The Dallas Cowboys have made a ton of moves this offseason. But how many of those moves made them a better football team? Let’s take a look.
The Dallas Cowboys have made a ton of moves this offseason and a lot of surprising decisions have been made. Now with a team devoid of any Romo-era playmakers (on offense), the Cowboys are the youngest they have been in years.
The release of Dez Bryant and retirement of Jason Witten just gave the Cowboys a huge gut-check, but is the team ready for the change? Let’s explore if the Dallas Cowboys have improved heading into the 2018 regular season.
The Dallas Cowboys lost one of their most productive wide receivers in history in Dez Bryant, but that happened years ago. Yes, that’s right, the 88 reception, 1200 yard guy is gone, replaced by a player many Cowboy fans did not recognize. Dez has always been unfairly labeled as a distraction, on the sidelines, in the locker room, off the field, everywhere.
The only thing truly distracting about Bryant over the last three seasons was his lack of production. The Cowboys simply could not play the way that they wanted with Bryant being such a liability. How many times did we see the football bounce right out of Bryant’s hands into the arms of a waiting receiver, the answer is simply too many.
Now whether that was about him losing a step, or being distracted, it does not matter the reason because it is inexcusable. As much as it hurt (hurts) to see number 88 no longer on the field with a star on his helmet, that pain was slightly relieved by seeing how much cap space the Cowboys will have heading into the future.
Losing Witten was much, much, harder because there was the prevailing feeling that the tight end job was Witten’s forever, it just seems weird that forever came so soon. In losing Witten the Dallas Cowboys lose a dynamic tight end who can pass block, run block, and make all of the necessary plays in the passing game.
He is truly your do it all player and the heartbeat of the Cowboys. Now that he is gone replacing everything Witten did well is impossible. So where does all of this leave America’s team? Well for starters they are faster. The addition of Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, and a refocused effort into patching up the Dallas Cowboys offensive line has shown that the team has a plan, and it is to do something we have never seen before.
We were all aware of the phrase “Dak Friendly” this is taking that concept to a whole new level. Austin and Thompson add some speed and playmaking ability not only to special teams but should give the Cowboys usual gadget plays a whole new feel.
To me, the addition of Allen Hurns was like adding another true number one wide receiver not just a compliment to Bryant. Hurns has shown he can handle a number one wide receivers workload, and that should be encouraging to most fans. In Jacksonville, he was only outshined by Allen Robinson (prior to his serious knee injury).
Marqise Lee had a big season in 2017 however that was his first breakout year and it was well overdue. Now Hurns has an opportunity to lead the Cowboys aerial attack and it is one he will likely take advantage of.
If you were wondering what the Dallas Cowboys valued in terms of what positions they need to bolster, the draft was pretty telling of where they think they are. Linebacker was the primary need and they addressed it with their first-round selection (Leighton Vander Esch), that along with wide receiver and offensive linemen made up the top three selections.
The Cowboys have homegrown players who are beginning to produce especially along the defensive line. The offensive line is looking stronger than ever with the addition of Connor Williams along with some free agent acquisitions. Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson were drafted to become the future of the Cowboys wide receiving corps, and both players have people excited.
These are guys who like to catch with their hands (not their body) and work extremely hard. This team is basically head coach Jason Garrett’s “right kind of guy” rhetoric in a nutshell. Their success or failure will go on to define him as a coach for years to come. In theory/on paper the Dallas Cowboys are a better team overall now than they were back in January.
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10 young hungry players plus a slew of free agents make for an exciting time in Big D. They have tailored their offense to Prescott’s strengths and will have much better blocking for not only their franchise quarterback but also Ezekiel Elliott. It is no secret that they will utilize Elliott more than ever this season, but now they have the tools to do it effectively.
Getting back to focusing on running the football and having Prescott throw the football to compliment Elliott is how Dallas wins football games. Dak was never going to lead this team with his arm, as Elliott is truly the heart and soul of this offense. Defensively they have absolutely gotten better, there is no question about it.
Losing Anthony Hitchens was a big deal until the Cowboys took a linebacker with their first-round pick, now that need is addressed and they should be better off for it. At the end of the day, the Dallas Cowboys did a fantastic job of building a roster that the organization and the fans can be proud of.
They should be better on both sides of the ball and will show that on the field in 2018.