The date is January 28, 1996, the Dallas Cowboys have just defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by the score of 27–17, and won- what was at the time- a record tying fifth Super Bowl victory.
That was the last time that “America’s Team” has been at the top of the football world.
In the 21.5 years since that championship the Cowboys are 188-154, and have won only two playoff games. Those two came in the Wildcard rounds of 2010 and 2015.
Those are low standards for a team that is labeled the world’s most valuable sports franchise, according to Forbes magazine ($4.8 Billion). The team was built off of winning, and they expect nothing less out of their Cowboys.
Owner and General Manager of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones is a deluded old man that once fired coach Jimmie Johnson after winning back to back Super Bowls, because he hated to see someone besides him get the credit for winning. Jones is a control freak and loves the spotlight more than he loves winning.
No move was more evident if this than when he decided to stick with rookie Quarterback Dak Prescott, instead of longtime star Tony Romo in 2016 to please the media. This decision is still biting all of Cowboy nation in the butt, and stunting their growth on the field as an organization.
The 2018-19 Dallas Cowboys have begun their season with a slow start, and after 6 games they sit at a record of 3-3, which puts Dallas in second place behind Washington in the NFC East. I see something in this Dallas Cowboys’ team that not many people are talking about, this defense is elite. Championship level elite.
They get after the quarterback, tackle well, cover well, and most importantly they keep teams off the scoreboard. Dallas’ defense has 18 sacks through six games, and have hit the quarterback 40 times. This season they are only giving up 17.1 points per game, and have yet to give up more than 24 points in a game. They are giving up 3.5 yards per rush attempt, good for second best in the NFL, 224.5 passing yards per game which ranks eighth, and 315.2 total yards per game, the fourth least.
The average age of Dallas’ defense is 25.8 years old, which makes their early season success even more impressive.
With that said, Dallas’ offense this season can hardly keep the defense off the field.
Throughout six weeks this season, the Cowboy’s offense is averaging a weak 20.5 points per game. They are the main reason why Dallas hasn’t won many games. All three losses this season have come when they’ve score less than 17 points.
Three and outs have been an issue for Dallas, as their offense has only converted on third down at a dismal 31.2% of the time. Dak is completing 61.9% of his passes, has 1,144 passing yards, 7 TDs, and 4 INTs. That’s average. Maybe.
Ezekiel Elliott is the workhorse of this offense, and he should be touching the ball on 60-70% of their offensive plays. Elliott has 586 rushing yards, 166 receiving yards, and 4 total TDs this year. He’s second in rushing in the league, and easily one of the best overall running backs in the NFL. Feed that man!
In week six they were clicking on all cylinders with their running and passing games, and put up a 40 spot against a great Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense. Aside from that game, the team hasn’t come within two touchdowns of their past performance. The defense played strongly that week too, only allowing seven points.
Close losses make their record worse than their play. Easily, the ‘Boys could be 4-2 or 5-1. Dak is starting to figure out how he needs to play to win games.
Scott Linehan, the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, needs to get the ball out of Prescott’s hand quickly to feed Cole Beasley in the slot, and dump the ball off to Zeke Elliott. These guys can do it all once they get the ball in their hands in open-space. Dak doesn’t have a massive arm and his decision making is not great, the quicker the ball is out the less time the defense has to react. Which is especially important this season with the offensive line being depleted to injury and illness.
Everywhere I look on Dallas’s defense I see studs.The secondary contains Byron Jones, Anthony Brown, and Chidobe Awuzie, there are two great young middle linebackers in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, and outstanding edge rushers like DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, and Randy Gregory. Besides a lack of skill at the safety position this could be the most well rounded defense in the league, especially if (and it’s a big if) veteran linebacker Sean Lee can stay healthy down the stretch.
The QB needs to be more of a game manager, and have long drives down the field, rather than quick three and outs. Dallas could use a few more weapons on offense. Given the amount of skill on the defensive side if they game plan well they should be able to score plenty of points to win many ball games. The Cowboys do not have an easy schedule, but they’re better than most of the teams they have to play going forward.
It would be a disappointment to Cowboy Nation for them to not do well.
The Cowboys will finish with a record of 10-6 on the season, and will end up with the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs after they squeak out a divisional title from the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. They will win in spite of their hapless, gum smacking coach Jason Garrett and their egomaniac of an owner and general manager Jerry Jones. The skill on the field almost always finds a way to trump the ineptitude on the sidelines.
The Cowboys will beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Wildcard round, then upset the defenseless New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round, but their season will come to an end when they lose to the better coached and more talented Los Angeles Rams 27-23 in the NFC Championship game.
As they always are in Dallas, expectations should be high for this extremely talented team. If they are not able to go on this playoff run Jason Garrett should be canned, Jerry Jones should pass on full control to his son Stephen, and the Quarterback position should be evaluated for the future, because this team is undoubtedly one of the most talented in the league this season.
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