The Dallas Cowboys have been putting together playoff and uncorrected playoffs since 2014. The superstitious Texan franchise fan can stick to it to be optimistic that the team will get its wake in the deciding phase of the 2018 season, right?
Well, not quite. I am opening this preview in this way just to grab your attention, reader of the Fifth Room. But I must confess I’m pretty much lost on the Cowboys this year.
Category: 6-10 or 10-6
Performance in 2017: 9-7
We said: 10-6
Unscientific forecast for 2018: 8-8
Pro Bowl players in 2017: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Jason Witten and Demarcus Lawrence.
If there’s still any certainty surrounding the Cowboys, it does account for good plays that go on there, such as quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Sean Lee, as well as top linebacker members. But it does not go much further.
Jerry Jones’ team has undergone several reformulations in this off season and some sections of the team now worry.
Starting with the attack, the body of recipients is totally different. Wide receiver Dez Bryant was dismissed for financial / technical reasons while tight end Jason Witten, one of the organization’s greatest idols, announced his retirement.
And there goes the targets that Prescott can launch. The young signal caller regressed last year compared to his freshman year in 2016, and the dismantling of his receivers group should not help in the cause.
After hitting 67.8 percents of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions in his first year in the league, the QB completed only 62.9 percents of the 3,324-yard throws, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year. The passer rating plummeted from 104.9 in 2016 to 86.6 in 2017.
About the body of recipients, I will speak on one of the topics below.
Elliott’s support will be key to Prescott this year and RB this time will not have to worry about suspension. He only needs to play football and be 70% of the Texan attack. It’s cakewalk.
Joking aside, the Dallas Cowboys’ 21-game only ten games last year due to a suspension and yet nearly hit the thousand-yard mark, closing the season with 983 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, plus 26 receptions for 269 yards and two TDs.
The support group in the offensive backfield also promises to be interesting, with Rod Smith and the versatile Tavon Austin also being able to make a decisive contribution to the attack.
The offensive line, which always needs to be remembered, is still very solid, but about it I will also speak below.
Finally, let’s take a look at the defense. After all, he was a defensive player the Cowboys selected in the first round of the 2018 draft.
Freshman linebacker Leighton Vander Esch arrives to contribute immediately and can make a lot of difference in the second line, but the youngster is surrounded by some doubts about the injuries.
If he can stay healthy, he is already compared by many with Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Bears idol who entered the Hall of Fame this year. Watch Dallas Cowboys live stream free NFL football game from here.
Sean Lee is there again and follows as the leader of the defense, but he also needs to stay away from the injuries.
In the secondary, the Cowboys have two talented cornerbacks in Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, as well as Jourdan Lewis. In the safety position, names like Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier do not fill their eyes, but they may surprise.
You think I forgot the defensive line? No way. It will also be a subject addressed soon.
What makes me smile at the Dallas Cowboys
Three things, basically: Dak duo Prescott-Ezekiel Elliott, the offensive line (less than before, but still) and the return of some pieces in defense.
As I have already said about Prescott and Elliott, let’s now focus on the offensive line.
The industry remains one of the main strengths of the Texas team. However, the monstrous center Travis Frederick has recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome and will be away indefinitely. It will be a huge embezzlement.
However, the group of men who will protect Prescott and will make room for Elliott to cause damage with his legs still features left tackle Tyron Smith, right guard Zack Martin (who escaped from a more serious injury) and right tackle La’el Collins. So, OL is still very well, thank you.
One question concerns freshman guard Connor Williams, selected in the second round of the 2018 draft. He has been criticized by many, who point out that the young man is lacking strength to act as a guard. Expect the novice having difficulties this year.
In the defensive line, defensive tackle David Irving will lose the first four weeks due to a suspension, but the interior of the DL counts on Maliek Collins, who breaks the branch.
The return of the reintegrado Randy Gregory added to the presence of the productive DeMarcus Lawrence already can create a very interesting pass rush, it is worth to emphasize.
What makes me cry at the Dallas Cowboys
The body of wide receivers. Without a doubt.
Ten Bryant left and who did the Cowboys bring during the free agency? Allen Hurns. Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver is the typical 2 or 3 receiver who will have to be number one in Dallas. Danger!
So the Cowboys will have to bet on freshman Michael Gallup in the third round of the draft in Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, a typical slot receiver.
Prescott’s life will not be easy. He will certainly give some Rolex with a way to show gratitude to Elliott.
Production, what was that?
As it goes, year and year out, Jason Garrett follows as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He is not much in strategic terms and is the typical coach who tries to gain in motivation.
I do not know if Jerry Jones does not see it, pretends he does not see it or if Garrett knows some ‘rotten’ involving the owner of the Cowboys, something like he uses Crocs in the house.
Jones continues to insist the coach is not threatened. Let’s see if another medium-sized campaign, not ranked in the playoffs, does not change that thinking.
Why did I predict 8 wins for the Dallas Cowboys?
The lack of a decent wide receivers body and a rather complicated table for the Cowboys makes me look optimistic putting eight wins to the team in 2018. But I’ll leave it that way for … feeling.
The team begins the 2018 seasons with tough opponents like Carolina Panthers (out), New York Giants (home), Seattle Seahawks (away). Further down, the Cowboys still catch Houston Texans (out), Jacksonville Jaguars (home), Atlanta Falcons (out), New Orleans Saints (home). Anyway, let’s stop not to discourage the Dallas Cowboys fans.