Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Cowboys surprised the entire NFL last year with its 12-4 record and playoff victory over the Detroit Lions. Two of the Cowboys’ best players, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, set franchise records in receiving touchdowns and rushing yards. The defense went from worse to a decent one. Role players like Cole Beasely, Anthony Hitchens, and Terrance Williams stepped up their game big time.
And the surprise play of Rolando McClain made the defense that much better. So good McClain re-signed for another year and with Sean Lee and the promising play of Hitchens, the Cowboys will have one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL.
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What made last year even more special is that the Cowboys were road warriors. Going 8-0 on the road in the regular season and 4-0 in the month of December. That dreaded month that has haunted the Cowboys forever. Plus, the Boys went on a six game winning streak.
What made last season so special is that it brought back feelings of the glory years of the 1990’s when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years and were clearly the best team of the decade. Last season the Cowboys saw their version of the triplets. Last year gave every Cowboys fan hope that they could win the Super Bowl. And win it convincingly.
Cowboys Nation hadn’t felt that way since 1995. The last year the Cowboys won the Super Bowl.
But for the Cowboys to duplicate the success of last season, or to be considered SB favorites, they will have to fill in some holes. Some major holes at that. Right now some of those holes are shot gun wounds being held together by band aids. Waiting to be surigically repaired. Others are minor or fixable, depending on how you look at it.
Basically, the Cowboys have too many “what ifs” about next season to be successful. From the RB position to the DE position to the health of Sean Lee, the Cowboys are in a wait to see mode.
Although the Cowboys signed Greg Hardy to a cap friendly contract, the Cowboys don’t know if Hardy will be suspended two games, six games, eight games or the whole season. They have no clue. Roger Goodell is going to set an example on Hardy because he clearly dropped the ball on the Ray Rice situation. I will be shocked if Hardy is suspended less than eight games.
Goodell isn’t helping the Cowboys either by taking his time on the decision.
If Hardy is suspended for eight games, that leaves Lawrence as the Cowboys main pass rusher. Lawrence showed some progress late last year, especially in the playoff game against the Lions. His upside looks good. But what if Lawrence slightly improves? Or remains the same? A work in progress.
That means the Cowboys don’t have a pass rusher. That’s what it means. And that will spell trouble. We all witnessed how Aaron Rodgers beat the Cowboys on one leg. That’s not good at all in this pass happy league.
The Cowboys have to get a pass rusher with that 27th pick or definitely find a good one in the draft. Just to be on the safe side. Some mock drafts have the Cowboys picking a DB with their first pick. Like Washington Huskies DB Marcus Peters. He would definitely be an upgrade to a mediocre secondary.
Whether Hardy plays the majority of the season or not, the Cowboys need another pass rusher that can make an impact.
What if……. Joseph Randle is found guilty of Domestic Violence? There goes another player who will miss some games. That leaves the Cowboys thin at the position, relying on veteran Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, practice squad player Ryan Williams and whatever RB the Cowboys draft. Regardless of Randle’s piss poor judegement-and its very poor-he’s better than the aforementioned running backs and will be missed.
Yes, I’m very aware of the Cowboys massive offensive line. The best in the game.
I know every Cowboys fan is saying “so what! Anybody can run behind our offensive line and score touchdowns! Any running back can do what Murray did. It’s easy!”
Yeah its very easy.
And that’s probably why I have so many “What if questions?”