The Dallas Cowboys plan to go on a deep playoff run in 2021. Don’t we all?
In actuality, the offense staying healthy and improving on the defensive side of the ball could help them capture the division crown and possibly even those lofty playoff goals. Dak is back. They have a new, well-respected defensive coordinator. A few new defensive pieces should also improve one of the worst defenses in the league from last season.
There are a few players that could be especially key for the team to reach its ceiling in 2021.
Leighton Vander Esch
Injuries are what come to mind first in LVE’s quest to contribution to Dallas. Beyond that, his run defense and pass coverage in shallow zones are important for a defense with such a young secondary. The Cowboys missed him dearly last when their run defense was the 2nd-worst in the NFL. They gave up 158.8 yards per game on the ground. Not to mention, Vander Esch’s quick reactions can cover up Jaylon Smith’s struggles in play recognition in some cases.
His health is probably his biggest barrier. Although, if he can stay healthy and continue to improve, a linebacker room with him and Micah Parsons can be one of the most talented in the league. Both guys can pass-rush effectively immediately in a Dan Quinn defense as well. LVE will also be working towards a new contract, whether it’ll be from Dallas or not.
— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) May 14, 2021
This one may make you scratch your head a bit because Gallimore isn’t one of the most notable Cowboys. That does not mean his impact cannot be crucial, though. The depth of Dallas’ interior D-Line has been questionable for a couple of years now. Gallimore’s development would take some of the weight off of the shoulders of EDGE rushers Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.
Coming out of Oklahoma, Gallimore was praised for his versatility. He will get the opportunity to show that this year as the top DT on the depth chart. He may also get some snaps on the outside. Trysten Hill has struggled at times, and Osa Odighizua is only a rookie. The Cowboys need Gallimore to be a force on the defensive line in 2021.
Neville Gallimore finished fifth in stops and sixth in run-stop % this year among rookie interior defenders, per PFF. #Cowboys
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) January 5, 2021
Biadasz projects to be the starting center for the Cowboys again in 2021. There was a bit of inconsistency in his game in 2020, but that comes with being a rookie thrown into a starting role. He showed some really good flashes, and his continued improvement would be massive for the offensive line. We all know the injury histories of Zach Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins. They are some of the best players at their positions when at full-strength, though. The same may be said about Biadasz in the future if he continues on the right path.
For 2021, Dallas needs him to continue to be a solid run blocker for Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. Furthermore, keeping Dak upright will be the biggest goal of this line after his injury last season. Consistent play from their young center could be vital for the Cowboys offense to live up to expectations.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 1, 2020
Keep an eye out for these guys in particular as Dallas looks to get back in the playoff hunt.