel Elliott looked really quick/explosive during his work in today’s OTA practice pic.twitter.com/wIOQeSAJZv
– Jon Machota (jonmachota) June 3, 2021
On the other hand, CeeDee Lamb is looking pretty good when it comes to her second year as a pro. During practice on June 3, he became the star of the day’s play with a Prescott catch of about 40 yards. Where he was fighting with cornerback Anthony Brown to keep the ball.
Without thinking twice, Lamb will be another one of the elements that will shine in 2021. Especially since it is the first time that he has a proper offseason. Also, if Dak stays healthy, Lamb could get better numbers for 2021. Playing with your trusted QB is not the same as playing with the three backup quarterbacks that CeeDee had to deal with in 2020. In short, expectations are different for this campaign.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) June 3, 2021
Among other interesting notes, journalist Jane Slater summarized what was happening within the core of the organization. One of the great advantages of having this offseason is that finally Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are preparing everything they need with their players. As already mentioned, the return of Dak Prescott from his injury, as well as other elements. As are the cases of offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.
Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Zack Martin doing some footwork drills off to the side during today’s OTA practice
– Jon Machota (jonmachota) June 3, 2021
However, between McCarthy finally establishing himself as head coach in an offseason, the players are doing a great job for their quarterback. Prescott has been a great example of improvement after all that he had to go through both on and off the field. And seeing him there practicing and overcoming adversity, has achieved a general change in the team’s spirit. Slater herself said that there is a different vibe and something very special that is being handled in Dallas.
Other players include linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Who even though the organization did not opt for the fifth year option, the LB affirmed that he seeks to return to his old role from his first two years as a professional.
Likewise, he left other information of interest regarding the work and vision of the new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “Very clear, things are done according to plan. His intensity and his involvement are totally game-changing, ”commented Vander Esch. “It gives credit where it needs to be done, but it is also there to tell you when things are not right.”
When I asked if the defensive vision was clearer under DC Dan Quinn:
“Very clear. Things are cut and dry. His intensity. His involvement is a total game changer.”
“Gives credit where credit is due but also there to tell you when things aren’t right.” #Cowboys https://t.co/sTx1omTX6M
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) June 3, 2021
In the case of newbies, both Micah Parsons What Nahshon Wright they have been standing out in a formidable way. But every player in the class of 2021 has been contributing their share and playing as requested by the coaching staff. As is the case with Matt Farniok, who in rookie mini-camp played center.
As a curious note, reporters who were able to attend the fifth organized activity of the Cowboys noticed that someone was sending instructions through a loudspeaker. It turned out to be McCarthy himself addressing the players.
Hopefully this good vibe continues in the months to come. As well as that the coaching staff can evaluate many elements of the roster during the preseason. If things continue like this, the team is in for big goals in the 2021 season.