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Mailbag: Dak Throwing Deep More? Latest On Camp?


There was a report recently, based on Next Gen Stats, that Dak Prescott was the No. 1 deep ball QB last season. That said, the Cowboys didn't go deep nearly as often as I had hoped for (as a fan). Do you think the team will go vertical more often this season, especially with the added depth at WR? — J.M. SMITH / SAINT CHARLES, MD

David: Personally, I don't really think Dak needs to go deep more frequently. According to those same advanced stats, he was fifth in the league in deep attempts with 78. For me, I'd just like to see a more aggressive mindset. For a team with such a lethal running attack, I don't think the Cowboys utilize play action nearly enough. It's a great way to take advantage of opponents — not to mention get Dak on the move, where he's dangerous as a runner and a passer. I think some very simple changes could make the offense that much more dangerous.

Rob: There's not a team in the league that doesn't use the deep ball on some level. Chunk plays are the lifeblood of an offense. A lot of times it's based on favorable down and distance. With the Cowboys' talent at receiver, I do expect to see it some. But it'll be interesting to see how much of head coach Mike McCarthy's West Coast principles will be used. Typically, that's more of a shorter, timing pass game.

What's the latest on the status of training camp? Has there been a structure or schedule agreed to by the teams and players association? I know it sounded like only two preseason games, but not for certain? — JOHN COOK / JACKSON, MS

David: As it stands right now, the only thing we know for sure is that the league is trying to get things started next week. Everything else seems to be a bit up in the air as the NFL & NFLPA sort out the details. Considering that a dozen or more of the NFL's biggest names voiced their concerns about the process on social media on Sunday, I'd say there's still a lot left to figure out.

Rob: There hasn't been an announced schedule or structure for camp yet. It's a major item that the league and the NFLPA continue to discuss, and it will be centered around how many preseason games ultimately are on the schedule. Reports say the NFLPA wants zero and a gradual ramp-up to regular practice. As things stand right now, the vast majority of teams including the Cowboys have been informed that rookies can report as early as Tuesday and the full roster would report July 28 if a club's infectious disease response plan has been approved by the NFLPA. Per NFL Media, the first step to reporting will be COVID-19 testing for all players. Obviously testing and safety protocols are the most critical element to this season, and those are still being discussed by both sides.

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