These final 53 Cowboys, plus the 6 practice squad players, are pretty much in place. They all seem like what head coach, Jason Garrett calls, the right kind of guys. When Garrett took over this team, half way through the 2010 season, most of them were not.
The defense, in particular, no longer resembles anything that even Big Bill fielded. Only Jason Hatcher, DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff (sort of) remain. This, I think, is a good thing. Right? I mean, based on what I’ve seen in the preseason, new defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, has really improved the aggressiveness. Who knew that (again based on early results) that Rob Ryan’s crazy, confusing style of the 3 -4 would look so ineffectual in retrospect compared to this simpler Tampa 2 type of 4 -3?
You could say that this new defense emphasizes the safeties instead of the cornerbacks when the Cowboys have a couple real good corners in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. True, but the Cowboys were able to go short on corners, only keeping four, while keeping six safeties, because of that talent. Besides, Will Allen and Barry Church are no slouches as the starting safeties.
The offense is, as you would expect, loaded with Garrett type guys. The three holdovers from the Parcells era/Philips inherited team, Jason Witten, Tony Romo and Miles Austin, are just as much Garrett’s ‘right kind of players’ as they were Bill’s guys. (I’m including Miles in that small group begrudgingly because in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe in Miles, even if he is a right kind of guy). Garrett has systematically shed many players, some of them I liked, over the last two years. These players must have been the ‘wrong type’ of guys.
We can all say, as Cowboys fans, that they should have kept this player or that one, but when you look at some of those players, how many have done anything in this league after leaving the Cowboys? Maybe Jason Garrett knows what he’s doing.
The Cowboys went 2 and 3 this preseason, but you can’t tell me you didn’t see a different, more aggressive, more efficient team out there this summer (special teams aside). There are weaknesses. It’s hard to field 53 players under a salary cap and not have areas of weakness. Those areas need to be coached up and/or have a lot of players to rotate and develop. Looks like the Cowboys are doing just that with the offensive line, safeties and special teams. The Cowboys are trying different combinations on the line and at safety. they churned the bottom of the roster this weekend as they rounded out their 53 players, particularly emphasizing special teams players – the play of special teams this preseason left much to be desired. Good to see that the Cowboys coaching staff saw what we saw.
How does this make the dallas Cowboys a playoff team? Well, first, on offense, they have a franchise QB, one of the best tight ends and one of the best up and coming wide receivers in the NFL not to mention an above average RB trio in Murray, Dunbar and Tanner. The offensive line is a’ half second’ improved as well, which is all the extra time Romo needs. The defense, well, the defense is the real story this year. The 1st team in Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme did not allow a touchdown this preseason while the defense in general forced 11 turnovers.
If these Cowboys can translate this preseason success into the regular season, how can the playoffs be far behind?