The Dallas Cowboys will once again enter another training camp next month with high expectations. That after various injuries and underwhelming play resulted in the Cowboys posting a disappointing 6-10 record within the worst division in the NFL, the NFC East.
Poised for a bounce-back season, the Cowboys have made several offseason changes to help improve their odds in 2021. But there are two mistakes this team must try hard to avoid if they are going to be a playoff-worthy squad this upcoming season.
Mistake #1 – Trying to implement too much too early
One of the biggest criticisms of the previous defensive coaching staff led by former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is that the team tried to introduce a complicated new scheme virtually during a worldwide pandemic. As a result, the defense fielded a historically bad performance last season but appeared to improve as the team simplified things towards the end of the year.
The hiring of Dan Quinn to replace Nolan seemed to indicate the team would be stepping things back to a more familiar defensive scheme. Still, the recent news that first-round rookie linebacker Micah Parsons has had a pretty hectic offseason learning multiple positions is concerning as putting too much on the player’s collective plates was a major issue for the previous coaching staff.
Mistake #2 – Ignoring the rushing attack
Last season, with quarterback Dak Prescott under center, Dallas was on pace to challenge the league’s all-time passing yards in a season record. Despite Prescott throwing for 1,856 passing yards in less than five games, the Cowboys started the season losing three of their first four games.
With head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore at the helm of the Cowboys’ offense, it’s not hard to imagine Dallas being so enamored with the passing attack they forget to run the football. But the fact is, the Cowboys have found playoff success as of late relying heavily on their rushing attack, with their running backs winning the NFL rushing title the last three times Dallas has earned a postseason bid.
According to TeamRankings.com, the Dallas Cowboys passed the ball a league-low 51.30% in 2016 with rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott helping to lead Dallas to a 13-3 record. Two years later, Zeke once again was the NFL rushing leader carrying that squad to the playoffs as the Cowboys passed the ball just 56.77% of the time. Last year, Dallas threw the ball a whopping 61.37% of the offensive snaps and finished with a 6-10 record.