• hardwater

    A lot went right for the Cowboys last year with good health and some big end of game heroics. Probably shouldn’t expect as much of the same this year although with a younger roster good health can be more expected. I do expect EE to be an absolute beast this year and suspect the Cowboys will lean on him heavily. Dak should be mostly similar to last year but may experience a few growing pains as defenses have a year of tape on him and the team will expect him to expand a bit on his downfield and over the middle throws. However, while I believe they should certainly push him a little they should let those recognitions come naturally with experience and with Dak I believe they will.

    IMO the defense has a chance to be better than last year and I believe for the first time in a long time there is some genuine excitement within the team and players on that side of the ball. The rookies appear to have talent and the chance to grow into better players than those they hope to replace. Likely there will be growing pains early but the hope is that those are offset with young aggression and an ability to get turnovers. The pass rush has a legit chance to improve with better health and a full season from DLaw and the return of Tapper and of course the Big Taco. The Jaylon Smith question remains to be answered but has potential to be a huge addition. Add in some demonstrated blitzing ability by Chidobe Awuzie and we could have something on D.

    Hope springs eternal!

  • Michael

    Every year we see these schedule projections and every year some teams we expect to be tough in May are terrible in the regular season and some teams we expect to be walk-overs in May are tough in the regular season. Predicting the NFL via schedule is a losing game in era of parity.*

    *The Patriots excepted.

    • McShrek

      Packers, Steelers and Seahawks have been consistent winners over the past 4-5 years (Steelers for far longer), when you have a franchise QB mixed with good drafts you get winning programs.

      • Michael

        True enough. There might be four consistent teams at the moment.

        I am constantly amazed by how little it takes to derail even a good team in the parity era. The departure of a key executive, coach, or player can turn a franchise on its head. When the OL coach, Scarnecchi, left the Patriots for a year they were terrible along the OL and it cost them the championship game against the Broncos. I don’t know what they paid him to return but the next year they were right back in the Superbowl mix.

  • Jon B

    Dak and Zeke,healthy for 16 and Dallas wins 10 or 11.

    Zeke is,our defense. Clock killing td making offensive line enhancing.

    All the teams were looking at on the schedule are looking at us and saying. Man we got play the Cowboys. That line. That back and Dak.

    Our D lost a lot but it wasn’t elite. See the playoffs. Still win the east and we’re in. Simple as that.

    Don’t be surprised to see a June cut or camp cut of some veterans land Dallas a DB or edge rusher. Jerry isn’t getting younger but the Dallas Cowboys are young and good. Dak and Zeke have won wherever they played. Not bad when you played at miss state and Ohio state.

    11-5. Wins the east. The lack of a edge rusher and sacks once again will hurt us come playoffs. Ryan Rodgers and others pose serious point differentials Zeke and Dak may not overcome like in playoffs last year. But make no mistake. Dak will be better. Zeke will be better. Dez will be healthy. Beaz and Wit will be same old faithful you know and love.

    If they hit on the young DBs and Jones Scandrick and Brown are healthy for 16 and their is even a sliver of a legit pass rush. Well who knows. Mayowa and Irving could mature and be beast. We never know. I hope our front 7 can help,out the back end. Taco supremes for all opposing qbs we hope.

    Remember Jerry has a secret weapon every training camp. His redshirt injured 2nd rounder. Jaylon welcome aboard. Now go be Derek Brooks or Brian Urlacher and we’re good.

  • McShrek

    Vegas just came out with their predictions, have the Boys winning 9.5 games which is very interesting, even if they placed them behind the Patriots on winning the Super Bowl…..the sheer physicality of the opponents this year will tax our depth, especially on defense where we have none in the DB backfield…way too early to predict records due to injuries which will affect most teams during training camp………………..but winning 8-11 games sounds reasonable

    • Taylor

      My prediction is 9-7 to 11-5. We’re better than average, not elite, but, as you say, ouch.

      • McShrek

        Think that you are 100% correct……just finished responding to Kevin and we really have a bunch of unresolved positions in transition.

    • Kevin Black

      I disagree with the lack of DB depth. We have quite a bit and will have to cut players that will probably end up on other teams. If you meant ‘experienced’ DB depth, then I am in agreement with you. If you meant DB ability, I think we are actually better this year from top to bottom of our DBs.

      • McShrek

        I meant DBs that can actually cover people over a 60 minute game………..Not sure how anyone can state that definitively right now, just because we drafted 4 DBs in the draft does not mean that they will translate their college games onto the next level…..have seen too many Dwayne Goodrichs, Mario Edwards, Ahmad Dixon, Terrence Mitchell, BW Webbs, Matt Johnsons, etc etc to pronounce these four as legitimate NFL starters (if one translates, it would be great, 2 would be a stunning success) ……….draft is much more art, luck than science, even the better personnel folks have total duds in their resumes.

        • Kevin Black

          From what I’ve looked on each DB drafted, I’m convinced that Chido and Lewis can handle the duties and with Brown pretty much being the defacto starter from last year and Nolan Carroll being a minor upgrade over Carr, I think we are good there. The loss of Church is probably the biggest due to his leadership and knowledge. So, that leaves a hole there that will need to be filled by Heath and Woods. Blanton certainly has the NFL experience but might be rusty scheme-wise.

          In the beginning of the year, it will be rougher than we’d like, but by the end of the year, this defense and especially the defensive backs will be better than at any time in 2016.

          • McShrek

            It must be the off season, everyone is undefeated and all the draftees are going to be Pro-Bowlers………i hope U are right but experience tells me that it will not be that easy, especially with a haphazard pass rush.

          • Kevin Black

            I feel people hold on to players way to long. The Patriots rarely hold on to veterans like Church unless they can get them on a team friendly deal and people praise them for being so good at foresight and planning, but when the Cowboys do the same thing, fans get quesy and think London tower is falling down.

            Will there be growing pains? Absolutely. Will Dallas go 13-3 again? Unlikely due to the number of new faces and the tougher schedule. Will they be better than 2016? I believe they will. It will take players getting better throughout the year, but with players from last year getting better as most players experience the biggest increase between their rookie and sophomore years, and the growth of the rookies, it looks promising.

            It’s not a guarantee, but the NFL offers surprisingly few of those.

          • McShrek

            IMO, Zeke and Dak will have a mountain to climb to duplicate their 2016 seasons; offensive line is replacing 40% of its members and we know that Leary’s output will not be matched by either Cooper or Collins…….the skill positions depend greatly on the hogs up front, we are unsettled there, even with the other three being legit All-Pros; i agree that Church was mediocre, i thought that Wilcox was the better prospect especially as to how well he covered last year….but it is not about them at all, but as to how talented the newcomers turn out to be…….we are going to be facing 5-6 elite QBs next year (Rodgers, Ryan, Wilson, Carr, Rivers, Eli always gives us fits, Cousins had huge days against us last year and Wentz is bound to be better, Smith in KC is consistent) unlike what we faced in 2016……….DBs will be tested early and often and if they prove to be a weakness every offense will pick on them….this team will win between 8-11 games, IF the offense holds up to last year’s production……….we are still lacking a legit deep threat on offense, Witten is at the end of his run, and we have no established big time pass rusher to disrupt offenses; Jaylon Smith seems like a long way off, LBs without him are mediocre, and our DBs are in state of flux…..now that i have written this 10 wins will be a great accomplishment.

          • Kevin Black

            Wilcox to me was a big ‘meh’. I loved his hitting and his angles improved somewhat, but Heath was slowly replacing him near the end last year. I won’t miss Wilcox. I’m real curious to see how Frazier does since he will be in his second year.

            The LBs will take a step up and make the front seven (7) a real force in my opinion, although on most downs it will be a front six (6). Still, Woods can come down to help with the run game and appears able to handle the job. I believe Jaylon Smith will be fine. He will have some game rust, but he will shake that off by game three. I don’t consider Lee to be mediocre and Wilson was coming on last year pretty good. Hitchens, while not a pro bowler, is a steady influence and can make plays on occasion.

            The DL looks stacked with capable players even if there is no War Daddy. Taco is no War Daddy and I believe will eventually end up on the left side of the defense in a couple of years. The real question is how will Lawrence and Tapper do this year. Tapper could be the real unsung hero here and Lawrence could be out of a job after this year. As much as I love Tank, his body is betraying him at a very young age. He might have to consider a move to a 3-4 team or retire early. With Mayowa, Irving, Charlton and Tapper, Lawrence really could be the odd man out. Now, if Dallas moves Irving back inside with Collins, there might be a spot for him. No matter what happens though, it will take a team effort.

            Zeke will probably be the only one to duplicate his year from last year and possibly improve on it since he won’t have the feeling out process in the first three games like last year. Emmitt even mentioned that Zeke will seem like a someone how was shot out of the gate this year.

            Dak will have some regression, but this will be mainly due to the high quality defenses he will face this year versus last year. To counter that, Dallas has added Switzer and Gathers, two people who will be very Dak friendly.

            The OL will have their issues. You can’t lose a veteran like Free and a player like Leary without some struggles, but Collins can outplay Free by the end of the year and if Frank can get out of Cooper what people saw in the draft, then he could be ( and this is highly speculative ) better than Leary by the end of the year also. It’s a projection, but we still have some options to plug into the left guard if needed. I’m more worried about injuries to the OL than anything else. Outside of the starters, the backups leave you a bit worried due to injury history and ability. I think Green can do it, but he can’t stay healthy. Still, when you have three pro bowlers on your OL, it had still better be one to the best in the NFL irregardless.

            The WRs are in good shape as is the TEs assuming Swaim or Hanna can play this year. If not, then it could get dicey if any injuries happen to Gathers or Witten, but make no mistake, Gathers will be the number 2 TE out of training camp.

            One last thing to remember: Every team has weaknesses. The key is to seep yours covered while exposing the other teams. Sometimes the strength and weaknesses match and sometimes they don’t. Dallas seems to have fewer holes than most of the NFL… for today at least.

          • Taylor

            I’m going to be surprised if Jaylon is able to play. Like to be wrong, but just don’t see it.

          • Lee1936

            The last report I read was that Jaylon still can’t lift his toes. He has drop-foot. He can’t play with such a liability. Nevertheless, the front office clings to the hope that the damaged nerve regenerates.
            In the meantime, he occupies a roster spot, and gets his high-2nd round salary. How long will JerryJ maintain this folly? Probably another year, at least.

  • daledoe

    It’s a tough road but if this team is truly ready to take the next step they will be battle tested going into the playoffs. If not…see 2016 Carolina Panthers.

    • McShrek

      6-10 would be a disaster as to expectations, but certainly possible, especially if the injury bug hits the o-line

      • Lee1936

        Suppose Dak misses 3 or 4 games early in the season. JerryJ calls Tony to come home from telecasting and save the Cowboys’ season. Tony declines, seeing the Cowboys are off to a really bad start, and believing he will not be given a chance to win the starting job, and considering that if he leaves his telecasting job, he might lose it.

        • Steven Van Over

          In the age of reality TV … he comes down out of the booth to start the second half … Disney Films is all over it 🙂