Examining the week one matchup against the Bucs

What do We Learn From Cowboys Updated 2021 Depth Chart? – Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Going up against the defending champs is probably the best way to evaluate your team.

Defensive Tackle

Carlos Watkins is currently on the 1st-team defense along with rookie Osa Odighizuwa. This puts Brent Urban as a backup; surprising given how he and Watkins first joined the team.

Urban and Watkins got nearly identical 1-year contracts from Dallas but with an important distinction. Brent’s contract was fully guaranteed while Carlos’ had minimal guaranteed money. That indicated the team was higher on Urban back when both were signed as free agents.

Now a depth chart listing may not mean much once you see the actual snap counts and how much either guy was on the field. But to now see Watkins listed as a starter over Urban may tell us that something shifted during camp.


Jaylon Smith is still listed as a starter along with Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch. Is that veteran deference or a sign that the coaches aren’t as down on him as 99% of Cowboys fans?

As was just mentioned, we’ll see down the road how much Smith actually is on the field over Keanu Neal and Jabril Cox. NFL teams spend most of the game in nickel defense now and we’ve heard that Parsons and Neal will be the primary pair for that scheme.

If Jaylon is only “starting” in the base defense then his snap count may be pretty low when all is said and done.

Zack Martin out with COVID: Jerry Jones says Cowboys OL could still play – Riley Gates, 24/7 Sports

If Martin can somehow get into this game that would be a huge boost for this team.

The Dallas Cowboys got handed some tough news this week with the update that starting right guard Zack Martin would miss the Thursday night season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a positive COVID-19 test. While that has been reported widely, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones left the door open to Martin possibly playing when he joined ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning.

“He’s going to be testing right up until game time,” Jones said on the show. “Maybe we can get a couple of negative tests out of him. I’m always looking for that pony in there somewhere. … If he can get two negatives over the next couple of days, then he could play. Don’t hold out for that. Don’t hold out for that.”

The 16th overall pick out of Notre Dame in the 2014 NFL Draft, Martin has been stellar for the Cowboys during his NFL career. Martin has played seven seasons in the NFL, being All-Pro six times in that stretch. Martin has also made it to six Pro Bowl rosters and has served as crucial protection for quarterback Dak Prescott.

That protection will be needed even more this season, as Prescott is coming off of a fractured ankle suffered last October. Prescott is also battling a shoulder injury that flared up during the team’s training camp this summer. Prescott clearly needs all the protection he can get while on the field this year, especially against a Tampa Bay defense that rattled Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in last year’s Super Bowl. Jones made it clear just how important Martin is to the Cowboys’ success on the field.