(At long last, the NFL season is in sight. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 24. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com is going to preview the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2018.)
FRISCO, Texas – After the season ended in 2017 with a disappointing finish outside the playoffs the Cowboys decided not to make big changes at the top of their coaching staff, but did have a few overhauls at some of the position groups.
There are some new faces on this staff, which for some players, could be a good thing. So just which new coach will make a difference when the pads come on at training camp.
14 – Which new assistant coach will have the biggest impact?
David Helman: Mark me down as another big-time believer in Kris Richard. That's not a knock on Sanjay Lal, who I think could do wonders for these young receivers, but Richard's track record speaks for itself. Obviously Richard can't take all the credit, but he was part of the coaching staff that helped turn Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas into the Legion of Boom. Here in Dallas, he's got another crop of young, talented, hungry DBs. He knows how to coach sound technique, he knows how foster competition, and I think he can bring out the best in these guys. It'd be nuts to try to compare this secondary to what Richard had going in Seattle, but it's certainly reasonable to think he can help them take a big step forward.
Bryan Broaddus: The easy answer would be Kris Richard but I am going to take a different approach from the other writers. All eyes will be focused on this wide receiver unit and how will they function without Dez Bryant? There has been plenty of talk about that in this day and age of the NFL, that you don't need a number one wide receiver on the squad. I personally don't buy into that but I am willing to change my opinion if Sanjay Lal can get five or six of these receivers to all share the offensive load. Where Lal really needs to make a difference is getting Cole Beasley back on track after a disappointing 2017 where opposing defenses found ways to take him out of the games. Lal and Scott Linehan are going to need to come up with some creative ways to not only use Beasley but all of these receivers in order to help Dak Prescott
Nick Eatman: There are some good candidates for this one but I'm going to go with Paul Alexander and the offensive line. The O-line is easily one of the best in football, if not the very best. And while one might argue that this group of first-round talent could probably coach themselves, I think Alexander is going to come in and really take this group over the top. He's developed good players into great players in his time with the Bengals. I'd like to see what he can do with this group.
Lindsay Draper: When I asked Jourdan Lewis how things are going with new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, he openly gushed over the impact of his new coach. A snippet of our conversation was, "Even without football, he's great to be around". That sounds pretty impactful to me. But back to my view from my seat upstairs at The Star – Richard brings an energy that these young DB's seem to absolutely love. Your top five cornerbacks on this team are all under the age of 25, with Byron Jones being the veteran. They are always together, they are great friends, and they're collectively growing with Richard. Oh, his qualifications and experience aren't too shabby either.