After three straight 8-8 regular seasons without a postseason appearance, the Dallas Cowboys are the very definition of mediocrity. Yet, in the lowly NFC East, every team has a chance to win the divisional crown. And the 2014 regular season is no different.
The Cowboys come into 2014 with one of the most potent offenses in the league. And over the offseason, that side of the ball has gotten even better. With the addition of passing game coordinator Scott Linehan, the Dallas offensive attack is poised on the edge of greatness. Quarterback Tony Romo appears to healthy following back surgery in December. And fourth year wide receiver Dez Bryant could possibly be the best young player at his position in the league.
On the otherhand, the Cowboys defense might possibly be the worst in NFL history. In an attempt to retool this defensive unit, which ranked dead last in the league in 2013, Dallas’ front office decided to part ways with aging veterans like All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Instead, they opted to go younger signing free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton and drafting Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, injuries have hindered both players and the Cowboys face the start of the regular season without them.
In fact, injuries will be a major theme for the Cowboys in 2014. On top of those suffered by Melton and Lawrence, Dallas also lost their defensive leader in linebacker Sean Lee to a season-ending knee injury back in May. And promising young second-year linebacker DeVonte Holloman was lost earlier this month to a career-ending neck injury.
Dallas’ defensive backfield has also taken a hit as both starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick and safety Jakar Hamilton have been suspended for the first four games of the regular season. Scandrick tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. While Hamilton was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Needless to say, Dallas’ defense is limping into the 2014 regular season. But they should improve as the season progresses. Regardless, the Cowboys will certainly be relying on their offense to keep them in games early and often in 2014.
More of the Cowboys Preview and Prediction article on the next page.
If you’d like to see the predictions and previews for the other NFC East teams, click on their below banner: