Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walks down the blue carpet for the season kickoff event Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, at Ford Center in Frisco, Texas. (Yffy Yossifor/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Optimism is high at The Star in Frisco, as it is in early September every year.
Winning Super Bowl LVII is the goal when the Dallas Cowboys kick-off the 2022 season at 7:20
p.m. on Sunday night at home against Tampa Bay.
But this season feels a lot like many that have come before it.
The Cowboys are once again the most valuable sports franchise in the world. And yet, for the
27th straight year they open a new season after finishing the previous one with a loss before
even reaching the conference championship game. That’s right, it’s been just under 10,000 days
since the Cowboys last played in a Super Bowl.
But if you listen to owner/general manager Jerry Jones, head coach Mike McCarthy and the
players, the belief is there that this is the team that will end that drought.
But at this point that seems like a real leap of faith.
The team that finished last season with a loss to San Francisco in the Wild Card round, appears
to have taken a step backwards since those final seconds ticked off the clock last January at
Especially on offense, where they have jettisoned former starters Amari Cooper, La’el Collins,
and Connor Williams, as well as major contributor in wide receiver Cedric Wilson. Add to that
the injuries of wide outs Michael Gallup and James Washington and all-pro left tackle Tyron
Smith, and the Cowboys will have a lot of new faces in key spots for this Week 1 battle.
This year’s top draft pick Tyler Smith spent all of training camp working at left guard, but when
Tyron Smith went down with a detached hamstring, the Cowboys moved the rookie to left
tackle for the opener. That will move Connor McGovern into the lineup at left guard, while second
year undrafted free-agent Terrence Steele takes over for Collins at right tackle. They signed veteran left tackle Jason Peters, but he might not be ready for the opener.
That kind of inexperience up front will make it tough to throw the ball early on, so a healthy
Zeke Elliott at running back will be key. He looks to be in good shape, but we have been here
before with him.
When they must throw, quarterback Dak Prescott will have two veterans in tight end Dalton
Schultz and wide out CeeDee Lamb. After those two, Prescott will be looking to find another
couple guys he can rely on out of Jalen Tolbert, Simi Fehoko, KaVontae Turpin and Jake
On the defensive side of the ball, it should be more of the same of what fans saw last season.
Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has a ton of talent, that he should be able to move around
the field to take advantage of mismatches.
That begins with linebacker Micah Parsons. The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year will line
up all over the front seven, depending on the situation.
Add to Parsons a healthy DeMarcus Lawrence and Neville Gallimore and the Cowboys should be
even more deadly up front at stopping the run and getting after the quarterback.
Let us not forget that the Cowboys led the league in interceptions last season, led by the 11
snatched by Trevon Diggs.
As the offense looks to have taken a step back, the defense may have taken a step forward.
Both will be tested by the Buccaneers. Tom Brady will test the Cowboys defense with weapons
at all the skill positions.
Defensive tackle Vita Vea and the Tampa front seven will put the pressure on the new guys up
front for Dallas on every snap.
So here we are, the start of another season.
Optimism is high, and it will remain that way win or lose. That is just how they roll at The Star
this time of year.