Dallas Cowboys Hard Knocks Preview

Every single year around this time we start to get our first taste of football. The Hall of Fame game is a nice appetizer, but the first course of the NFL season is the season premier of Hard Knocks. 

The HBO classic returns tonight and features America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys! For many reasons the Cowboys are one of the best teams that HBO and the NFL could have picked this season. There’s just so many storylines. You’ve got the return of Dak, the rise of CeeDee Lamb, the mildly hot seat of Mike McCarthy and the always ready to go mouth of Jerry Jones. 

For those of you that are interested, our Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Preview dropped last week and we are very high on the ‘Boys this season. But who should you be watching for on Hard Knocks? And what storylines should you be getting excited for? We’re here to get you ready.

1. The Cowboys bring the Star-s

The Star isn’t just a logo. It’s an identity. And for this season, more than in year’s past, the Cowboys have the sort of top talent to justify the logo at midfield. 

Dak is healthy, Ezekiel Elliott dropped 20 pounds and became IG famous for it in the process, CeeDee Lamb is rocket ship, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup are still great and that’s just the offensive playmakers AND that doesn’t even include Tony Pollard. Moreover, this doesn’t include the Jones family, who serve concurrently as the Executive Producer, Director and Lead Actors of this three ring circus. 

Nobody does Hard Knocks like the ‘Boys. Nobody.

2. Mike McCarthy, analytics and the defensive issues

Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy got off to a rocky start in his first season in Dallas. He was hired because the Jones family believed he would take the team in a new, analytical direction. McCarthy preached that he had spent his year away from football studying the game through mathematical lens in a barn behind his house in Green Bay. Well, the first year didn’t go exactly to plan, although losing Dak had a lot to do with that. So did his terrible defense. 

Now, the Cowboys have Dan Quinn as DC. Quinn has had major success in the past as a defensive coordinator, notably with the Seahawks Seahawks’ Legion of Boom. However, his defenses in Atlanta got routinely torched due to their archaic schematics. Can Quinn reboot his defensive ideals in Dallas and usher in a new era in which the Cowboys utilize their elite linebacking crew to slow down opposing offenses? Time will tell. But Hard Knocks should provide us a nice view into the inner workings of this coaching staff. 

3. Micah Parsons

Parsons, the 12th pick in the 2021 draft, has looked incredible in camp and figures to be a Day One starter in Dallas. He’s also an electric personality on and off the field and will absolutely steal screen time on Hard Knocks. Will he become the name we remember from the show and will his star turn catapult him into superstardom?

4. The Return of Dak

Forgot About Dak? Better remember. This is someone who was absolutely lighting the fantasy football world on fire before he injured his ankle in 2020. Prescott, who signed a 4 year extension with the Cowboys this summer, is back and the hype is sky high for the Dallas QB. He will be the star of Hard Knocks, outside of Jerry Jones. But will his training camp shoulder injury linger over the entire show like a dark cloud? 

5. The next great 88

The Cowboys have a long line of great receivers to put on the No. 88. But let’s be clear right now: CeeDee Lamb has a chance to be the best ever to wear that number in Dallas. 

Lamb is coming off of a special rookie campaign and has now cemented himself as one of the best receivers in all of football. It will be interesting to see how Hard Knocks paints the relationship between Lamb, Cooper and Gallup. 

It seems likely that Lamb will pass Cooper in terms of on-field production this season, if they’re both healthy. Will that cause any drama on the show? 

Special Bonus: Tony Pollard SZN

Tony Pollard is the best running back on the Dallas Cowboys. Sorry, Zeke. Your time is up. Let’s see if Hard Knocks creates some sort of fake rivalry between the two backs.