There were these same feelings around the same time two years ago, it was after the Dallas Cowboys had lost a heart breaker to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. The team was on the right track and would be back to compete for a Super Bowl in 2015!
And then 2015 happened. Injuries, coaching and plain old bad luck struck the Cowboys down. There would be no playoffs or Super Bowl run, just the pain from watching a terrible season unfold.
Just two years later, the Cowboys are right back in the same position. Was it a fluke season, or is this team ready to take off like the teams from the early 1990’s?
Comparing them to Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and the rest of the ‘Boys is a tad premature, but there are a few reasons to believe this group is different from the 2015 team. Yes, Dallas missed a golden opportunity this season, but the success of this year can be repeated, unlike what happened after 2014.
The easiest reason to believe the Cowboys can sustain their success is because they have a quarterback heading into his prime. There is some worry about teams having a full off-season to dissect how to slow down Dak Prescott, but he is only going to get better. Prescott is not one to rest on his laurels and he will put in the work to improve as his career goes on. Many who know Prescott believe he’s going to continue to rise as a player and he has given no indication he can’t handle whatever comes his way.
At this time two years ago, even though he was coming off of a brilliant year, Tony Romo was 34-years old. Maybe he had a few good season left in him, but nothing like Prescott, who is just beginning his career. Dak is the long-term answer for the Cowboys and even though Romo might still be the better quarterback, the window of competing for championships resides with Prescott now, more than it did with Romo back then.
Another reason to believe in the future of the Cowboys is because of Ezekiel Elliott. He’s an absolute star and has young, fresh legs for the team to ride. Elliott is a difference maker at running back, while at this time two years ago, it seemed obvious that Dallas was going to let DeMarco Murray walk away in free agency and the position was in flux.
There is no such issue this time around and the Cowboys have a player who is still getting better at a position they value. Zeke hasn’t even hit his stride yet, while Murray was coming off of a ridiculous workload which was going to lessen his effectiveness moving forward.
Of course, the Cowboys still have one of the best offensive lines in the game to help their young studs excel and Dez Bryant is not locked into a contract situation. A few years ago, Dez was working towards a new deal and wasn’t around the team as much as he will be this off-season.
Also in 2014, the Cowboys had very little injury issues to deal with. This year, the team played through some key pieces missing multiple games, but won anyway. Dallas has more depth now than they had a few years ago and proved they can sustain a rash of injuries.
That’s why these Cowboys are a different group than the team that came off the same type of season just two years ago. Sure the defense needs work, just as it did back then (Dallas will address that area), but they are in a better position this time around.
It’s tough to repeat the kind of success the Dallas Cowboys had in 2016, but they have the pieces to build on for next year. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of an extended run for the Cowboys.
There are reasons to believe.
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