Dallas Cowboys Significantly Increase Position Competition Throughout Roster


Many factors account for the success or failure of an NFL team, like the Dallas Cowboys, pursuing the coveted Lombardi Trophy.  Even the best of prognosticators miss badly when just trying to predict the playoff teams each season. History tells us position competition is a key indicator of success.

The mantra of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has always been position competition. The analysts that blasted Carroll during his first two years as coach, now eat crow. Current and former players alike talk about his passion for creating a constant competitive environment.

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The same could be said for Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He has consistently preached his belief that simply giving players positions on the fifty-three man roster based on reputation or status is not a trait of a winning team.

This could be argued as the change of culture component the Cowboys needed the most when Garrett took over. Many Cowboys fans remember camp cupcake. The training camps directed by former head coach Wade Phillips were simply a crowning of big names.

Many Cowboys fans also remember the painful result of that culture. Dallas was a rudderless ship in the middle of the 2010 season. A result of not turning over the roster by allowing young and hungry talent to win spots on the team.

Here we are in the spring of 2015. This is the time when the ninety man training camp roster is basically set. There will be some minor changes but very rarely drastic changes at this point. Even post June 1st roster cuts have normally been announced and decided upon.

For the Cowboys the only shake up could surround cornerback Brandon Carr. Conventional wisdom says that the team and Carr will come to some sort of compromise. The leverage for the veteran corner is ironically the shaky health and uncertainty of fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne.

If Claiborne were healthy, Carr’s position would be tenable. The cornerback position is one of the three weak points of competition on the current roster.

When studying the Cowboys roster, it is clear the talent level has increased greatly at several positions since the end of the 2013 season. This should lead to one of the most competitive training camp since former head coach Bill Parcells left the organization.

With so many observers and fans in a tizzy over the running back position, the state of the position is probably not as bad as some decry. Nor is it as solid as in the past.

Many forget that former running back DeMarco Murray was an injury prone player throughout his career. Undoubtedly the coaches will not miss the turnovers as a result of his propensity to put the ball on the ground.

Perspective is a funny thing. It could be argued that a key fumble against the Redskins in a loss, cost the Cowboys home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The catch-no catch by wide receiver Dez Bryant overshadowed a key second half fumble by Murray.

Regardless, the Cowboys are gambling on their offensive line, an August running back cut from another team, a running back still out there looking for a job or a mid-season pick up.

The other weak position is safety. This position that has haunted the team since the retirement of former Cowboys great Darren Woodson. Looking at the possibilities at safety, there is a definite concern. Look for the team to scour the league in August for a possible cure.

When looking at offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver, and surprisingly linebacker, one can see that the team will be much deeper than in years past.

Linebacker is an intriguing position for the team. For the last three seasons, the defense has had to start linebackers that were basically kept on the roster for special teams with the hope that they wouldn’t have to be called upon to fill a key role on defense during games.

Their fears came to fruition and the defense suffered in many games as a result. To make a run at the NFC championship, the defense has to be stouter.

This offseason the front office has significantly increased the talent level at linebacker. There could be a valid argument made that this will be the strength of the 2015 defense.

The return of a healthy Sean Lee and the presence of Rolando McClain should give the Cowboys one of the league’s top linebacking corps.  Both players have injury histories but the players behind them won’t be a major drop off this season.

Competition. It will be the theme this summer in Oxnard. The result could be a championship season for the 2015 Dallas Cowboys.

Next: Are The Dallas Cowboys Running The Back Into The Ground?