Can the Dallas Cowboys win the war of attrition?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys, like all NFL teams, must overcome and win the war of attrition if they hope to have a successful season.

This week I’ve had plenty of discussions with Dallas Cowboys’ fans about the issues with the depth on the team. Some popular thoughts are: “Depth is a huge problem.” “If you lose ‘X’ player it pretty much ends your season anyway.” “They are backups for a reason.” etc…

I like to think somewhere in the middle is the answer to the war of attrition.

If you look at the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and the Vikings of 2017 (or Green Bay in 2016), all suffered serious injuries to key starters and still overcame them to make the playoffs.  All of these teams overcame the losses, and all of them had enough depth to cover the missing players.

If you have sat and watched all three of the Dallas Cowboys’ preseasons games thus far, you would have seen the depth at certain positions is frankly just not very good. The offensive line has a little depth with Joe Looney, Kadeem Edwards, and possibly Jake Campos, but all in all the unit beyond Looney has been shaky at best. Chaz Green looks like a disaster, Cameron Fleming whiffed on a fourth team defensive end, twice, and the rest are fairly forgettable.

Safety has been stellar, until the injuries forced Marqueston Huff into the game, and we all watched him take horrible angles that allowed for some huge plays. Tyree Robinson has a long way to go, and who knows what Jeron Johnson and Dominick Sanders will look like, as they will probably only play in the fourth and last preseason game. Sure, Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier could both be available week one, but behind them there is not much.

Quarterback depth is a problem right now as well. Dak Prescott is healthy and there is a lot of hope he can stay that way. Should he go down, Cooper Rush and Mike White have done very little to exude confidence. Sure, if your starting quarterback goes down it usually ends the season. Unless of course you are the Eagles, Patriots, Vikings, and even the Packers (yes Hundley was bad, but they still had a chance at the playoffs late in the season).

Now, this defense should be elite this season, providing they stay relatively healthy. The linebacker corps is scary good, the corners have progressed even more than many were hoping, and the defensive line looks like it will cause problems all season long. Even though the depth at defensive tackle isn’t ideal, it should hold up even if there is an injury (or suspension) along the line.

The offense should be fine as long as there are not anymore injuries on the line. We don’t know what will happen with Frederick, but Looney has proven a suitable backup. However, if there is one or two more injuries, this could be a very long season.

Running back looks good all around, and the starting four wide receivers should be enough, not great, but certainly enough for this offense to be successful. Tight end is an issue right now, none of them are separating themselves in blocking and the pass catching has been spotty. Blake Jarwin is your starter, Geoff Swaim the the second tight end, but after them there is very little in consistent quality. Yes, Rico is not as good as some want to think, but that is another conversation.

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The reality is as long as the Cowboys don’t lose certain key players, they should be able to win the war of attrition. This coaching staff doesn’t have the best record at developing depth, but their starters are so good one or two replacements should be able to hold up. Winning the war of attrition for the Cowboys will come down to who gets injured and at what positions.

Odds are there will be some roster churning after the final cuts on September 1. A veteran quarterback, an offensive lineman, a tight end, and a safety are all possible pickups. Unless the Cowboys and Seahawks can reach an agreement for Earl Thomas, safety could easily be one of the first signed. I doubt that the Cowboys will try to trade for a veteran quarterback, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

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What the Cowboys have done this preseason is save their starters as much as they can. They know the depth at certain positions is such a steep drop-off it isn’t worth losing one of them. If the Cowboys can stay healthy and make some smart moves, they should be fine. The war of attrition is one all teams must fight, but the Dallas Cowboys can win the war, for now.

  • Published on 08/28/2018 at 16:05 PM
  • Last updated at 08/28/2018 at 12:05 PM