In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys went 12-4, won the NFC East and won a playoff game. This season could be better than that one.
To say last season was a major disappointment for the Dallas Cowboys is an understatement. The Cowboys were projected to win the NFC East in 2015 and contend for a Super Bowl birth. When wide receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Tony Romo fell to injuries, the season was a complete loss and the rest is history.
Like the beginning of the 2014 season, when the Cowboys weren’t expected to do anything, Dallas could duplicate its success of 2016.
The similarities are there. The Cowboys defense of 2014 was supposed to be awful, since it was ranked dead last the previous season. Everyone expected the defense to pick up where it left off.
The Cowboys defense of 2014 surpassed expectations and created 35 turnovers, making timely sacks and recovering fumbles in the process.
The offense that season was spectacular as Romo led the league in QBR (quarterback rating), Bryant led all receivers in touchdown receptions, and DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing while setting the franchise single-season rushing record.
It’s the same for this year’s Cowboys team, where much isn’t expected from the defense, which is deemed to be the weakest link because of no pass rush and a mediocre secondary.
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Like the 2014 version of the Cowboys, this team too, will fly under the radar to some degree but create havoc.
However, the 2016 team is more talented with Romo, Bryant, and Orlando Scandrick healthy, along with the drafting of versatile and ultra-talented running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The former Ohio State Buckeye is primed to be the starter and form the triplets 2.0. With Elliott carrying the rock behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, the Cowboys offense will be explosive and protect the defense with long drives.
A fresh defense will have the ability to pressure the quarterback and create turnovers, a stat that must improve from last season. Further, if the Cowboys defense can play with a lead, it will allow the defense to take chances and give the offense more opportunities to score points.
It’s the same blueprint the Cowboys of 2014 used, for example.
Drafting Elliott and signing free agent runner, Alfred Morris, solidified the Cowboys as an effective running team at best. It gets better because it allows Dez to face man coverage, something the dynamic wide out relishes.
The most important thing about this Cowboys team is that it will dominate the time of possession, much like it did in 2014, leading the league TOP.
Seen as the weakest link, the defense will be the major surprise. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has plenty of defensive lineman to rotate and throw at opposing offenses.
This group doesn’t include Lawrence and Gregory, who will be in the mix after serving their four-game suspension. Plus, these two pass rushers have much to prove after failing drug tests, especially Gregory, who has a history of failing drug tests.
The Cowboys took a chance and drafted Jaylon Smith out of Notre Dame with its second round pick. Smith is recovering from a devastating ACL injury that included nerve damage. The Cowboys doctors believe Smith will make a full recovery.
Considered the best linebacker in the draft before the injury, the Cowboys’ brass are holding out hope Smith can play this season. If so, watch out NFL.
After saying all of this, the experts and the haters believe the Cowboys won’t win the division, let alone make the playoffs.
The same critics and haters, but a different year, just like in 2014.
Except in 2016, the Cowboys will prove the critics wrong and hoist the Lombardi trophy.