After suffering another 8-8 season without a post-season appearance, Dallas Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones promised to make Valley Ranch a very uncomfortable place this off-season. He didn’t disappoint.
Since the Cowboys loss to the Washington Redskins in the final game of last season, Dallas has fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, running back’s coach Skip Peete, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Walt Williams. In turn, they hired new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Despite these changes, I believe there are five reasons why the Cowboys will make the playoffs next season.
1. Talent returns from injury
Last season’s team was ravished by season-ending injuries. Starters placed on Injured Reserve (IR) included linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, safety Barry Church, corner Orlando Scandrick, center Phil Costa, punter Chris Jones and defensive end Kenyon Coleman.
Defensive tackles Jay Ratliff and Sean Lissemore, running back DeMarco Murray, linebacker Dan Connor and wideout Miles Austin also missed significant time last year.
Rookie’s safety Matt Johnson, linebacker Caleb McSurdy and wideout Danny Coale never even saw any playing time due to various injuries.
With the return of a majority of the starters on defense and half of the 2012 draft class finally healthy enough to contribute, Coach Kiffin will have a lot of pieces to play with this off-season. Add in free agent possibilities and a new draft class, and the 2013 Cowboys could be scary at full strength.