Cowboys are underdogs yet again; Challenge accepted

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

People want to doubt the Dallas Cowboys, and they are wrong for doing so

Much like every other season, football fans and analysts are casting doubt on the Dallas Cowboys.  Despite retaining the majority of the roster and making coaching changes, doubt has resumed.

Many power rankings list America’s team as a middle-of-the-pack team. That is quite a steep drop from being named Super Bowl contenders last offseason. As usual, the Cowboys will take the challenge and criticism with a grain of salt.

Dallas’ offense is still one of the best in the NFL. Countless injuries let it flop last season, but players returning healthy this season should see this group return as one of the best in the league.

Changes to the team

Only one starter will not be returning next season, and that is fullback Jamize Olawale. Arguably the best receiving corps and best offensive line are returning with a running back looking to prove himself and a quarterback returning from a brutal injury.

On the defensive side of the ball, there are some more changes. Coaches Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula got fired after only one season with the team. Replacing them are Dan Quinn, Joe Whitt Jr., and Aden Durde.

Some key players left the team, such as edge rusher Aldon Smith, safety Xavier Woods, and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. Veteran linebacker Sean Lee has not officially made a retirement decision as of yet, but it appears his 10-year career has come to an end.

To combat those losses, owner Jerry Jones signed safety Keanu Neal and edge rusher Terell Basham. More players will join the team, but it will be through the upcoming NFL Draft.

It’s hard for me to look at Dallas as a middle team. The 2020 season is an inaccurate display of the team’s capabilities. Ironically, that is every analyst’s reasoning for the Cowboys’ placement.

Judging how the team will perform next season based on last season is like comparing how well a car drives with and without an engine. It is not a fair representation.

What you can look at is the team from Week 1 to Week 5. In that time, the defense was a mess while the offense was a masterpiece. The hirings of new defensive coaches and Neal help fix the issues from those weeks.

Without half of their team, which was after Week 5, Dallas owned a record of 4-7. How well would they play had their most important players stayed healthy?

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The NFL Draft, which begins April 29, will likely see high-profile prospects join Quinn’s defense. With four draft picks in the top three rounds, the Cowboys have to nail one of them.

Where the Dallas Cowboys rank in the league will be a topic to revisit after the draft. As of right now, the Cowboys are, at the very least, an above-average team.