The Dallas Cowboys are not in a decline.
You could have suggested it three years ago and be right. If you suggested the team was in decline right after the 2013 NFL Draft, I’d buy it.
But not now. Not after two solid draft cycles. The Cowboys are denying trophy pieces, opting instead to pack the squad with skilled character players with a résumé of once being a captain.
Times They Are A-Changin’
There’s a philosophy change happening in Dallas. Jerry Jones no longer pleads for star power; it is more about a “balanced power” these days.
This isn’t the same Dallas Cowboys. This is a team — led by the mysterious assistant director of player personnel Will McClay — looking to change the culture by drafting smart. By paying smart. By rejecting big contracts for declining stars (DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher). By building a front line. By building a defensive line.
This shift in culture takes time. Successful teams take time to build. And that’s where the Cowboys are — the beginning stages.
Pushing Across the Universe
And while I like the direction the Cowboys are going in, it’s hard for me, at this time of year, to see the team owning a winning record next season. The problem isn’t the players, coaches, or the new draft selections.
The problem is the strength of the 2014 schedule. While the Cowboys are taking smalls steps forward, teams in the NFC Conference (except the NFC East Division) are levels higher than the Cowboys.
The boat in Dallas has crashed for decades. The boat docked for years. Other teams moved forward. But the Cowboys are catching on. Things are being patched. Fixed.
And while the wave of 2014 might be difficult for the Cowboys to push pass, if this team keeps their direction there is reason to believe they will be on the rise for years to come.
A Better Tomorrow
Leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, I believed the Dallas Cowboys were maybe a good 8 to 10-years away from competing for a championship. The Cowboys weren’t drafting well. A culture was not established (our culture was known as not having culture). There was this salary cap mess thing too.
With the way things run now, the 8 to 10-years prediction, I admit, is now a blur.
Tomorrow is looking a lot better than yesterday.