UA-59049186-1 NFL Team Preview: Dallas Cowboys - Good if it Goes

NFL Team Preview: Dallas Cowboys

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Last Year:

Record: 4-12

Offense: 335.1 YPG (22nd), 17.2 PPG (31st)

Defense: 348.1 yards allowed (17th), 23.4 points allowed (16th)

The Cowboys entered last season with some of the highest expectations in years after coming off a 12-4 season in 2014, where the franchise got it’s 1st playoff victory in five years. However, high hopes and Super Bowl aspirations quickly dwindled once Tony Romo went down with a broken Collarbone, and a once promising season essentially went tumbling down the drain with him sidelined. Without Romo the Cowboys offense instantly became one of the worst offenses in the league. It was an utter eyesore to watch as they scratched and clawed by week after week just to reach double digits with the likes of Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassell, and eventually Kellen Moore under center. It wasn’t all bad as the running game still had success in large part due to the Cowboys elite offensive line play. But with no passing game whatsoever, the Cowboys simply were unable to put up points. Defensively, the Cowboys were a middle of the pack defense that really showed grit and grind. The way they went out on the field time and time again, as the Cowboys offense gave them no assistance, and forced them to play countless possessions game after game, while still being able to keep the Cowboys in games, was a remarkable feat in and of itself. However, the Cowboys defense faltered in multiple 4th quarters as they simply appeared to have run out of gas most games. Average defense and horrible offense was the case the majority of the year and the results were about what you thought they’d be, a 4-12 season.

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: DT. Cedric Thornton

Key Loses: DE. Greg Hardy, DE. Jeremy Mincey,

2016 Draft Picks

RD(PK) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1(4) Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
2(3) Jaylon Smith OLB Notre Dame
3(4) Maliek Collins DT Nebraska
4(3) Charles Tapper DE Oklahoma
4(37) Dak Prescott QB Mississippi State
6(14) Anthony Brown CB Purdue
6(37) Kavon Frazier S Central Michigan
6(41) Darius Jackson RB Eastern Michigan
6(42) Rico Gathers TE Baylor

2016 Outlook

Coaching Staff:

HC: Jason Garrett

OC: Scott Linehan

DC: Rod Marinelli

ST: Rich Bisaccia

Projected Depth Chart

Offense 

QB. Tony Romo, Dak Prescott

RB. Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden

WR. Dez Bryant, Devin Street

WR. Terrance Williams, Brice Butler

WR. Cole Beasley, Lucky Whitehead

TE. Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, Rico Gathers

LT. Tyron Smith, Charles Brown

LG. La’el Collins, Ronald Leary

C. Travis Frederick, Joe Looney

RG. Zach Martin, Jared Smith

RT. Doug Free, Chaz Green

Defense

DE. Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving

DT. Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins

DT. Cedric Thornton, Terrell McClain

DE. Randy Gregory, Benson Mayowa

OLB. Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wibler

MLB. Rolondo McClain, Andrew Gachkar

OLB. Sean Lee, Damien Wilson

CB. Orlando Scandrick, Josh Thomas

SS. Barry Church, Kavon Frazier

FS. Byron Jones, J.J. Wilcox

CB. Brandon Carr, Anthony Brown

NB. Mo Claiborne

Special Teams

K. Dan Bailey

P. Chris Jones

Breakdown

Offense:

The success of the Cowboys offense in 2016 will hinge on the health of Tony Romo. If he can stay relatively healthy the entire year I expect the Cowboys to be 1 of the best offenses in the NFL. They have the best offensive line in the NFL that features 3 pro bowlers in Smith, Martin and Frederick. At the skill positions the addition of rookie and 4th overall pick Elliott will give the Cowboys a shiny new toy to play with as Elliot excels as runner, catcher and blocker. The receiving corps should also be good to go if Dez Bryant makes a full recovery and returns to form and father time doesn’t take Jason Witten. The key for the Cowboys to truly reach their potential on offense will be 4th year receiver Terrance Williams. He’s shown flashes of talent throughout his career but his play last season was very disappointing. He’s in a contract year though, so it’s highly possible he could be a breakout player for the Cowboys.

Defense:

I’m supposed to be an expert but if you were hoping for definitive analysis about what to expect from the Cowboys defensively in 2016 you’d be much better off going to see your local psychic. I have no clue what to expect. Both starting defensive ends are suspended for the 1st 4 games and starting MLB McClain is suspended for 10 games. Their best corner Orlando Scandrick is returning after missing all of last season. Their best defensive player, Sean Lee, hasn’t played a full season in his entire career so you can only assume that he’ll miss at least 2 or 3 games and that’s a best case scenario. That’s a ton of uncertainty to go into a season with. Best case scenario, Lawerance and Gregory come back after 4 games and wreak havoc off the edge. Sean Lee stays healthy and plays his 1st 16 game season. Scandrick returns to pro-bowl caliber form. Carr and Claiborne finally play up to their reputations and have 1 of those 1 year wonder contract years and Byron Jones becomes a stud. If I were a betting man I wouldn’t like the odds on most of those things happening. What most likely happens is the Cowboys defense starts the first month of the season as a disaster, the ends come back from suspension and are rusty in October. Then the last 2 months of the season they play as a middle of the pack or better defense and show flashes of good play. Overall, as a Cowboys fan I have to tell you, I’m very very concerned about what the Cowboys will be able to do defensively. It looks like for the first half of the season Romo and the Cowboys offense are gonna have a heavy load to carry.

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