Top 10 Cowboys Minicamp Questions

Somewhere inside this roster, the Cowboys believe they have their answers.
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FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys are convinced the answers are already here inside The Star. But as a three-day minicamp unfolds this week in preparation for the 2021 NFL season?

That doesn’t mean they know exactly which answers are which.

To wit, the top 10 Cowboys Minicamp Questions:

1 - Dak’s Backup - I truly believe Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy and staff are seeing a dream scenario unfold with Prescott’s rehab: His workouts have been among the most crisp of his career.

But Garrett Gilbert vs. Cooper Rush vs. Ben DiNucci vs. the vet QB not signed? Jimmy Johnson used to call this “hangin’ out” at a position, meaning there is a void and a risk.

Dallas is “hangin’ out” at backup QB. Is that wise?

2 - Diggs and who? - Trevon Diggs is going to win a lot of matchups this week - and this year. Beyond that? Dallas knows what it has in vets Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis and has watched as the 6-4 rookie Nashon Wright has been an OTAs playmaker, as has second-year kid Reggie Robinson.

But ...

For Dallas to be better than it was a year ago at corner? The top rookie DB, Kelvin Joseph, needs to win the other starting job, right? All of which would justify not bothering with Richard Sherman?

3 - Sleek Zeke - All the casual observers who think Tony Pollard is overtaking Ezekiel Elliott as this team's No. 1 back are either ignorant or naive. The two-time NFL rushing champ, not yet 26, is turning back the clock in OTAs, looking as elusive as ever.

What can Zeke accomplish? And how is there still room for Pollard to help?

4 - The ‘Linebacker Trifecta’ - When first-round rookie Micah Parsons talks of the "trifecta,'' he means "tackling,'' "coverage'' and pass-rushing.'' But the Cowboys have a different "trifecta'' question: How soon can Micah be the starter in the middle, with Leighton Vander Esch at WILL and Jaylon Smith at SAM?

Are those the three? And is that the way they stack up? Yeah, Dallas likes "position flex,'' but what if each of these guys is allowed to just be good at one position? Because that certainly wasn't the 2020 result.

5 - ‘Just Quinn, Baby!’ - After The Mike Nolan Experience, it is assumed that the already-beloved coordinator Dan Quinn is going to immediately turn things around, both by the brilliance of his system and the force of his will.

That's asking a lot, no?

6 - Trade a Wide Receiver? - Amari Cooper. CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup. An embarrassment of riches, agreed?

That's what the NFL world is going to think until the trade deadline passes. "That'' being said: Is Gallup, in his final contractual year, trade bait? Or is Michael right about this group, staying together, being "unstoppable''?

7 - Making His Bones - "Bones'' Fassel, the special-teams coordinator, has a lot of rope here. He got Greg Zeurlein the kicker job and dumped his competition. Now he's all-but-announced that Bryan Anger is his punter, meaning Hunter Niswander is wasting his time.

What's next: Fassel decides that Lamb should return punts? (Yeah, maybe.)

8 - O-Line Set? - Tyron Smith, La'el Collins and Zack Martin are rolling back from injury and look good. Meanwhile, Biadasz seems to be winning the center job without much competition. And to my eyes, Connor Williams has again served mostly as the left guard.

Is this O-line all but locked in already?

9 - Sacks Education - Demarcus Lawrence has a big reputation. Tarrell Basham has a big mouth (in a fun way). Randy Gregory has the "premium!'' big potential.

But for a collection of pass-rushers to be this touted ... shouldn't they actually be sacking QBs?

10 - ‘Hot For Teacher’ - Last year, new coach Mike McCarthy said all the right things about "analytics'' and "gambling'' and "putting player ahead of system.'' 

It was all baloney. Or, at least, unrealized talk.

Last year's Cowboys staff featured too many inexperienced teachers, too many employees who were "McCarthy's guys,'' and too much arrogance that led to them not bothering to listen to the disgruntlement of locker-room leaders.

Will returning Dallas Cowboys players learn from their mistakes? And maybe more important: Will returning Cowboys coaches learn from theirs?