As the Dallas Cowboys make their approach to the 2016 season, fans are facing many questions about the future. Unfortunately, the Cowboys didn’t have much to look forward to last season after finishing with a record of 4-12 and placed last in the NFC East.
Going forward, the biggest concern for the team and fans is Tony Romo’s health and whether or not he will perform at the highest level. After a nine-week absence, Romo broke his collarbone again on Thanksgiving. From then on out, the team’s performance declined until they lost any hope of making it into the playoffs.
The next question is what can the Cowboys do to recover from a treacherous year? The only thing they can do now is redeem themselves and prove all the critics wrong.
Let’s not forget about one of Romo’s favorite targets, Dez Bryant, who suffered a broken foot injury after their week 1 win over the New York Giants. Two talented and young receivers who filled in for Bryant were Devin Street and Lucky Whitehead. There were high expectations for Street and Whitehead to perform just as well as Bryant did the previous year. However, with Bryant’s absence, the aerial attack wasn’t up to par as many expected. Yet again, the Cowboys found themselves with two crucial players who remained injured majority of the season. The Cowboys’ offense was ranked 22 out of the 32 teams in the league, clearly it was a disappointing statistic compared to the year before.
Unlike most of the 2015 season, the Cowboys have more to look forward to after drafting Ezekiel Elliott, former running back from Ohio State University. Elliott was considered one of the top prospect draft picks prior to the 2016 NFL draft. The talent that Elliott brings to the table is astonishing and quite frankly scary considering the fact that the Cowboys have one of the most proficient offensive lineman in the league. They have quite the resume to prove it after the 2014 season where the Cowboys offensive lineman led Demarco Murray to a rushing title. In 2014, Murray averaged about 4.7 yards per carry, leaving him as the leading rusher for that season. Even with Elliott being the youngest running back the Cowboys have on their roster, he has a lot to prove and earn the starting position for the team. Elliott’s competition consists of none other than veteran running backs, Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, Darius Jackson, and Rod Smith.
Not only did the Cowboys choose to draft a young and talented running back, but in order to prevent another disastrous season they drafted a quarterback from Mississippi State, Dak Prescott. This draft pick was not only a wise move for the Cowboys to make, but Prescott is a safety blanket for the team. Prescott has a history of his own success being a lethal quarterback with his running skills which can cause havoc to opposing defenses.
As for the defensive side for the Cowboys, they faced injuries themselves starting with Orlando Scandrick who missed the entire 2015 season after tearing his ACL during training camp. This left the rookie cornerback, Byron Jones, with not much veteran leadership. Not to mention, their linebacker position was inconsistent as far as certain players filling in for others who were injured. For example, Sean Lee, who is the beating heart of the Cowboys defense, suffered multiple concussions and was pulled from most games they needed him the most. The Cowboys’ defense was ranked 17 out of the 32 which was not the worst, but not the most helpful statistic.
The 2016 season gives the Cowboys a chance to start from a clean slate, but it’s more than just a new season; it’s their redemption year. This is their time to prove they’re capable of winning games and able to handle adversity that may come their way. Especially since the Cowboys are considered “America’s Team,” they have many expectations to live up to and accomplish. In Texas, football is considered a religion due to majority of the population who grow up to either play or watch the sport. The Cowboys need to prove their worthiness not only to the critics, but to their fans and help them realize they’re here to play and to win.
The Cowboys have everything they need to succeed in this upcoming season. It’s only a matter of trust and confidence the team must have in order to move forward. Romo isn’t getting any younger, which means the time is ticking for the Cowboys to bring a championship to Dallas. The Cowboys have majority of their roster from 2015 and the necessary coaching staff they need in order to succeed in this upcoming season. If anything, the Cowboys are left with a chip on their shoulder and ready to make a statement!