Is there any hope for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014? So far, this off-season has been filled with more questions than answers and panic has settled in for most of the fans. I don’t blame anyone for thinking this could be one dreadful season. A team with a defense that could be considered one of the worst in NFL history and a 34-year-old quarterback with a bad back usually doesn’t make championship runs. Yet, this is the off-season, where optimism thrives and it is the only time when fans really can hold on to hope, before the NFL season crushes it. While it was hard to do, I thought I might share why Cowboys fans should have hope their team makes the playoffs this year. If you are more cynical, I do have an article about how the Cowboys should tank the season. For now, let’s give hope a chance.
The defense was horrible last year and the numbers don’t lie. It is never a good thing to be the last-ranked defense in the NFL and flirt with being one of the worst defenses in history. Then the off-season came, defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher were let go and linebacker Sean Lee tears his ACL. Not a good start for a defense trying to have a rebound year. There were some pretty good additions, like defensive tackle Henry Melton in free agency and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence in the draft, but overall the defense still lacks talent. So far, analysts across the NFL have declared that the Cowboys’ defense is terrible; some even going as far as saying it is the worst in league history. Yet, there is some hope for this maligned unit. Yes, the defense has looked horrible in the pre-season, but there are a lot of injuries it is trying to make up for. A lot of the key impact players will be ready by the time the season starts and will make this unit play much better than it has. Rod Marinelli, in his first season as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, has a knack for turning around defenses and has the attention of his players. There is a chance that if they stay healthy, they can play well enough to make them at least a top-20 defense. That could be truly beneficial to the offense, which would like to win some of the shootouts that they are expecting to be a part of this season. The defense isn’t pretty, but it can be just good enough to be mediocre.