Dallas Cowboys fans are going to have to muster a lot of patience for the 2014 season. Why you ask? Quite simply because the Cowboys are going into the 2014 season a lot younger than they have in years past. There are pros and cons to this team getting younger and while the Cowboys are not necessarily in a rebuilding stage, they are replacing older players for younger guys who have very little to no experience in the NFL.
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the favorable aspects of having a younger team. One of the main focuses of the Cowboys coming off the 2013 season was to get healthier and keep players on the field more than they are on the sidelines. It is a known fact that younger people heal more quickly than older people, therefore going younger those players that sustain minor injuries will heal faster and get back on the field quicker than the older veterans on the team. Adding the younger players and the new stretching and workout stations the Cowboys organization added to the training program, fans can look forward to potentially having a healthier NFL season.
Another thing that looks to go well for the Cowboys getting younger is the relief on the salary cap. Over the years since the salary cap went into affect in the NFL, the Cowboys have continuously struggled each off-season to get under the cap. Owner and Jerry Jones wants to win, regardless of how the fans perceive him, his heart is in the right place but sometimes that doesn’t necessarily work out. Jones has a history of over-paying mediocre players such as the wide receive Roy Williams and Miles Austin to name a few. Since the Cowboys are now forced, due to salary cap restrictions, to rely more on their draft picks as opposed to big free agents. This is actually a blessing in disguise as it costs less to pay their draft picks than it does to sign a well-known free agent who is looking for market value for their position.
Now there is some downfall to the Cowboys being a younger team and this is where the new generation of Cowboys fans must have patience. There will be a learning curve for these younger players, fans saw that last season with J.J. Wilcox and B.W. Webb. The young players still have some to mature and there will be inconsistency to allow for. This is all part of growing up in the NFL.
Along with the inconsistencies and immaturity comes the chemistry. How will these young players fit into the team and also how they become accustomed to their positions and roles with the Cowboys? It doesn’t help that the Cowboys have a recent history, especially on defense, of personnel turnover almost on a yearly basis. It’s not only difficult for the younger players but for the veterans of the team to keep up. For the first few games, the learning curve will be steep, especially on defense.
Finally on the downside of having younger players is the discipline. These players will have to get acclimated to the way Jason Garrett runs things for the team. They will have to becomes accustomed to the rules of the NFL and forget their college party days. With younger players comes the potential for hot-headed players and strong emotions. The NFL is a different game than college football and these players will have to learn fairly quickly what the difference between emotion and playing with heart and just saying things out of anger, excitement and celebration. It’s a fine line and with the guidance of the veterans and the coaching staff, these younger players will have a chance.
All in all, it’s great that Dallas is getting younger and that these players are the future of the Cowboys, but fans that have the hunger for another Super Bowl title may have to dig deep down inside and find the patience to weather another mediocre season.