Oct 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys place kicker Dan Bailey (5) celebrates kicking a field goal with holder Chris Jones (6) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Bailey has had about as good of a year as a kicker can have. Missing only two field goals, one being from 50+ yards and making all his extra points, Bailey has been machine-like. Speaking of 50+ yard field goals, Bailey leads the league in both makes and attempts. As for punter Chris Jones, he ranks in the top five for all punters in punts placed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line. Opponents are also in the bottom ten when it comes to average return yards meaning that his placement and the team’s coverage are both rock solid.
And on the note of returns, the Cowboys have maybe the best return man of the year in Dwayne Harris. Harris almost singlehandedly won the Redskins game with a punt return for touchdown and a kickoff return that put the Cowboys inside the 10 yard line. Harris is fourth overall in kickoff return yards, second in average yards per return, tied for fifth in punt return yards, third in average return yards and tied for first in punt return touchdowns. He has pretty much done it all for Dallas and should be headed to the Pro Bowl.
So in total, here is how the team grades out:
C- RUNNING BACKS
A- WIDE RECEIVERS
B TIGHT ENDS
B- OFFENSIVE LINE
C DEFENSIVE LINE
C DEFENSIVE BACKS
A SPECIAL TEAMS
D+ FRONT OFFICE
The team itself grades out as a “B-” overall which is about right. Remember that the Cowboys lost by one point to 8-0 Kansas City on the road and 5-3 Detroit on the road, not to mention a three point loss at home against 7-1 Denver. This is a team that could theoretically be 7-1 but the fact that the Cowboys are a “B-” team and the organizational grade of a “C- / D+” is what keeps the players on the field from reaching the potential that is there. Maybe if the Cowboys were not consistently having players miss games and/or plays due to injury or they were not stretched out to the max in regards to the salary cap, guys like Jakar Hamilton and Lance Dunbar wouldn’t be on the field making crucial mistakes to cost this team game after game?
Going into the second half, Dallas at 4-4 has a one game lead in their division and has won all three games played within the division. If you go by their history under Jason Garrett, there is a possibility that Dallas goes 5-3 over the last eight as they play five teams currently under .500 and three teams that over .500. Finishing the season 9-7 and running the division would guarantee the Cowboys the division championship and a home playoff game. After the bumpy ride that has been the 2013 season, I think any Cowboys fan would take that gladly.