Cowboys Can Be Better Next Year
We all know what happened, we all watched the Cowboys final game of the season. It was a lot of things – frustrating being the top adjective. But that’s how it is for all but one team at the end of the season. The truth is, the Cowboys did far more than anyone, including Jerry Jones, thought they would this season. As we all know around here, with success comes expectations and the Cowboys will be expected to match or exceed this season in 2015. To do that they will have to make some changes, additions and subtractions and I’m more than happy to give them a little help.
First they need to see what they’ve done on the offensive side of the ball and transfer that to the defensive side. Jones finally admitted in December that he may have made a mistake by letting DeMarcus Ware leave. Ware proved in Denver that he still has gas in the tank and quarterbacks in his cross-hairs. Ware’s sixteen million dollar salary was definitely steep but would Jerry now pay that for 10 sacks and constant pressure on quarterbacks? You bet he would. The defensive line needs over-hauling. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli did a masterful job with the patchwork defensive linemen that he had to work with, but even Picasso needed paint and brushes. Would more pressure have beaten Aaron Rodgers in the division playoffs? Impossible to know for sure because Rodgers is so good, but on a weekly basis the Cowboys need a pass rush next year like they didn’t have this year.
Either through the draft or in free agency the Cowboys need to upgrade their D line like they did the O line the past few drafts. DeMarcus Lawrence had an injury filled rookie season but showed enough to hopefully be a factor next season. Sean Lee (if he stays out of the hospital) and Rolando McClain (if he stays out of a retirement home) are a great 1-2 punch at linebacker, and I think Anthony Hitchens can play so linebackers aren’t an urgent need. Defensive backs…that’s another story.
I think almost all of the Cowboys defensive backfield are good – good backups that is. Sterling Moore is excellent at running behind receivers, but getting in front of them and deflecting passes is another story. Brandon Carr needs to take a serious pay-cut and could be effective as a nickle back, but he’s never played like a $10 million a year type player. Morris Claiborne…a bust of the highest magnitude. If you look at the schools where the Cowboys DB’s played, you’ll notice a trend that needs to stop; Grand Valley State, Toledo, Saginaw Valley State, Georgia Southern, Marshall, San Jose State – are these really the schools that traditionally produce the top players in the NFL? I know Claiborne is a bust out of LSU but at least he had some type of pedigree.
The offensive side of the ball is in very good shape, but you can never have too many good receivers or linemen so the Cowboys can always add something there. Then there is the looming question of who is the future quarterback of this team? Romo is coming off his best year ever but he will be 35 next season, a young QB-in-waiting would be a nice luxury that they can afford at this point. I sincerely doubt Jones will let either of his prized free agents Dez Bryant or DeMarco Murray walk since he loves over-paying his offensive stars, so the team should be set on that side of the ball.
Maybe pointing to Seattle’s defense is a little too optimistic to hope for, but an improvement over this year’s squad and Dallas should be right back where they finished off this season – in the playoffs.