Dallas Cowboys end-of-season observations, concerns and questions

. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second year in a row, the San Francisco 49ers have ended the Dallas Cowboys season. What can we take from this season?

This past off-season, the Dallas Cowboys built a team that matched San Francisco’s physicality. They made progress, but not enough to overcome them. The 49ers are the superior football team.

This has to burn in the Dallas Cowboys guts.

During the off-season, Dallas will think about how they can beat San Francisco.

The Dallas Cowboys have to figure out who Dak Prescott is.

First thing, the Cowboys are not trading Dak Prescott. It will not happen. His contract makes it nearly impossible to do. Let’s get that nonsense out of the way.

Some fans must face the stark reality.

Dak Prescott is a very good quarterback, but he is not an exceptional one. He can win you big games, but he can unravel and lose you a few.

He possesses a lot of outstanding traits, but he has not shown he can elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary with his arm talent. That is reserved for the elite.

You can still win a Super Bowl without an elite QB. It has been done many times.

If he played better, the Cowboys would have won. But he didn’t play better. He committed too many mistakes.

You can’t help but look at the play of the quarterback in the playoffs. The quarterback is the most important player on the team. The QB can affect the game like no other player can.

Good or bad. Not just making plays, but committing mistakes in critical moments. Every mistake in the playoffs is amplified.

Troy Aikman is the gold standard when I judge the signal callers. Aikman played his best in the playoffs and Super Bowl. He outplayed Brett Favre, Steve Young, ad many others in those most big important moments.

Let’s talk Super Bowls. In the three biggest games of his life, Aikman led the Cowboys to victory all three times, with the average win coming by 21 points.

That is why demand from your QB. Play your best in the biggest games.

If Dallas wants to take the next step, there must be a shift in their thinking. Several topics of discussion must be addressed.

Why, after seven seasons, is Dak a less efficient quarterback?

Is it time for a fresh voice?

Getting Prescott to fully understand the risk vs reward compass. I asked myself how much freedom is Dak given within the system. How much is asked of him?

It may be better to reel him in a bit and reset the entire operation. Get him back to the quarterback he was. Surrounding him with better players should be at the top of the off-season ideas. Not just any kind of playmakers but explosive game changers.

The Eagles traded for A.J. Brown in the off-season and the 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey. Dallas signed a dude off his couch.

I highly recommend you check out this video by JT O’Sullivan. This is pure gold, so take notes.

Dak Prescott still has time to write his career narrative. The Dallas Cowboys may also need to temper their expectations of what he can and cannot do.

How should the offensive line be changed?

Continue to add young bullies to the unit. With Terence Steele suffering a season ending injury, you hope the Dallas Cowboys do not panic and keep Tyron Smith. If they do, it would be unwise to bring him back at his current price tag.

Tyler Smith is a future All-Pro player. The 49ers moved Nick Bosa to the right side because he was so good.

A hot topic of debate is whether Dallas should move on from Joe Philbin. People smarter than me believe so.

Time to make a change in philosophy as an organization.

You make a team strength a superpower. In the first three rounds another pass rusher has to be added.

Micah Parsons is a unicorn and the best player on the Dallas Cowboys team. It would be better to build the team around him.

Help him by adding a true defensive end who can hold up physically outside.

The pass rush was the key to the defense all season long.

Leighton Vander Esch was fantastic with a team-high 11 tackles. He was a big reason Christian McCaffrey only gained 35 yards on 10 carries with a long of 8.

The question is, how much do you give a player with a congenital neck issue?

Hard question with no simple answer.

Johnathan Hankins did some big boy things on Sunday. Drafting a young space eater to pair with him should be on the off-season list.

I would love to double dip. Look to sign the best young NT/DT in free agency and draft another one. Neville Gallimore is stealing money. This team needs to find a young disruptive alpha inside.

I love the safety group, but adding a true single high safety with range would help them a lot. Dallas needs a true free safety with range.

Rarely did we see make plays on the ball by the free safeties. Too often we saw them stuck on an island. A ball hawking safety with range would a pleasant addition.

light. Must Read. Cowboys 7-round Mock Draft: 2023 V1.0

Next. 5 Cowboys who have to go this off-season. dark

Mike McCarthy has the team heading in the right direction. He has done a great job changing the culture. Year four will be vital. The Dallas Cowboys have something to build off. They badly need better offensive weapons, smarter players, and more game wreckers on defense.

Next season will be worth watching.