By now we’ve all come to the realization that last season could have gone much better than it did for the Dallas Cowboys. The facts are there, and they are undeniable. There is talent flowing out from every corner of Texas, and yet the results left Cowboy Nation wanting. We suffered last season, as Cowboys fans, and at times it did not seem like much was gained from the hardships. Even though these things have been staring Cowboys fans in the face much of the offseason, there is hope for a brighter future ahead. Here are my top five reasons why the Dallas Cowboys will be better in 2012.
While I’m a firm believer that Felix Jones will be much improved next season, as you could tell from my last post, DeMarco Murray is going to be the real star of the Cowboys’ running attack next season. Murray put up good numbers last season before a broken ankle landed him on injured reserve. Tony Fiammetta was a big reason Murray excelled, and the front office upgraded that position in the offseason with the addition of Lawrence Vickers. We should look to see more openings for Murray to run through, and because he is back 100%, he will be available to get in a full offseason in preparation for the upcoming season.
The Secondary Has Been Upgraded
The Cowboys finally have a secondary that can run with the top competition in the league. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are a much needed upgrade over Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, last year’s starting tandem. I still believe Jenkins is a good player, but with the addition of Carr and Claiborne in the offseason, and the recently extended Orlando Scandrick, the writing is pretty much on the wall. I would love to see Jenkins get a new contract, but in reality how much money can you use on one position?
With that being said, I believe Jenkins will have a better year than last, as long as he can stay healthy and decides to show up for offseason activities. All things considered we should see a better product on the field and get more out of them.
The Defense Gets A Full Offseason With Rob Ryan
Rob Ryan runs a complex defensive system, as we’ve all heard. The lockout shortened season hindered the Cowboys’ defense and it showed on the field. The full offseason spent learning all the ins and outs should help the defense be more productive, disruptive, and less predictable this season. Plain and simple. This is in a way Ryan’s make or break season. He has been given more talent in Dallas than he has ever had before, and if the defense plays up to their potential, Ryan will be a genius. If they struggle again, he may be looking for work elsewhere, and it probably won’t be in the head caching realm.
The Cowboys Executed A Successful Free Agency And Draft
I don’t care what any analyst says, the Cowboys went about their business this offseason with a purpose, and the additions they made were just what the doctor ordered. The offseason additions had to be carefully planned out and executed precisely. With the league handing down a salary cap penalty it made to offseason that much more difficult. Even with that restraint, they were able to address glaring needs and fill them with competent replacements. Guys like Dan Conner, Vickers, Carr, Brodney Pool, and Claiborne will step in and make an impact right away. Isn’t that what Dallas needed so badly last year? The team is already loaded with super-stars. What is really needed is guys that will step in and play their role. That’s exactly who’s been brought in. Mission accomplished.
The NFC East Is A Winnable Division
The “beast” seems to be tamer than it has been in years past. Sure the super bowl champion came from the NFC east last year, but it was another example of an opportunistic victory. New York was far from perfect, and was just in the right place at the right time. Philadelphia will be better this year than last, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be vulnerable and/or beatable. Even though Washington added one of the best players in the draft in Robert Griffin III, there will still be plenty of growing pains.
Dallas is set up to be a difficult opponent next year within the division. All things considered, we should see a much better product on the field and in turn a better output. As long as Jason Garrett can keep from icing Dan Baily, we should be pretty good.