The Dallas Cowboys have all the tools necessary to build something no other NFL team has done before. The Cowboys have an opportunity to light up scoreboards and shatter offensive records under third year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Multiple scenarios must play out the right way if America’s team wants to accomplish such a feat. Nevertheless, 2021 could see a Cowboys offense with an MVP, a rushing title, and three 1,000+ yards receivers.
Before anyone rushes to judge, picture this. An entire season where injuries are minimal amongst the offensive line, Dak Prescott has no trouble making any throws or using his legs, Ezekiel Elliott minimizes his fumbles, and the trio of Ceedee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper emerge as the best receiving core in the NFL. While all those factors seem insurmountable, a legitimate argument could be made for every scenario.
Dak Prescott Wins MVP
Prescott is entering his sixth season as the Cowboys signal caller, and his third season working with Kellen Moore. In 2019, Prescott referred to Moore as a “young genius phenom,” when it comes to offensive creativity. Since then, Moore has been able to grow and sculpt his playbook to fit the play style of Prescott and all the weapons at his disposal.
Dak on @1053thefan describing OC candidate Kellen Moore: “He’s honestly one of these young genius phenoms in the game. … He’s special. He knows a lot about the game, just the way he sees the game, the way he’s ahead of the game. He can bring a lot to us, a lot of creativity."
— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) January 31, 2019
Last season, Prescott lit up the stat sheet averaging 371 yards per game. While that came in a small sample size of just five games, Dak proved he is capable of being a dynamic passer. Ultimately the 6’2” 230 lb quarterback did not have the chance to keep up that level of play as he fell to a graphic ankle injury. Prescott has shown glimpses of a speedy recovery, but can he prosper into an MVP with that injury lingering in the back of his mind? The NFL has already seen a player recover from a season ending injury and take home the Most Valuable Player.
In December 2011, Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and came back with a vengeance. Peterson dashed for 2,097 yards and 12 scores the next season. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback can not replicate that kind of comeback season without some help from his team. Over the last decade, only one MVP had a season with less than 12 wins (Matt Ryan-11). With the NFL extending the season by a game, Prescott could easily eclipse the 5,000 yard mark, which would put his name on the ballot. Although for Prescott to win, Dallas needs to win the division and at least 11 games.
Elliott Reclaims the Rushing Title
For Dallas to see success in 2021, Elliott needs to earn his $95 million contract. The Cowboys can take a lot of pressure off their young defense this season if the ball carrier can recreate his all-pro level of play. A major key for Elliott is holding onto the football. Since his first game in 2016, Elliott is leading all ball carriers in fumbles with 21 total. The next closest to Zeke is Carlos Hyde with 14 fumbles.
Minimizing turnovers, creating a steady ground game and maintaining an edge on time of possession is the recipe that has lead to success in the past. That job becomes effortless when you have the best offensive line in the game. The health of Tyron Smith, Zach Martin and La’el Collins will dictate how Elliott will perform. The Dallas Cowboys have lived and died by the play and health of their line for almost a decade. For the two time rushing champ to enter the ‘best back in the league’ conversation once again, he needs his line to lead the way.
Three 1,000+ Yard Receivers
The NFL has seen a total of five receiving trios racking up at least 1,000 yards in a season. The last to do it was the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston). The Cowboys receiving core is undoubtedly top five in the league today. Last year, Amari Cooper managed to catch for over 1,100 yards with four different quarterbacks.
Michael Gallup is possibly the most underrated receiver in the NFL. Gallup’s ability to win one-on-one matchups at the line and haul in every 50/50 ball that goes his way has made him a nightmare for defensive coordinators. With one year remaining on his rookie contract, Gallup will be looking to stitch his name as a legitimate number one receiver.
That leaves the 2019 first round pick, Ceedee Lamb. Prescott says he expects the second year wideout to have a big year. “My expectations are super high.” Per 105.3 the fan, “He’s a special playmaker that we’re privileged to have and he’ll be big-time and definitely have a breakout season.” The young pass catcher out of Oklahoma hears the comparisons to young receivers like Calvin Ridley and Justin Jefferson. This season Lamb has an opportunity to excel and get the respect he deserves. Again, with a 17-game season, this goal should be attainable.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb: I feel like the jump is definitely there.. I’m excited about the future. I can’t wait for the season… I’m definitely learning and perfecting my craft. I feel a lot stronger, faster, more explosive. ✭ #dallascowboys pic.twitter.com/7bpPdayfjg
— The Cowboys Network (@TheCowboysNet) July 7, 2021
The Dallas Cowboys could send ripples throughout the NFL with their explosive offense. For America’s team to prove themselves as a legitimate threat in the NFC, these three goals need to be at least within arms reach by the end of the year.
Featured Image Via: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports