Are the Cowboys Ready to take the Next Step?
Is this the year, after a few odd seasons, is this the year we finally find out who these Dallas Cowboys are? Start looking at early predictions of the Cowboys and the opinions are split about how good this team will be. Most believe there will be some type of regression after a surprising season in 2016.
So how good will this team be?
A few years ago it was a maddening trend of being an average team, going 8-8 for three straight years. Truth be told, those teams weren’t very good and were held together by the magic of Tony Romo. Being .500 during those three seasons was a minor miracle for a team rebuilding on the fly.
Then a 12-4 season came out of nowhere in 2014. Finally, the identity Jason Garrett had always wanted had come to fruition and the team won games. It was a team on the rise, but had an aging quarterback, while the Cowboys were beginning to get younger.
The putrid 4-12 that followed showed that Dallas needed to find a successor to Romo and, coincidentally, DeMarco Murray. The team was in many of the games they lost, but were missing the key element at quarterback to win games late.
Last year was another surprise as the Cowboys once again defied the odds and won 13 games with a rookie quarterback, who was drafted in the fourth round, and a rookie running back who fit the team that drafted him to a T. Dallas lost in the playoffs, but showed the future looks bright with a young signal caller and youth all over the team.
The current version of the Cowboys are built exactly how Garrett wants; they will try to bludgeon opponents in the running game and take advantage of mismatches in the passing game. They have the pieces to dominate on offense and have the quarterback to build around.
Defensively, this isn’t a special group, but they have remade almost the entire unit in the past three years. It’s a work in progress but may end up surprising us again because of their athleticism, versatility and affinity for rotating in fresh players. Sounds a little something like the early 1990’s defense (no, I’m not comparing, yet), doesn’t it? Young, fast, hungry and coming at you in waves.
It all leads us back to the question: are the Dallas Cowboys closer to a 12-13 win team they are proven to be when they get reliable quarterback play? Or are they closer to a 4-to-8 win team who found a quarterback, but aren’t good enough on defense to survive a brutal schedule? The never ending cycle of up and down seasons cannot continue in 2017, can it?
The NFL is a tough league, the playoff turnover each season is proof of that, but the Cowboys seem to be on their way up. Another 13-3 season appears to unlikely due to a much tougher schedule, but it’s time for Dallas to prove they are more than just a one-hit wonder every few years.
So what’s it going to be for these Dallas Cowboys? Are they ready to take the next step towards consistency? We’ll start to find out soon enough.
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