5 players who must improve

The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 season with questions across the roster. Internal improvements will be crucial to get this team back to the playoffs after a down 2017 campaign.

The offseason in Dallas has been about two names; Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Both players, staples in the Cowboys offense are no longer with the team. With them go the team’s two most proven contributors for the better part of a decade. Witten chose retirement, while Bryant’s fate was determined by the front office.

Without those two, the Cowboys will need improvement from players as they step into bigger roles on offense. The same could be said for the defense where the youth is the biggest question entering next season. A young secondary and unproven defensive line will need to be up to task to help propel this team.

5. Dak Prescott

The first name on this list of players who must improve has to be the team’s signal caller. Dak Prescott was a revelation as a rookie in 2016. As a fourth round pick filling in for Tony Romo he proved that he can help lead this team to a conference championship. However, 2017 was a bit of a sophomore slump. This third season is a make or break year for Prescott. If he goes out and proves he is closer to the 2016 version than the 2017 version, the team will excel and he will get the big contract he deserves. However, a dud of a year will bring in more questions around his future.

Statistically the most glaring change from two seasons ago to last season was the turnovers. Prescott was about as turnover-prone as it gets from NFL quarterbacks. In his 16 starts as a rookie he only threw four interceptions but fumbled nine times. That fumble number is not ideal but a low interception total can make up fro that. A season ago the numbers of picked jumped nearly four times that of two seasons all the way to 13. Some of that can be attributed to a higher percentage of dropped passes from his receiver but Prescott was much more careless with the ball.

Every other measurable statistic fell for Prescott as well. Now there will be excuses, like a higher sack rate and missing Ezekiel Elliott for a chunk of the year.

To be a franchise quarterback in this league you need to elevate those around you. Missing Elliott cannot force you to become a league average quarterback. The running back’s return and a healthy offensive line should help Prescott. What may eventually be his demise is the lack of elite pass catchers. If Prescott can propel this receiving corps, it will take a step up in his game.

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