“Dallas vs. _______ Super Bowl 52” is something that is heard everywhere, yet could be a very false statement. Yes, the Cowboys went 13-3, and they had an amazing season, that I will credit them for, but will they repeat? What is required on any championship team yet it is the one thing the Cowboys lack? That would be something called a DEFENSE. I know, that was harsh, so let’s look at it in a way that doesn’t sound like I am a 50 year old man speaking about politics.
The Cowboys may have one of the most profound offenses this league has to offer, with the “Big 3” of Dak Prescott, Dez “X-Man” Bryant, and Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliot. Who knew the Cowboys offense was going to be putting up the numbers they did? If anyone tells you they did, well…they lied. I understand how outstanding they played last season, but I do not believe they will be able to post the same numbers as last year. Why? Well of course the Zeke suspension is a reason for this, Recently if you haven’t been paying attention to the NFL news, the star running back was suspended for six games due to “domestic violence”. Ezekiel will appeal, and he may get his suspension reduced, I could see it decreasing by 2 games, but I do not think he will get off Scot-free. This suspension takes a serious hit on the Cowboys offense as Ezekiel is vital to them, as he posted 15 touchdowns and ran for 1,631 yards…yeah that’s a lot. Ezekiel helps keep a defense honest, and he does it better than most, as he averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Taking away Zeke, they do have McFadden to back him up. In my opinion McFadden may be able to fill in for Zeke fine, but do not expect their offense to be as versatile as Darren McFadden adds no help when it comes to catching the ball, and the averages yards per carry drops 2.1, bringing it to 3.0. Basically they won’t be as fast paced and as fluent as last season, which is manageable. Their god forsaken offensive line took a hit as well as they lost Guard Ronald Leary to the Demver Broncos last season, which is a lot more significant than most think. Ronald Leary did not allow a single sack last season, and was given an above average grade of 82.5 for run blocking on Pro Football Focus, so yeah the Cowboys are going to miss him big time. They do have La’el Collins to fill in, but PFF has him listed as a tackle, so therefore there is a hole in their line either at tackle or guard, it’s up to them to pick. This offense may have some reliable receivers, such as Cole Beasely, Terrance Williams, and Dez Bryant, but I question Dak’s accuracy as well as overall ability to play quarterback if he is getting pressured more often. Their offense is kind of one big shoulder shrug, and the answer lies with Dak, and his ability to take on D-lineman. Can McFadden fill the role? How will the Cowboys fill the hole in their O-line? Will Dak be able to take some hits? This offense may be questionable, but the real problem lies within the Defense.
Free Agency did everything but help “Americas Favorite team”, as they definitely lost some key pieces to their. Last season the Cowboys D never failed to impress fans as they somehow managed to get off the field, even while facing some of the most high powered offenses in the NFL such as Pittsburgh, as well as Green Bay; where they let up a total of 46 points, which is around 23 points each game, and for a Defense that on paper looked as if they would allow 46 a game…it was rather impressive. Unfortunately, the Cowboys highly underrated Defense, lost 3 key pieces to opposing NFL teams. Barry Church, who packed his bags and headed down to Jacksonville, FL, to play for the Jaguars. He was their starting safety, and a vital part of the Defense. This position can be filled by Jeff Heath, who seemed as if he could really lay a mean hit if the opportunity presents itself. Losing Church is huge, but at least Heath has potential and is heading in the right direction. The Cowboys also lost their top 2 cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (Jets), as well as Brandon Carr (Ravens), leaving Orlando Scandrick to play alongisde either rookies or men who have had very unsuccessful careers in the NFL so far. To add onto this “naked” secondary, they were also “stripped” of J.J. Wilcox (Buccaneers) another safety who was a great rotational man for the “Boys”, coming in and doing what was needed of him each and every time. As for the front 7, well if they aren’t suspended then I’d be surprised. There front 7 is a serious concern as they do not have a proven player, the only sign of positivity for the D would be that Jaylen Smith “looks good”. This defense is not just a shrug of the shoulders, it is an absolute mess. They have no support in the secondary, and nothing to support in the front 7. To be completely honest, they do no have a defense whatsoever…. Sorry Cowboys fans.
Randy Gregory (season)
David Irving (4 games)
Demarcus Lawrence (4 games)
Rolando McClain (season)
All of these players are extremely significant to the defense, whether they were rotational guys or starters, they all had important roles.
WHY THEY WON’T REPEAT THE SEASON:
The Cowboy’s strong suit was their offense last season, but their defense was not a liability to the team. Accounting for all the losses due to free agency or suspensions, their defense has serious issues going into the 2016-2017 season. It is an absolute must if a team has a high powered offense, they need help on the defensive side. “They still have the skill on Offense”, yes they do, but Zeke is gone for 6 as of now and they did lose Leary, so they currently have a hole in their O-line and no star running back. Therefore, they will not go 13-3 next season, they will have around a .500 which would be 8-8. Let’s not forget they do not have a schedule they can skate by on, they are facing either some already established top offenses, or some up and coming offenses that may show their true skill this season. I apologize to the Cowboys fans….. Well not really.