Day four of the NFL preview here at THE Ultimate Sports Blog continues with a look at one of the most controversial teams in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys are one of those teams that you either love or you hate. Why? Because their fans are so damn obnoxious that if you aren’t one of them, you probably want to strangle one of them with a belt. That’s not the only thing the Cowboys have going for them this season though as we look ahead.
Can Tony Romo stay healthy and bring the Cowboys back to the playoffs?
Will rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott tear up the NFL and become the next running back sensation?
Is this the year the Cowboys finally return to the Super Bowl? It’s been over twenty year since their last appearance. They’re due right?
Let’s find out!
Record Last Ten Seasons: 4-12 (2015), 12-4 (2014), 8-8 (2013), 8-8 (2012), 8-8 (2011), 6-10 (2010), 11-5 (2009), 9-7 (2008), 13-3 (2007), 9-7 (2006)
Last Playoff Appearance: 2014 Divisional vs. Green Bay Packers
Last Playoff Win: 2014 Wildcard vs. Detroit Lions
Super Bowl Titles Won: 5 (Super Bowl VI, Super Bowl XII, Super Bowl XXVII, Super Bowl XXVIII, Super Bowl XXX)
Passing Leader for 2015: Matt Cassel (1,276 yards, 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions)
Rushing Leader for 2015: Darren McFadden (1,089 yards, 3 touchdowns)
Receiving Leader for 2015: Terrance Williams (840 yards, 3 touchdowns)
The Head Coach:
Overall Record (as a head coach): 45-43
Record With Team: 45-43
Previous NFL Jobs: Miami Dolphins Quarterbacks Coach (2005-2006), Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator (2007), Dallas Cowboys Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator (2008-2010)
My Grade: C+
(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)
Player Grade Guide:
Blue = Elite Player
Green = Really Good Player
Orange = Average Player
Pink = Meh
Red = NO THANKS
Gray = Rookie
QB: Tony Romo
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
WR: Dez Bryant
WR: Terrance Williams
WR: Cole Beasley
TE: Jason Witten
OC: Travis Frederick
OG: Zack Martin
OG: La’El Collins
OT: Tyron Smith
OT: Doug Free
DE: Benson Mayowa
DT: Cedric Thornton
DT: Tyrone Crawford
DE: David Irving
LB: Sean Lee
LB: Anthony Hitchens
LB: Kyle Wilber
CB: Brandon Carr
CB: Orlando Scandrick
SS: Barry Church
FS: Byron Jones
vs. New York Giants (September 11)
vs. @ Washington Redskins (September 18)
vs. Chicago Bears (September 25)
vs. @ San Francisco 49ers (October 2)
vs. Cincinnati Bengals (October 9)
vs. @ Green Bay Packers (October 16)
vs. Philadelphia Eagles (October 30)
vs. @ Cleveland Browns (November 6)
vs. @ Pittsburgh Steelers (November 13)
vs. Baltimore Ravens (November 20)
vs. Washington Redskins (November 24)
vs. @ Minnesota Vikings (December 1)
vs. @ New York Giants (December 11)
vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (December 18)
vs. Detroit Lions (December 26)
vs. @ Philadelphia Eagles (January 1)
Perhaps no team in the NFL had as much bad luck last season as the Dallas Cowboys did. Not only did they lose star wide receiver Dez Bryant to an injury for a significant chunk of the season, but franchise quarterback Tony Romo missed almost the entire season with an injury and the Cowboys’ season went to shit after that. For all the crap that people love to shovel on Tony Romo and his “choking”, the guy proved last season with his injury that he’s one of the most valuable players in the NFL. Without him, the Cowboys were left scrambling for a signal-caller and couldn’t find one. What resulted was a 4-12 season where the wheels fell off and no one was screaming “HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS” on social media. It was truly a trying time for everyone. The Cowboys were sucking ass and people everywhere finally recognized just how valuable Romo is to his team.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and time again. With a healthy Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFL. People may like to blast on Romo, but those people are generally your average football fan who don’t realize just how good the guy actually is. Part of the reason he’s been as good as he’s been lately is the Cowboys offensive line. It’s no secret that Dallas has arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. It’s littered with top draft picks and it shows when you watch game film. These guys are amazing and I expect more of the same this season. Where the Cowboys are really going to shine this year will be the running game. I fully expect rookie Ezekiel Elliott to come into the league and potentially smash some records. The guy is that good. I saw him run all over my beloved Oregon Ducks in the National Championship a few years back and I remember thinking he was the most ready NFL running back that I’ve seen since Adrian Peterson entered the league. Now he’s going to be running behind that Dallas offensive line? The Cowboys won’t be struggling to put up points this year. Not with guys like Romo, Elliott, and Dez Bryant.
Defensively is where the Cowboys really worry me though. Outside of Sean Lee, they don’t really have any players that I would consider to be “elite/very good”. That’s pretty scary when you’re talking about a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. When’s the last time a team that looked so bad on paper defensively went on to win it all? Part of the reason the Cowboys’ defense looks bad is suspensions (Rolando McClain and Randy Gregory, I’m looking at you), but another part is lack of talent. The defensive line is disgusting. I understand not bringing back Greg Hardy because the guy is an asshole, but what was the plan to replace him? Where’s the pass-rush going to come from? The Cowboys also need help in the secondary where they hope Orlando Scandrick can come back from injury and be effective. Brandon Carr is trash and Byron Jones showed signs of blossoming into a good player during his rookie year, but there’s still some work left to do there. This defense kind of scares me and I’m not even a Cowboys fan. It’s a good thing they’ll be able to put up points.
This could end up being a huge year for Jason Garrett. If Tony Romo stays healthy and the Cowboys make the playoffs but get bounced early….we could see the end of the Garrett-era in Dallas. I’m personally not a huge fan of Garrett and I think the Cowboys could make a better hire, but he could surprise me this season. It wasn’t that long ago that the Cowboys went 12-4 and flirted with a potential Super Bowl appearance. If it wasn’t for Tony Romo’s injury last season, they could have potentially done it again. This could end up being a fantastic year in Dallas or it could all come shattering down with one really bad horrendous injury. STAY TUNED!