FRISCO, Texas – When the playoffs ended for the Cowboys last January, once again to the hands of the 49ers, one thing seemed rather clear when it came to the offensive side of the ball:
They needed more playmakers.
Sure, they had an offense that had their share of Pro Bowlers, but when it came to actual playmaking options with the ball in their hands, they didn't have enough.When the game ended, CeeDee Lamb was the only real threat for the 49ers defense, especially after Tony Pollard suffered an injury just before halftime. San Francisco capitalized by focusing more on Lamb as they squeezed out the life of the Cowboys' season.
Fast forward to now, as the Cowboys find themselves just over a week until the start of the season and there seems to be a major upgrade in the playmaking department, especially with the amount of speed added to the table.
"Yeah, a lot of speed. You can name a lot of guys," Dak said of this year's offense. "(We have a) few guys that have speed but are playmakers. Speed is one thing, but to be a playmaker is another thing."
For starters, Brandin Cooks arrived through a trade. He's got six 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and still claims to run in the 4.3 range. Everything we saw in training camp suggests he still has the "take-the-top-off" kind of speed.
Not only is Pollard back at tailback, but Deuce Vaughn has added an electric juice to the backfield, at least that's how it appears based off the preseason. All he did in college was make plays.
The knock on Vaughn of course, is his lack of height, and the same could be said for KaVontae Turpin. But the Pro Bowl return specialist seems to have a larger role on offense this year.
Throw in the fact that Michael Gallup is fully recovered from a knee injury he sustained in January of 2022, and Jalen Tolbert has been one of the bright spots of training camp and preseason with his improved play, and the offense now seems to have even more playmakers than before.
"For me, it's about getting these guys the ball," Dak said. "Whether it's in the run game or the pass game, or just out in space to allow them to do what they do best – break tackles, make people miss and show off their speed. We've got a handful of guys and that's going to make my job easier."
If that's not enough, the team even traded for Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 draft with the 49ers. Lance is still learning the offense and figures to be the third QB for a while, but his athletic ability might even give the scout team more playmakers that can help prepare the defense better, especially against athletic quarterbacks.
Whether it's more receivers in the passing game, another runner in the backfield, or even a quarterback that adds to the depth, the Cowboys have more speed.
That should lead to more playmakers, and the team can only hope that all leads to more success.