The Dallas Cowboys are expected to be the favorites to win the NFC East this upcoming season. They added talent this offseason via free agency and the NFL Draft that makes them look scary on paper. But, as we've seen since 1996, the Cowboys always find a way to fall short of expectations. Plenty of the reasons are obvious, but others are under the radar.
Here are three hidden traps that can derail the Cowboys this season.
3. Adjusting to Mike McCarthy's Coaching Style
The Cowboys opted to move on from longtime head coach Jason Garrett after a disappointing 2019 season. Owner Jerry Jones wanted a coach who knows what it takes to reach the Super Bowl, so he hired Mike McCarthy. While that's cool and all, it doesn't mean that the transition is going to be easy. McCarthy is switching the offense to a West Coast style, as opposed to the Air Coryell philosophy practiced by Garrett and current offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Not to mention, McCarthy is a believer in throwing the ball early, which is an escape from the norm in Dallas, who like to hand off the rock to Ezekiel Elliott at the start of drives. McCarthy will have to convince his players to buy into his coaching style, which could be challenging if they aren't winning at the start of the regular season.
2. Can Dak Beat Teams Over .500?
Quarterback Dak Prescott is set to earn $31.4 million this upcoming season and is in line for a lucrative contract extension. While he's certainly one of the better passers in the league, he has the propensity to disappear against winning football teams. Last season, the Cowboys went 1-6 against playoff teams and Prescott only managed to throw for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in those contests. With Jones wanting the team to reach the Super Bowl in the very near future, Prescott really needs to step up in important games. If not, Dallas will endure another disappointing end to the season. Cowboys fans may not want to hear it, but it's the truth.
1. Replacing Robert Quinn's Production
Last season, the Cowboys finally gave defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence a quality partner off the edge in Robert Quinn. The former Los Angeles Ram and Miami Dolphin pressured the quarterback 35 times and recorded 11.5 sacks through 14 games. But just like that, the Cowboys were back to square one after Quinn signed a massive contract with the Chicago Bears. Dallas thrived in the pass rush, as opposing offensive linemen doubled up Lawrence, and Quinn capitalized. Can Aldon Smith, Tyrone Crawford, or Bradlee Anae put up similar production as Quinn? They better, or the Cowboys will be sunk in 2020 if they can't rush the quarterback.