With the Cowboys finally eliminated, season turns to evaluation


With the Dallas Cowboys finally eliminated from playoff contention, their season turns to evaluation of it’s players in the final two weeks.

With Saturday’s loss to the New York Jets, the 2015 Dallas Cowboys have finally been eliminated from playoff contention. In the face of devastating injuries and demoralizing defeats, the team never stopped fighting for what would have been a miraculous division title. With that dream now dashed, the front office will use these next two games to evaluate the players currently on the roster and devise their strategy for next season. This latest loss featured several players who should give the Cowboys reason to be hopeful for a return to form in 2016 however.

Veteran running back Darren McFadden had yet another 100-yard game against the Jets. He ran 16 times for exactly 100 yards, topping the century mark for the fifth time this season. McFadden has been the full time starter for the Cowboys since the team released troubled runner Joseph Randle after the Week 5 loss to New England.

Coming into the last two games of 2015, McFadden will need a total of just 102 yards to reach the 1,000 yard mark. It would be just the second time in the former number four overall pick’s career that he reached the mark. Dallas will likely add a young running back this off-season, but the team should definitely be encouraged by what McFadden has shown them in his first season in Dallas.

Young defensive linemen often have difficulty transitioning to the NFL game and can take some time to acclimate. Over the past six games, second year defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has shown that he is catching up to the curve. On Saturday night against the Jets, Lawrence recorded his seventh sack of 2015. It was his sixth in the last six games, and he is starting to look like the teams best pass rusher. The Cowboys will be hoping form a similar jump in play from fellow second rounder Randy Gregory next season, and don’t be surprised if the front office spends another early draft pick along the defensive front.

Head coach Jason Garrett made the switch at quarterback that fans have been waiting for early on in the loss to New York. After another ineffective start by Matt Cassel, Garrett called on back-up Kellen Moore. In his first career regular season action, Moore played like an inexperienced quarterback but he wasn’t afraid to push the ball down the field.

Moore threw three interceptions but also moved the offense as well as any quarterback not named Tony Romo has all season. He was even able to find wide receiver Dez Bryant on a quick screen against an all-out blitz for something called a red-zone touchdown. Moore is likely not the long term answer at quarterback for the Cowboys, but he has two games left to earn a chance to compete for the primary back-up role on next year’s team.

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The 2015 fifteen Dallas Cowboys season is no longer about whether the team wins or loses. It is about how the players compete over the final two weeks of the season. These final games will determine who from this season’s team will return and who will moving on. This was certainly not the season this team or it’s fan base were expecting, but that is how the NFL works, and the Cowboys could just as easily be right back on top in 2016.