Now that the draft is over I’d like to do a little recap of the year as the team and players move on to playbooks and training camps.
I think this is one of the biggest years the Dallas Cowboys have had during the offseason. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys staff have kept things exciting since the new football year officially began. The Cowboys limped out of the 2011 season knowing that the team has a lot of great talent but need some desperate help in key positions. They started addressing those positions right away. First step was franchising Anthony Spencer which is great on run defense but pass defense was the biggest issue the team had. The Dallas Cowboys jumped at the opportunity to sign CB Brandon Carr and $50 million dollars later they got him. Also the Cowboys were able to add depth at QB by getting Kyle Orton to back up Tony Romo. Although the Dallas offensive line may not have seemed too horrible last year they forced Romo to use his remarkable scrambling skills to avoid several sacks and to keep plays alive. The team addressed that issue by picking up two more linemen in Mackenzy Bernadeau, and Nate Livings. These guys may not be top guards but are good enough to add depth and push everyone else to compete at their best abilities. Then the Cowboys add a FB that helped Arian Foster have the best year of his career in Lawrence Vickers. Vickers will be a solid upgrade and less expensive than Tony Fiammetta. It looks like the Dallas Cowboys will finally have a 1,000+ yard rusher. Dan Connor will add depth in an already talented group of LB’s. Brodney Poole will be another value option for a team that had a secondary that tend to fall apart in the latter half of games. And resigning Kevin Ogletree was a must after losing Laurent Robinson.
As we can note the Dallas Cowboys had a lot of action in opening days/hours of free agency. The draft was almost as exciting. With the Brandon Carr signing I thought that the Cowboys would settle with him and Mike Jenkins as the two top corners on the team and maybe get a descent CB in the third round, but I was wrong. The Cowboys shocked a lot of fans by trading spots with the Rams along with the 2nd round pick to grab the top CB and possibly the top defensive player in the draft, Morris Claiborne. If Mike Jenkins stays with the team as a #3 CB then the Dallas Cowboys may have just turned from the worst secondary to possibly the best. This would force teams to run the ball more and now the Anthony spencer deal makes a little more sense. Something tells me that the Cowboys had this plan in place the whole time. The team continued to add depth in pass rusher and run stopper positions by picking DE Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and OLB Kyle Wilber from Wake Forrest. To keep the draft defensive the Cowboys then took SS Matt Johnson. Johnson is exceptionally well at covering TE’s and recorded 17 INT’s at Eastern Washington. The Cowboys then went to the offense and grabbed WR Danny Coale from Virginia Tech. Coale is a receiver that many consider to be the next Wes Welker due to his skills as a slot runner and good hands. The cowboys also grabbed a much needed #3 TE James Hanna from Oklahoma. Hanna has goods hands and can be a great insert if Witten or Phillips goes down to injury. The team also added another ILB from Montana that has proven to be a tackling machine. Although Caleb McSurdy has his hands full to earn a spot on the 53 man roster, he has the potential to be a relief for Sean Lee, or a possible Bradie James/Keith Brooking replacement. The Dallas Cowboys later decided to take a chance on a G from Memphis, Ronald Leary. Although he came undrafted he was thought as third round quality. Leary suffers from a knee injury that many feel shortens his career, but Jerry thinks he can be an instant starter. In the hopes of choosing the best group of guys, the Dallas Cowboys talked to 23 undrafted players after they took Caleb McSurdy with their last pick in the draft.
Obviously the Dallas Cowboys are trying to get back to the playoffs this year. So far it looks like they made several steps in the right direction. As every team knows, “the best way to make the playoffs is to win the division”. The Cowboys took care of the Redskins last year and I don’t think RG3 will develop enough to be a major impact for them in his rookie year. The Eagles and LeSean McCoy humiliated the Cowboys last year but the Cowboys added some personnel to stop runners and make tackles. The Giants passed at will and embarrassed the Cowboys on nearly every pass attempt. With additions of Carr and Claiborne we can be almost positive that it won’t happen again.
The Dallas Cowboys need to take advantage of this year’s training camp and learn some discipline. They can’t come into the 2012 season not being able to play all four quarters and also have to commit fewer penalties. If they can, the Super Bowl will be within reach. I feel this year the whole world will once again realize why the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team”.