When the Cowboys report to training camp on July 22 in Oxnard, Calif., several questions will still need to be answered.
The staff writers at DallasCowboys.com – Rowan Kavner, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – will attempt to answer these questions before the start of training camp. The questions will vary in importance, with the most pressing topics getting brought up in the days closest to camp.
This time around, we're curious which member of the offense – outside of the usual suspects – can step up and improve the attack.
17) What non-Pro Bowler will help the offense the most?
Rowan Kavner: He may be a third receiver, but if the Cowboys can find a way to incorporate Cole Beasley into the offense more, it could be the difference in a couple wins. He has such an uncanny and inimitable talent with quick routes from the slot that they need to be exploited as much as possible. This gives him the ability, despite his size, to also be a weapon inside the red zone. If teams lose track of him on third down, he'll find a way to move the sticks or cross the goal line, and he should be used more because of that. The Cowboys seem to be working more with him on becoming a complete receiver and having him run longer routes, but even if they just used him more with what he's great at, it'll help this offense.
Bryan Broaddus: I am very interested to see how well Travis Frederick plays this season after having an outstanding rookie season in 2013. He was everything that this front office and coaching staff believed he could be. The biggest question I had about him was how he would handle a man playing directly on his nose and after a rough go at it in Kansas City, he had a nice bounce back game against San Diego and by the time he got to the Green Bay contest, he was playing like a seasoned veteran. It didn't matter who he was playing next to along the line, he adjusted and made those around him better. My concerns of a year ago have been replaced with the confidence that the last player I need to worry about is the starting center on this offensive line. Travis Frederick in the middle of this line is a very valuable piece to its success. [embedded_ad] Nick Eatman: While I've been pushing the Beasley train for a while now, and I've even said Lance Dunbar will play a nice role, the real answer here is Travis Frederick. To me, no other guy on this offense has the chance to legitimately be the best at his position this year - and that includes Dez Bryant. Frederick had a great rookie year, and not even by rookie standards. He's already in the discussion as one of the Top 5 centers in the game and if he improves like most players do in Year 2, he could be ready for a Pro Bowl-type season. Tyron Smith might be the best player on the line but Frederick is the true anchor.
David Helman: I'm going to take a risk and buy into some of the offseason hype – I was impressed by the role Gavin Escobar played during OTAs and I think he's going to step up in his second season. We know by now that Escobar isn't going to be a traditional, on-the-line, blocking tight end. What he is capable of doing is lining up split out and getting up the field to create some mismatches. Scott Linehan knows how to use these guys – he's had good success with the likes of Brandon Pettigrew and even Joseph Fauria in Detroit. We got a taste for the types of play Escobar is capable of making toward the tail end of last season, and I think the coaching staff is determined to build on that. I'm not calling for him to put up Jimmy Graham-type stats, especially if he's competing with Jason Witten for targets. But I do think he will have a notable role in the offense.