There you have it folks, the NFL Preseason is officially over for the Dallas Cowboys. It was not very pretty, but that can be put behind us know as Cowboys Nation prepares for the start of the 2014 regular season. And it doesn’t seem to matter how well or poorly the team plays in the preseason, there is always excitement surrounding this time of year. Now we wait for Week 1.
Sunday, September 7, the Cowboys will take on the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium. Slotted into the afternoon spot, this could be a match-up worthy of a prime-time slot. But, count your lucky stars it’s not, because Dallas has not had the best luck under the big lights in recent years, and they need momentum going into a season with so many question marks as this one has.
The 49ers have question marks of their own to deal with, as a team that has been labeled as a Super Bowl contender, they have look abysmal on both sides of the ball. Considering their starters really didn’t play last night, and neither did very many of the Cowboys starters for that matter, let’s look at how the two teams stacked up in terms of the first three preseason games.
Most people throw the notion around that the preseason doesn’t matter, that so many of the players that play are not even going to make the roster. I disagree to an extent. The preseason is a great barometer in terms of how good your overall team is. A lot of players won’t make the final 53, but there are a good number of the ones fighting out there that will round out your roster and provide depth. If you look at it this way, you can judge what kind of second and third-string players each team has, and how effective they could possibly be when called upon to step up.
The 49ers had all kinds of problems this offseason, and because of this, I think their troubles will carry over to Week 1. They were outscored through the first three preseason games 24 – 64. Their offensive line has looked susceptible without veteran guard Alex Boone in the lineup due to a contact hold-out situation. Starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick has looked lost and the defense has not lived up to their billing. When so much is spiraling out of control, it feels good to be on the other side.
Don’t get me wrong, Dallas has their own issues. Two defensive players, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and safety Jakar Hamilton have both been suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. On top of that, the defensive line has not provided anything that remotely resembles a pass rush, and key players have been out or are out for the season. The difference is no one thinks Dallas is going to do anything this year. They’re not contenders in most people’s minds. For example, Elliot Harrison from NFL.com had this to say about how bad it could get this year for Dallas:
It’s hard to imagine a team with Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Romo and Murray to fall this far (3-13), but even getting back to 8-8 will be a stretch. Worst-case scenario: The Cowboys’ defense struggles more than last year, and Romo’s back doesn’t hold up, forcing Brandon Weeden to try and keep pace in weekly track meets.
There’s just not very much optimism surrounding the 2014 Dallas Cowboys, but that’s okay. There are so many up-side players on this roster and they know no one is picking them to win anything this season. That’s when players who take pride in their team step-up and quiet the naysayers. Look out NFL – you’ve disregarded the Cowboys, and you are in for a surprise. First one to have their jaw hit the floor – San Francisco.
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