The Dallas Cowboys can be even better in 2017

Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

We discuss how the Dallas Cowboys can improve this offseason to help obtain their goals and win a Super Bowl for their fans and city in 2017.

When the Dallas Cowboys season ended on a last-second field goal against the Green Bay Packers last week the instant reality check of the off season began. By addressing a few key areas the Cowboys should be able to return to the playoffs and compete for a championship.

As you go back and ask yourself what went wrong in the playoff game against the Packers there will be several things that stand out. A slow start, penalties, lack of pass rush, and a lack of ball skills in pass defense. Over the next six months I am sure the Cowboys entire organization will reflect on this and try to build from it and get better.

I could dive deep into quarterback Tony Romo and his situation in Dallas and the rumors floating around about a possible trade for start defender J.J. Watt but I am going to leave that for another time and focus on things that are more realistic and certain.

The Cowboys will enter the new league year with 18 free agents and plenty of questions to go around. Some of their most glaring holes will be at defensive end, defensive back, offensive tackle, and even wide receiver. I will outline how I believe the Cowboys will attack this off season to improve their chances going into next season.

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When free agency opens up this spring I believe Dallas will make a play for some modestly priced free agents such as the addition last year of defensive end Benson Mayowa. They may extend offers to some of their own players such as Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Brice Butler, or even Terrence Williams. I would not expect a big splash in free agency where the team goes out and spends big on a pass rusher or corner back.

I highly anticipate Dallas resigning either Carr or Claiborne so that will eliminate one major need going into next season. This will allow Dallas some flexibility in the draft and allow them to strictly focus on the best player available at their slot in each round.

Some college players to keep an eye on: Defensive back Malik Hooker, defensive end Derek Barnett, and wide receivers John Ross and Dede Westbrook. Each of these players could have an immediate impact on the Cowboys and help get them over the hump.

As we have come to expect under this front-office they will likely go a route we don’t see coming, but with their track record of late I have full confidence they will nail their draft picks.

Also, other than players that will be added to the roster this spring there is two players coming back from injury that I anticipate will make a huge impact on this team and defense. Linebacker Jaylon Smith and defense end Charles Tapper. Smith was a top five talent in last years draft prior to injuring his knee, and Tapper is a very solid pass rusher. Things are looking bright on that side of the ball.

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When the Cowboys address their pass rush and fill a few holes in their secondary – preferably with a ball-hawk – and the addition to Smith I believe the Cowboys could field one of the most improved defensive units next season. That will only help them reach their goal of the Super Bowl.