The Dallas Cowboys will be featured on HBO’s documentary series Hard Knocks in 2021.
This is the third time the Cowboys will be featured as they also appeared in the documentary in 2002 and 2008; no other NFL team has more appearances on Hard Knocks.
During the five episodes, cameras give fans insider access to training camp.
Cowboys fans have been disappointed about their team’s lack of success in recent years.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) July 2, 2021
Here are three things that Cowboys fans will be looking for as they view Hard Knocks.
3. Dan Quinn
Mike Nolan is out as defensive coordinator and for good reason.
The Cowboys defense struggled last year and gave up far too many points.
New defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, has experienced success when he is in this position.
However, he has not worked with head coach Mike McCarthy before.
Fans will be watching for the interaction between the two.
Quinn is known for a hands-on approach so they can expect to see him on the field and involved in the plays at training camp.
His challenges in 2021 are big; he takes over the role for a defense which had no Pick 6’s last season and just 10 interceptions.
There is some good news for Quinn.
He gets a star in the making, first-round draft pick Micah Parsons (linebacker from Penn State), to work with.
2. Running Back Situation
— Overtime (@overtime) July 2, 2021
Was 2020 an anomaly, or is Ezekiel Elliott slowing down after signing his big contract?
Fans saw second-year player Tony Pollard emerge with more speed bursts than Zeke at times last season.
Pollard, 24, enters his third year, and Elliott, who is turning 26 before training camp begins in late July, is in his sixth season.
Will there be a plan to cut Elliott’s carries and go to a running back by committee structure?
The Cowboys paid Elliott a lot of money ($90 million over six years) so that complicates matters of potentially cutting back his role.
Zeke’s production was down in 2020; he rushed for just under 1,000 yards and only six rushing touchdowns.
Fumbles are a nagging issue for him; he had as many fumbles as rushing touchdowns last year, six total.
1. Dak Prescott’s Health
Speaking of large contracts, everyone will be watching Dak Prescott closely during Hard Knocks.
After the ridiculous game played by Jerry Jones over the past couple of seasons including last year’s franchise tag, the Cowboys ended up paying Prescott bigger money than perhaps they would have by signing him sooner.
Prescott reports to camp with the newly inked four-year $160 million contract and coming off a significant injury that shut down his season last October.
He had surgery and rehab to recover from the compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle so everyone will be watching his mobility.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) June 30, 2021
Will he wear a brace?
How will it affect his footwork as he steps back to make passing plays?
Of course, the other big question is how the ankle will feel when he is tackled, but his teammates won’t be tackling him at training camp so watching Hard Knocks won’t give us those answers.
Hard Knocks premieres on August 10 at 10 pm ET on HBO Max.NEXT: Is Cowboys Receiver Amari Cooper Overrated? (3 Reasons He Is Not)