Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) warms up prior to the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys’ 2013 Season Preview Part I (Offense)


These Cowboys need to win now, and not only to save their coach’s job, but because they are one of the most talented teams in the league. In this fluid era of the NFL, when only the Patriots seem to have discovered the secret to stay on top for a long period of time (by the way, that secret is called Tom Brady), the need to make the most of your talent base is urgent. Because the famous opportunity window closes extremely fast (just ask the Chargers).

As ESPN’s Dan Graziano pointed out, the Cowboys are loaded with top talent all across their team, and some of these players are getting old, while others will not be around here next year.

So, now that the preseason is over and the Giants loom on the horizon, let’s take a closer look at the 2013 Dallas Cowboys and what their chances are for the upcoming season.

Offense

Maybe no other team in the NFL has such a talented group of players in every offensive skill position. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray, stand any comparison against any other team in the league. I know that Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning and a few more QBs are better than Romo, but they don’t have as many weapons.

You might argue that the Falcons have a more explosive offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, but with all due respect to Gonzalez, he has gotten a bit old. The Falcons’ running game, with newly acquired Steven Jackson, is suspicious to say the least. Jackson is no doubt  a great football player but one that is already 30 years old, which is like a curse for a running back in today’s NFL.

Aug 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after a catch against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second quarter at AT

Bryant is headed for a monster season. Austin is finally healthy. Witten is a sure first ballot Hall-of-Famer (and six years younger than Gonzalez). If Murray can play the whole season with that chip on his shoulder he showed in the Bengals game, then this offense has the potential to be the best in the league.

I don’t want to go into the absurd Tony Romo debate again, but just to rest my case I will say that Romo’s career passer rating is better than that of Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Brett Favre. If QB’s careers should be measured only by playoff wins, then 4-times playoff winner Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Romo. See my point?

The thing with these Cowboys is that shaky offensive line (once again). Yes, they have added two young and talented first-rounders who will anchor that line for years to come, but right now, those 3 other positions are Jerry Jones’ worst nightmare. They have looked OK so far in the preseason, but there’s no way to know yet what kind of player Ronald Leary is; or which Doug Free will play this year, the solid player of 2011 or that sad caricature of himself that we saw in 2012? And Mackenzie Bernardeau is, well, Mackenzie Bernardeau; a serviceable player, but never a Pro-Bowler or anything even close to that.

If this unit is able to avoid major injuries throughout the year and Dez Bryant finally reaches his full potential as expected, then the Cowboys’ season will be resting on the shoulders of those three usual suspects of the offensive line. If they can play just above average, then this Tony Romo-led offense is bound to have its best season yet.

Next Saturday: Dallas Cowboys 2013 Season Preview Part II (Offense).

Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Dez Bryant Doug Free Jason Witten Mackenzie Bernardeau Miles Austin Ronald Leary Tony Romo