The Dallas Cowboys are staring down possibly their most important season in years. Core players are starting to hit their decline; young players are hitting their impressionable stage that will be crucial to their maturity. While there are reasons to believe that this season can crash and burn, I believe that we could be looking at a very special season for the Dallas Cowboys. Here are 5 reasons why:
5. Dynamic Backfield:
For the first time since Emmitt Smith the Dallas Cowboys have a bonafide every down back. DeMarco Murray alone makes the Dallas Cowboys a more dangerous team because of his vision and all around ability. Not to mention that he will probably give the Cowboys the best rushing numbers they’ve seen in 10 years.
Add in the dynamic Felix Jones, who has been plagued by injury, and you have a very dangerous tandem. Felix Jones is a homerun hitter, despite his failures as a lead back Felix Jones has still continued to show ability as a change of pace guy and a dynamic receiver out of the backfield.
Murray and Jones offer matchup problems for every team because of their abilities and the great compliment they give one another.
4. An Improved Young Core:
Dez Bryant might have had a giant mishap this offseason, but the direction seems to be that his mother will not continue on with charges. While that can change and the image of Dez Bryant needs rebuilding there is no denying his talent. I don’t condone what happened but I do think that Dez Bryant can still mature into a game changing receiver as well as a role model for young players.
Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee, and Morris Claiborne represent the future of this team. All of those players are impact players at this point and will likely mature together into a very formidable core of players in the future. Bryant is staring down a 1000+ yard, 11 TD season. Murray is likely to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. Sean Lee is considered one of the best young playmaking linebackers in the league. Lastly, Morris Claiborne enters the mix with unlimited potential about what he can become.
With the maturation process that is happening with these 4 young players added to what Tyron Smith already means to the team you have an elite core group that can lead this Cowboys team for the foreseeable future.
3. Change of Philosphy:
While a lot of people don’t like what Jason Garrett has done so far with the organization, I go on the record being a strong supporter. Unfortunately, the “win now” mentality of the league doesn’t allow a change of culture in organizations that have become lowly. Garrett has brought discipline and accountability to a team that lacked it. While the team isn’t perfect, Garrett is still implementing his philosophy but his changes haven’t gone unnoticed and WILL attribute to a win now philosophy.
2. Evolving Defense
The Dallas Cowboys defense has begun an evolution process over the last 2 years thanks in large part to Rob Ryan. With veteran weapons like DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff manning the helm and players like Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, and Jason Hatcher continuing to grow the defense is in pretty good hands. Now add in the offseason prizes of Brandon Carr, Dan Connor, and Morris Claiborne and you have a unit that isn’t only strong but also deep.
The Cowboys have finally built a defense that can be rotated to maintain freshness but still maintain playmaking assets. Though they aren’t layered with hall of fame names, they are still stocked will capable defenders who can deliver with consistency.
The Cowboys defense is on the verge of elite classification. They have a premier pass rusher and playmakers now in the secondary that will feast on opposing quarterbacks. Though it will take time for them to completely adjust to Rob Ryans scheme, when they do watch out.
1. The Growth of Tony Romo
Bottom line is that Tony Romo is a helluva quarterback bar none. He is elite in terms of ability but needs to improve on consistency. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that his receiver corps and offensive line have been in relative flux over the years and that’s hard on any quarterback.
The truth is Tony Romo makes those around him better. Miles Austin is an undrafted player who benefited from having a playmaking gunslinger; Patrick Crayton had success and couldn’t find it elsewhere, Laurent Robinson wasn’t exactly a hot commodity until being paired with Romo. Romo is a playmaker, which occasionally makes poor decisions in lue of playing conservatively. I can live with that.
What gives me the most optimism though is Tony’s commitment to team and work. Tony has led by example the last two off-season’s orchestrating workouts, helping coach the young talent, and most notably sticking up for Dez Bryant on national TV. This tells me that Tony is committed to his teammates, he trusts them, and they can rely on him. When you’re the leader of one of the most over-scrutinized football teams in America… that’s very important.