The national outlook for the immediate future of the Dallas Cowboys isn’t good this season. And the fans outlook isn’t much better. Still, the Cowboys as an organization believes they’ve made positive changes to this team in order to get over the 8-8 hump. But it’s the massive amount of injuries suffered, mainly on the defensive side of the ball, that could derail this teetering franchise.
It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys playing worse defensively than they did last season. Ranked dead last in the NFL, the worst in franchise history and fourth worst in league history; you’d think there would be no way to go but up for their defense this year. But according to NFL.com’s Around The NFL Editor Gregg Rosenthal, it appears as if it is worse.
“The Cowboys’ defense could go from worst to collegiate. Cap mismanagement forced them to release DeMarcus Ware and lose Jason Hatcher in free agency. Linebacker Sean Lee, easily their best defensive player, is out for the season with a torn ACL. The No. 34 overall pick in the draft, DeMarcus Lawrence, broke his foot and is expected to miss the first three to six games of the season. Their best cornerback of late, Orlando Scandrick, was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs…The Cowboys are bad and unlucky. Even the players that appear talented like cornerbacks like Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr were picked to fit a system that is long gone. This is an organization that has consistently lacked a cohesive vision. “
Rosenthal and the Around the NFL crew go on to predict Dallas will struggle to win six games this season, and will be the worst team in the NFC East. They also gave the Cowboys a power ranking of 27th in the league for 2014. Which, if true, would land them the 6th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
As a Cowboys fan, it’s hard to defend this defense. Injuries have certainly disseminated the front office’s attempt to make this squad younger and faster. In fact, players who should have been released this offseason are now starters going against the San Francisco 49ers in less than two weeks.
But as the season progresses, this defense will get better. Even if it’s just marginally. With the anticipated return of Anthony Spencer and Lawrence from injury, our pass rush should be much improved. And when Scandrick returns from suspension, the Cowboys backfield should be at full strength. Unfortunately, this team will be forced to rely on it’s currently sputtering offense to keep them in games this year. I fully expect every game this season to be a shootout. Strap in and hold on to that emotional padded lap bar in front of you. Because it’s going to be another roller coaster year in Big “D”.