**Was transcribed with AI assistance so please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors
Zach Hiduk:Welcome in everyone to 32 Beat Beyond the Tweets. My name is Zach Hyduke and today I’m very excited to bring you a great conversation with Cowboys’ beat writer Kyle Youmans.
Now, make sure to stick around after the conversation where I will very quickly break down some of the fantasy fallout from our conversation with Kyle. Training camp is going to be coming your way soon, so make sure to follow us on Twitter at 32BeatWriters so that you can be up to date on every single detail of the offseason and be more informed than your friends and fantasy league mates. Also, be sure to check out our website 32beatwriters.com for weekly news summaries, as well as some other great resources that we’re looking to bring you.
You can also support us on Patreon and find the link to do that on the website. Now let’s get on to the conversation. I’m excited to see how this goes.
Maybe we’ll cycle back around at some point and be able to talk to you again. So just jumping right into it, obviously one of the biggest stories of the offseason is Zeke Elliott. I’ve heard some rumblings recently that he may be coming back.
Kyle Youmans: I don’t know how real that is, so I was curious because obviously if he’s not there, Tony Pollard is pretty relevant to the team and to people interested in fantasy and things like that. What do you see Zeke possibly coming back and if not, how is the backfield going to play out? Yeah, I think it’s far-fetched to see Zeke return just because of really the way that things kind of went down. I mean, he was the number one back in Dallas for quite some time and then all of a sudden the emergence of Tony Pollard threw a wrench into that and as did the health of Zeke Elliott. I mean, Zeke wasn’t necessarily healthy these last two years and his production suffered because of it. So I’m interested just as much as you guys are to see what is his mindset behind it because he took a chance on the open market and ultimately what happened between Dallas and Zeke is Dallas didn’t want to offend Zeke with their offer initially and the pay cut initially. So they said, you know what Zeke, go out and test the market, see what you can do and good luck to you.
But if you want to have a conversation, it’s going to be a much lower number. Because of that, I think it would be a pride thing that Zeke’s party would have to get over in order to get back to Dallas and whether or not that’s possible is I think in the future. I don’t think it’s very likely. I think Zeke is a capable back that would come back and or that would be back into the fray of any NFL team. But with Dallas, he would be the number two. He would be behind Tony Pollard who will be the featured back this year.
He’s on the franchise tag for a reason. So basically you’re taking a demotion, you’re taking a pay cut and you’re coming right back where you started. So I don’t think anybody really loves the idea of that no matter if it’s a day job or whether you’re in the NFL. So I don’t necessarily see it happening a whole lot. And I think Pollard’s the featured back in Dallas going into the season despite even coming off of the injury that he is.
Zach Hiduk: Okay. And so if that’s going to be the case then who is it behind him? I mean, you’ve got what? One, two rookies from last year on the team? And then the rookie from this year, he’s only like 150 pounds though, right?
Kyle Youmans: 160 somewhere around there. Yeah, you’ve got Deuce Vaughn who was a six round pick this year, five foot five. And that’s not a typo. And he’s 150 pounds. And he’s I mean, he’s electric to watch. I mean, he is a a bolt of a runner and he has some change of direction. He has the agility as you would expect, but it’s yet to be seen if he can make an impact at the NFL level just because of the size and just because he’s a rookie too.
I think putting unfair expectations on a six round pick is something that fans across the NFL do quite often. But I think he actually does have an opportunity at least for snaps, mostly because like what you said earlier, nothing’s really settled behind Tony Pollard. I mean, you brought in Ronald Jones this off season to compete with Malik Davis, who was an undrafted free agent last year, Rico Dowdle, who was an undrafted free agent a year before that, and Dowdle had some injury issues. Malik Davis has flashed at times, but ultimately been unproductive in the regular season. And then Ronald Jones looks like he’s at the end of his career, at least on a downturn of his career. So there are four guys fighting for pretty much one spot, going into preseason play, and you know how it goes in training camp. I mean, you don’t really get a great look at the running backs. Of course, be in the right place at the right time, know your blocking assignments and pick those up in training camp. But in terms of hitting a hole and being explosive and breaking tackles, that’s not something that’s seen in practice. That’s something that you have to see in the preseason. So those three preseason games are going to be crucial for these running backs to sort that order out. Malik Davis has shined in the preseason in the past. Ronald Jones certainly has the most experience out of the bunch. And then Deuce Vaughn might have the most upside. So it’s very interesting to see how the Cowboys will handle this going into training camp and into the preseason, because it’s going to be one of the most heavily watched battles, especially if Pollard’s not going to be ready for week one and two.
Zach Hiduk:You’re going to need a couple of those guys to step up. Yeah, I mean, you just mentioned it. He had an injury last year. What was a broken part of his leg, right? Tibia or something like that?
Kyle Youmans:Yeah, really hurt them.
Zach Hiduk: And honestly, I almost forgot that Ronald Jones was part of that backfield as well. So yeah, it tells you what’s going on there. It’s interesting, though, because last year, the Cowboys ranked six in Russia attempts and then ninth in overall rush percentage per game. And some of the stuff coming out, you obviously have Schadenheimer now on the offensive side of the ball at coordinator. And then McCarthy is supposed to be calling plays now instead of Moore, who’s with the Chargers. And I believe McCarthy said that they wanted to get back to like running the ball more.
It almost feels like that’s impossible to do. But with what he’s saying there, how do you anticipate them playing ball this year versus last year and the couple of years previous with Moore?
Kyle Youmans: Yeah, you know, it’s funny. And we were talking about this in a staff meeting this past week. And this is what our staff meetings look like. We just ended up talking ball. But Mike McCarthy, yeah, his whole message this off season is we’re going to run the ball. We’re going to run it.
We’re going to continue to establish the ground game. Well, Mike, your lead running back is banged up. You have an offensive line that right now has a couple pieces missing, like Terence Steele at right tackle. He’s still coming off of an injury as well. And you just added Brandin Cook. So it’s not like the offense will struggle by any stretch of the imagination. But the identity just might be different to start the season than it sounds like what Mike McCarthy is aiming for. So it might take some time.
It’s kind of the thought process there. I think they will try and establish the run. There will be an conservative effort to continue to run the football and run it effectively. That was something they didn’t do well last year outside of Tony Pollard, really. Pollard was the one effective runner for the Cowboys. And he did so with the home run threat. And just the big plays that he brought to the game.
So if you’re able to get back to that, then great. I think that’s what Mike McCarthy wants. But this is an offense that right now is built to throw. It’s got Dak Prescott.
It has Cee Dee Lamb taking another step. It has Brandin Cooks now in the fold. Michael Gallup doesn’t have to be a number two receiver. And you’ve got a stable of tight ends that you feel pretty comfortable with. So for the most part, this is an offense that right now looks like it’s built to throw at least in weeks one through four of the regular season. But they’re going to have to find a way to establish the run.
And I think it starts up front. You got to get that offensive line healthy. You got to get them settled in to where their roles and their positions will be.
And then I think after that, Tony Pollard coming back healthy is a huge key of that, of course. But I think if you’re up front, stout, you’re going to have more success with some of those guys. behind.
Zach Hiduk: Yeah, that makes sense. And hey, you mentioned the tight ends, right? We have Dalton Schultz gone now. But you mentioned the ones that are on the roster, it sounds like they’re comfortable with what they have in Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot and Luke Schoonmaker? Is that how they say it?
Kyle Youmans:Yeah. Schoonmaker. Like Skoon.
Zach Hiduk: Okay. All right. I’ll get that right eventually here. Now he’s, what, the second round pick. So what do you see there? Do you see any three of them becoming any of the three of them becoming the guy or are they going to use a committee approach?
Kyle Youmans: One more is like a slot guy. One more has a block. You know, it seems like roles in tight end in the NFL have kind of shifted over the past couple of years. Yeah, especially it’s shifted even in this offense over the last five years or so. And I give credit to Linda Wells, who’s the tight end coach. He does a great job there, but they needed a tight end. I mean, without Dalton in the fold, they want to replace his production.
And I think the fact that they took a chance on a second round tight end, like Luke Schoonmaker says a lot, they really do like him as a possibility in this offense. Now, I think right now, as of this moment, I think Jake Ferguson is your starter. I think he’s the guy who’s going to get the most reps. He’s going to probably get the most targets to start the year.
But by the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Schoonmaker is the more reliable target deck to throw to. Peyton Hendershot brings a skill set that’s different than both of those guys. He’s not a big blocker. He’s more of a receiver. He’s a downfield threat. But just like Ferguson, both of those guys showed promise early in their rookie seasons, but in the last 11 games, 10 games or so, they kind of disappeared.
It was a bit of a drop off. So I’m hesitant to really put all those expectations on those two guys with Ferguson and Hendershot. But some of those expectations are going to be tethered to Schoenmaker just for the fact of being a second round pick.
I think if he’s going to be in the fold, they’re going to make an effort to get him the football. And just based off of his skill set, I think he’s more of a balanced player, blocking wise than Jake Ferguson. But I don’t know how much he stacks up. It’s pretty close how much they stack up as receivers. So at some point, Schoonmaker might overtake him in both categories.
Zach Hiduk: Okay. Yeah, that’ll be interesting to watch. We know tight end takes a little bit of adjustment from college to the NFL, but a second round pick is definitely not a low amount of draft capital to spend on a tight end. For the other past catchers last year, we saw CeeDee Lamb just hyper targeted by Dak when he was playing and healthy. In fact, CeeDeeLlamb had almost 27% of the targets in games that Dak played in and had 156 targets in total.
The highest targeted receiver prior to that with Dak was Dez Bryant in 2017 at 23%. It just feels like that may not happen again, but maybe it will do. You mentioned the other additions and we can certainly talk about them too. Are we going to see that level of of target share to CeeDee again?
Kyle Youmans: No, I don’t think so. I think Brandin Cook’s changes that that whole thing because you look at it from a receiving standpoint, it’s been 20 games, including the playoffs 20 games since a receiver not named CEEDEE lamb has had a hundred yard game. So, wow, I did not know that. That’s the thing. CEEDEE lamb has been that offense. He’s been that passing game to give Dak press got at least a consistent and possibly over the top target to throw to. So, Michael Gallip hasn’t done that. CEEDEE lamb has certainly done that.
The last guys to do it are Cedric Wilson and Amari Cooper and both of them are not a roster anymore. So, Brandin Cook’s brings an element that the Cowboys haven’t had in the last couple of seasons. So, I think the target share does differ. I think Brandin Cook’s will take some of those targets away, but if you if you’re asking me how that will affect CeeDee’s numbers, I don’t think it will. I think CeeDee will have a more effective year. Less targets, similar production is where I think it’s going to turn out because he struggled to find separation.
He struggled to really get away from the double teams and from shading his direction and multiple defensive looks that were aimed at slowing down CeeDee Lamb because he was the one guy you needed to slow down. He’s going to get more single coverage. He’s going to get more easy looks. He’s going to get zone coverage that he can run to space, catch a football and then get out of the get out of the shoot. So, I think Brandin Cook’s is the biggest CeeDee Lamb contributor this year.
CeeDee Lamb is a great player. He’s going to be really, really high up there. I even made a bold prediction on one of our TV shows this year that he would be the league leader in receiving yards. And I think that’s a huge part to Brandin Cooks.
Zach Hiduk: Now, that’s a bold prediction.
Kyle Youmans: That’s out of the, jumping out of the cake. Of course, that’s something there that it’s not supposed to happen, but I think it could happen because of the addition to cooks in this passing game. It really does benefit CeeDee. Yeah, I mean, if we look at the Eagles or the Bengals, you know, they have two wide receivers and they certainly seem to help each other out.
So that would make sense to me. If that’s what you see in this offense going forward and then Cooks, I guess, are you seeing him maybe getting around, if he’s taking some targets away but they’re both still efficient, maybe they’re both floating around 100 targets or CeeDee probably, assumedly more. Yeah, I think CeeDee would definitely get more, probably yeah, 100 targets for Cooks sounds about right. I think in every year that Cooks has been a new team outside of his rookie season, he’s had a thousand yards receiving. And I think the smallest touchdown amount he’s had was six.
I’d have to go back and look. So he’s had at least a thousand yards and six touchdowns in each of his first years with a new franchise. So it happens quite often. So I think there’s potential there for Brandin Cooks to see 100 targets, which is something that I think if in the past you were saying, oh, we’re gonna take 50 of those targets away from CeeDee Lamb, that’s a bad idea. I think in this point it’s actually a great idea.
Zach Hiduk: Okay, yeah, I mean Cooks last year, I think had around 92 on that poor Texans team.
So it doesn’t sound like a stretch what you’re saying here at all. Another wide receiver question here. The sophomore from last year, Jalen Tolbert, I don’t know, I think he profiled a little bit more as a special teams player, maybe had a couple snaps last year.
Any chance he gets any significant playing time or probably not with Gallup more healthy coming off the ACL? And then of course we mentioned Cooks.
Kyle Youmans: Yeah, somebody asked me actually this morning on a show, they said, who has turned the most heads? Who’s been the most surprising during mini camp at OTAs? And my answer would be Jalen Tolbert. I think he looks more comfortable in the offense. That was a big thing last year is that there was a, there was a comfortability that was not there. That was, you could even see was apparent and he even addressed it at the senior bowl. When he went back home, he’s from Mobile, he was played in South Alabama. So he went to the senior bowl this year just to kind of see what the competition looked like. And he talked about it. He said, I wasn’t comfortable with the playbook. I felt like I took a step back as a player because I was so busy trying to adjust to the NFL. He doesn’t like, he’s taken that step back. He looks comfortable, he looks confident. And I think again, Brandin Cooks brings a lot to that. He’s, Brian Schoenheimer was telling us the other day that he and Cooks have been attached at the hip for the entire off season.
So learn some of that like that. He’s also been working closely with Dak Prescott outside of practice, which has been huge. They’ve been constantly in communication about the playbook and what he could do better. So I think Tolbert has a chance to emerge. Now, is he going to be one of the top three receivers in terms of target share this year?
I think it would take an injury for that to happen. But right now, I think he has a step up in the fourth wide receiver role, which as we’ve seen in the past with the Cowboys, they like to carry those four receivers and rotate them in pretty significantly. I mean, Noah Brown had that role last year.
Cedric Wilson had it for a couple of years prior to that. And so this is a role that is doable for Jalen Tolbert. And as a top 100 pick, you want to see some of that production.
And I think you will see a step up. He only played five games last year and he had two receptions. It’s hard to get much worse than that as a rookie. I think he can take a step up. I’m excited to see him in training camp when they put the pads on.
The big lights start to turn on in the preseason. I think he could actually take a step forward and really surprise some people. Okay, so we’ll make sure to follow you for information on that then and how he continues to develop.
Zach Hiduk: And then just lastly on the wide receivers quick, Gallup. Presumably a little bit better off the ACL. Is he gonna fit in the same role that he had? I mean, I think three or four years ago he had a thousand yard season, but we haven’t seen that level of production from him since. Kind of inconsistent injuries and things of that nature.
Kyle Youmans: Yeah, I think he has a healthy offseason for the first time in two years, which I think is great.
It appears that he has some of that burst back now. I’m skeptical just as much as anybody on Gallup because of the lack of production last year too. I do contribute a little bit of that to coming off of an ACL terror, a severe one at that, that he had late in the season in 21. So he didn’t have an offseason at all. He got thrust into the mix midseason and some would say and even argue that he was thrust in there a little too early. So I think this is a year where his numbers will be better than they were last year. But I think because of that, he’ll fit better. The reason for that being, he’ll fit better in the role because he doesn’t have to be number two. Last year he was expected to do that without Amar and Cooper in the wide receiver room. He was expected to step up and be the number two receiver. Here he is now as a solid number three, where he was a below average number two. Now he’s an above average, if not really good number three. So I think he does see a better role.
I don’t think his numbers fluctuate a ton, but I think overall his effectiveness in the offense will help things out, especially after a healthy offseason. Yeah, it seems like Slotting. You see that in other teams as well. We mentioned that on the Patriots for the last show if they were to sign Hopkins.
Zach Hiduk: It just kind of puts everybody else in that right order. So we’ll see how that shakes out for the Cowboys then this year too. Last year we had Dak Prescott with I think League High Interceptions at 15. Do we see him taking care of the ball better? I mean, we’ve seen him play at a really, really high level. And last year just, yeah, those Interceptions. Do we see if he’s not trusting that leg still or what is he just a little skittish? How do we see that moving forward?
Kyle Youmans: No, I think it’s more of an aggression. It’s more of just having a little maybe a little overconfidence in what his abilities were last year because you go back and look at some of the Interceptions. He’s through 15, which was tied for the League, League High, and he didn’t play in as many games. I mean, so his turnover to pass ratio was pretty high. I mean, he had a tough time taking care of the ball. So this time around, I think if he’s going to see more success, it would have to dial back on the aggressiveness because even with the 15 Interceptions, that was a competent offense. I mean, it was an offense that was competing. It was continuing to get better, got better down the stretch and then ultimately won you a playoff game. Dak Prescott’s wild card game against Tom Brady might have been one of the best performances of his career. I mean, he was as good as advertised, but it’s the consistency that needs to continue to get better. So maybe don’t throw it over the middle of the field whenever it’s third and long and you’re trying to kind of force it into a tight window.
It’s little stuff like that. And I think if he was, if he made better decisions in terms of where he threw the ball, when he threw the ball, it would be, it’d be more like a nine or 10 Interception number, which is doable at the NFL level. Like you can deal with nine Interceptions over an entire season. It’s when you’re throwing 15 picks and you’re playing in 11 games.
Like that’s when it’s a problem in terms of taking care of the ball. And the microscope is going to be on him. He knows it too, because it’s always on him as the quarterback for the Cowboys.
But after a season like that, you go into the first three games of the year and you throw four Interceptions. People are going to be talking. It will be a topic of conversation of, oh, is Dak just too turnover prone to get the job done? He needs to take care of the ball. He knows that is a huge emphasis this season.
whether or not he takes a step back from being aggressive and trying to overthrow, that’s where I think there’s some concern for me. I think he’s just a competitor. He wants to do that.
He wants to really make that next level play and lead his team the victory. So man, that’s the biggest question I think this offseason outside of maybe offensive line health. Can DAC limit the turnovers?
That’s going to be a big time key for whether or not this team is a legitimate contender or not. Okay. Alright.
Zach Hiduk: Yeah. And maybe some of the wide receiver health and additions there maybe help them out a little bit to open things up. So just real quick, I heard you guys a couple weeks ago discussing the kicker situation. I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but who’s going to be kicking for you guys?
Last year, you know, we had those four miss kicks by Mahir and one game. So I’m just curious what that’s looking like.
Kyle Youmans: I think right now it’s Tristan Viscano and he looked good in offseason work. I mean, when he was in and now it was all in controlled environments, it was indoor practice facility stuff. So but he looked good there. And ultimately, he’s got to he’s got the leg.
He really does have a great leg. I think this is going to end up being a repetition of what we saw last year. Last year, they brought in two guys. They had Leroy Hyrolahu as an undrafted free agent from a couple years prior guy that they brought in from the CFL. And then they had Jonathan Garabay, who was an undrafted rookie out of Texas Tech, and they had them compete all training camp long, who can who can make the most field goals basically. And then ultimately, neither one of those guys really took the reins of that job. And so they brought in a tryout, they said, All right, bring in all these veterans that are on the street.
Let’s come, let’s figure this out. And then Brett Maher came in and actually did a great job for most of the season. Of course, the lasting image is going to be the wild card game where he missed all those extra points. And he just was was shanking everything. Like that was that was rough.
And it really was. And I think it sticks in the front office’s minds that way as well. I think right now they’re going to let Tristan Viscano compete with himself for for the most part. But I bet you at some point during training camp, they have two open roster spots right now, they’re sitting at 88, they can get to 90.
I bet you a couple of those calls are going to be some kickers to come to Oxnard and at least give it a shot.
Zach Hiduk: Okay, we also saw as far as additions go this year, Stefan Gilmore, big name obviously there. And then Masi Smith to the defense. Is this a Super Bowl caliber defense? And then in relation to the In division Eagles, who it just seems has been difficult to get off your guys back. I mean, you split the season with them last year, the two regular season games last year. But do you feel like those additions on offense, those additions on defense with Gilmore and Smith are enough to help kick those guys off the throne there in the NFC East?
Kyle Youmans: Man, I think the Eagles are still really, really good. I mean, they lost a couple pieces, especially in the secondary, I think they’re a little bit more thin than they were previously.
And in this league, you need a stout secondary. I think Dallas now has a step up or a leg up in that regard. Yeah, I think this defense last year showed that they were a Super Bowl caliber defense. I mean, this is the first time a team has led the NFL in takeaways back to back seasons since the steel curtain defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 70s. I mean, how long it’s been since a singular unit has led the NFL in turnovers back to back years.
So that I mean, in that instance, just by itself, this defense is a Super Bowl caliber defense. The one bugaboo last year was actually over two. The first one was you can’t stop the run. I mean, this is a team that really did struggle to slow down teams that ran the football effectively. And it hurt them in a couple of instances last year, it hurt them in the playoff game against San Francisco. You can’t slow down the run, you’re going to have some issues. The addition of Maasie Smith should help that. That’s something that I think they went into the draft saying we need to fix our run defense.
How do we do that? Well, let’s go get the best run defender in college football last year. And that’s Maasie Smith. So I think there’s an emphasis on that. The defensive line is beefed up. They have a lot of depth there for the first time ever. They feel comfortable in their linebackers. They brought back late and van der Reis to do that as well. The second bugaboo for this team was down the stretch.
The teams found a way to stifle Micah Parsons. He got off to a stirring start. He looked like he was on his way to a defensive player that you’re at least consideration. And then he kind of fizzled out toward the end. And he made plays when he needed to.
He made a couple of big plays in tight games down the stretch, but his consistent production took a deep dive off from what he did early in the season. And because of that, and I think that’s a direct correlation with teams, just one, just trying to slow down Micah Parsons. Let any of these other guys beat us.
We’re gonna make Parsons hit. I think they need some sort of extra level of pass rush and something to get after these quarterbacks outside of Micah, whether that’s a blitz package, more blitzes than they’ve shown in the past, which is quite a bit. Maybe that’s something from the outside. And I think having two guys like Stefan Gilmore and Trayvon Diggs that you trust on the outside freeze things up in the box, because now you feel more comfortable about having to cover those guys downfield if somebody gets over it. And you can kind of bring some extra pressure.
So yeah, I do. I think that’s a Super Bowl caliber defense. I think it has been one the last couple of years, but they’ve had some holes and they’re doing what they can to at least patch some of those holes before the season even starts.
Zach Hiduk: That makes a ton of sense there, like you mentioned with Mazze. So we’ll see how they do against the run, which obviously the Eagles are really good at. So we’ll be excited to watch that going forward here this season. I’ve been trying to give everybody who comes on, as Michael, to give you all just like a soap box to stand on for just a little bit if you want about some issue that you feel is either under discussed on the team or that you think people just generally get wrong about the team.
What’s something that you just, you know, either grinds your ears a little bit or you just want to talk about that you think is really interesting here.
Kyle Youmans: No, that’s a great question. Cause everybody has their own opinions and everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.
So I do like this. I think one thing that’s been both under discussed and I think the majority of Cowboys fans get wrong is the impact that Mike McCarthy has had on this team. And a lot of people are skeptical of Mike McCarthy and for good reason. I mean, the way the things ended in Green Bay weren’t amicable.
I mean, they were not, it was not pretty, the way the things ended there. And of course they made their decision and the Cowboys decided to move on from Jason Garrett. But the fact that he came in when he did, let’s just start in 2020, when he came in his first season, they won six games, it was not a pretty year. They had a ton of injuries, including Dak Prescott. They had to go through multiple backup quarterbacks and it was a train wreck.
It really was. It was not a good year and it was the COVID year. But even out of that year, as horrid as it was, you found two cornerstones of your roster, one on offense and one on defense and that’s Lamb and Trayvon Diggs, both of them coming out of that 2020 draft. And if you want to even add on from that, you found your starter at center the last four years and Tyler Biyatish in the same draft. Three picks in the first four rounds of that draft have been cornerstone players for your franchise. So even in a year where you had six wins and you did not play well, you had something to be excited about.
You still found something. And I don’t think those picks happen with Diggs and Lamb if Mike McCarthy doesn’t sign off on it. The year after that, they go 12 wins, they get to the playoffs, they get to the wild card, they get bounced by San Francisco. I think that might have been their best shot because they were healthy, they had a ton of talent, they had a ton of confidence.
That was their best shot under Mike McCarthy because that was just how things lined up. You’re at home too, not to mention in that playoff game. So the fact that you lost that was frustrating, no doubt about that, but you got there. You got to the playoffs, you had the 12 win season, great job. You move into 2022, there were more obstacles in 2022 with injuries up front and different players leaving.
Amari Cooper out of the gate. And you lose some of these key members of your offense and you still find a way to win 12 games. I mean, back-to-back 12 win seasons for the first time for the Cowboys since Barry Switzer was the head coach. So you still get that done and you bounced Tom Brady from the playoffs. You single-handedly outplayed, you beat down the Buccaneers, a team that beat you in week one, you come back and beat them on their home turf and bounce them from the playoffs.
Yeah, you ran up against the Buzzsaw against San Francisco and I think there was a lot of frustration there too. But each year, 2020, 2021 and 2022, Mike McCarthy has improved this football team. And the only way to improve it this year is to take that next step. Now there’s gonna be a lot of scrutiny, there’s gonna be a lot of microscope on him this year because he’s the play-caller now. He has taken that responsibility, he’s taken that role, but he hasn’t necessarily dropped the ball yet.
He hasn’t led this team into despair. I mean, there are plenty of head coaches around the league. Ask the Jets, ask the Dolphins previously. I mean, ask anybody, the Panthers, all these teams that are hiring these head coaches thinking that they’re gonna take that next step and they’re gonna build to the future, it’s not easy. And you have to find the right guy for your team.
And I think right now, Mike McCarthy has been that guy. Now, things could go south very quick. This is not a very patient fan base. This is not a very patient front office.
I mean, they will move on if things are stagnant. And I think right now he has the best roster, the best opportunity. I would say let’s just give this season a chance before you really write off Mike McCarthy because a lot of Cowboys fans out there have written them off really before he even got hired.
Zach Hiduk: Yeah, you know, I’m really excited to see what happens with this team this year. And maybe you’re right. Maybe we just, McCarthy is too easily a little bit of a human punching bag there with everything. And as you mentioned, of course, being the Cowboys head coach comes with a lot of eyes on you. So I’m really excited to see how the season turns out for you guys. And I really appreciate you being on and giving us all the insight that you have to our listeners. As always, make sure to check out Kyle’s work over at Cowboys.com. Again, he’s on the Talking Cowboys podcast. And then check him out in the preseason while he’s calling those gains.
That’ll be really, really fun to see. So thank you for joining us, man. Really appreciate everything you had to say.
Kyle Youmans:Yeah, of course. Appreciate you having me on. And we’ll talk again soon down the line. Hopefully after a couple of Cowboys wins.
Zach Hiduk: All right, welcome to the fantasy follow-up, where I’m just going to quickly try to break down a few of the things that we heard from Kyle and how that may impact what you do this year.
From what I gathered here from Kyle, there are a couple of things that I have to take away from a fantasy perspective. In my opinion, obviously Tony Pollard is the dude. Based on the injury though, now I did look it up. He both had a broken fibula and a tightrope surgery on the ankle.
And the reports at a camp seemingly are that he’s relatively in full form. But just make sure to monitor that. And you can do that, of course, by following us on Twitter. You can also follow Tom Christ and his work with fantasy injury team. You can see his work on our website as well occasionally.
But that guy really nails it. Now, as far as everybody behind Pollard definitely doesn’t look like Zeke is coming back. I think you can chuck that out the window. If I’m going to be taking a shot, it’s going to be on Malik Davis. He’s younger. I just think there’s more upside than Ronald Jones, who in my opinion is not really anybody that you should have to worry about. You can probably put him on your best ball teams. Just grab him in the last round. He’s pretty much completely out of a drafted ADP. Now with the tight ends, it doesn’t look like you’re drafting any of them at the moment. However, what I would do is I would recommend keeping a lookout for Schoonmaker for a maybe midseason waiver wire add. None of them are really being drafted.
So I wouldn’t bother putting them on your roster at the moment, unless you’re in best ball. But even then, probably not. Just monitor that. Check to see if Schoonmaker can be somebody that starts to have some play midseason.
And maybe you can scoop them up and start them after he gets a hang of it there. As far as what my biggest fantasy takeaway is, that would be Brandin Cooks. This guy is going to be a great steal right now. In the current ADP, he’s currently at rounds like six and seven, which I think is really great value if what Kyle is saying is what ends up happening. He should easily outperform all the rookies that he’s sitting around right now. If he can get that 100 target volume, you should be able to definitely have an easy path to wide receiver two numbers, possibly mid to high wide receiver two numbers.
So unless you think he’s washed, I really think he’s great by, again, last year he had 92 targets with the Texans while missing four games. I would gladly be drafting him in front of all the rookie wide receivers. And frankly, I’d feel pretty good about it if I got him where he’s currently going. So if you’re worried about him getting snatched up by somebody, maybe take him like around, have around early of where he’s currently, currently sitting. As far as any other wide receivers are concerned, I would not consider drafting Jalen Tolbert in any regard. And in your dynasty leagues, if you can offload him for basically anything I would assume he’s on your roster, perhaps he’s there if you have a taxi squad. And outside of that, you can look Michael Gallop’s way, but I’m not sure that there’s a lot of room for him.
So I wouldn’t bother too much. In general, if they have a good defense again, and Mike McCarthy isn’t looking to have as high part of an offense and, you know, put the defense on the field as often, even just by pure regression last year, they were fourth in points. So they still could be really, really good and still may not be putting up as many points as they were last season. So if you’re debating at the top of your drafts between like Pollard and CeeDee and those who are around them at that moment, I would not fault you for going with another guy.
If you do draft them, you should be feeling pretty good, but just remember that. And we’ll see how the rest of this year shakes out. Alright, thanks for listening, everybody. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, and also follow us on Twitter at 32BeatWriters to keep up with everything happening in the league this off season. We will see you next week.