With former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan no longer with the team, there is going to be a domino effect. You would think there would just be a step back with the defense, but that’s not the case.
When Dallas’ offense struggled who was there to pick the team up and get them in a position to win? The defense. Two contests in particular prove this point extremely well; at Cincinnati and a home game against Pittsburg. The offense was struggling and last takeaways by the defense carried the team to victories. You think an 8-8 finish was bad; picture the amount of layoffs there would have been if the Cowboys had finished 6-10?
Now that Ryan is gone, and a replacement still to be named you can most likely expect another step back for the defense. That’s a scary idea right?
So what does Dallas have to combat this regression? The only thing I can see that will save this team from falling to the NFL basement for a continued stretch is the young stars on both sides of the ball. And when I say young stars I don’t just mean the starters. Dallas is going to need quality up-and-comers to offset the injury bug.
Players like Dez Bryant, who put up career numbers this season with 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Sean Lee, who was sorely missed on the defensive side of the ball when he went on injured reserve, will need to continue to improve in order to keep Dallas out of the pits.
This year, more than any year I can remember, Dallas will need to have a deep, quality draft and find some inexpensive free agent finds to help bolster deleted offensive and defensive lines, for example.
I hate to say it Cowboys Nation, but the way things have been shaping up the past few years, the depth and quality of the roster may not get much better in the near future.
Salary cap woes are going to prevent Dallas from signing any big-name offensive lineman, like New England’s Sebastian Vollmer. The same goes upcoming free agents on the defensive side of the ball like Kansas City’s Glenn Dorsey or Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson. These are all players the Cowboys could use, but thanks to owner and general manager Jerry Jones, and his massive amount of bad deals, these players will sign elsewhere.
The draft doesn’t look to help out that much either in the near future. Outside of Morris Claiborne, who did Dallas draft last year that made any kind of impact on the field? Don’t get me wrong, I like Claiborne, but because Jones had to have the big name Dallas missed out on a potential starter when they gave up their second round pick to move up and get the LSU cornerback.
Because of the problems Dallas has getting quality players in free agents and in the draft on a regular basis, the young stars are going to need to stay healthy and continue to get better each week. And it’s a good thing they are so young, because a turnaround may take a while.