2014 Season Preview:
Worst Defense in the NFL. Worst Defense in Cowboys history. Thats saying something. Third straight 8-8 season. Cowboys fans want the owner, coach and QB fired.
So the Cowboys are treading water, right? Well, they did drop Demarcus Ware and Miles Austin this year, and we are in year 2 of the RomoContract, so what now? Lets find out. Monte Kiffen is gone . . upstairs as assistant head coach for the defense, and Ron Marinelli is in to run the defense, and give Jason Garrett more time to save his job to play with the offense.
Tyron Smith made his first of what should be many Pro-Bowls at just 23. He had simply a monster year and should be a building block for the next decade for the Cowboys.
Left Guard is the one the weak spot on the line with Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau fighting it out for the spot. Travis Frederick had a standout rookie year and should be another building block. Zack Martin walks into the right guard position from Notre Dame, and should be here for a long time. Doug Free is in a contract year, and is coming off a pretty good year at Right Tackle and he’s looking to get paid.
Back to back uh, Back surgeries, have really dinged Tony Romo, but the Cowboys, to be honest with you Cowboy fans, are stuck with him for the foreseeable future. Even if Jerry Jones wanted to move on or draft Johnny Football, the Salary Cap just will not allow it. Romo is in year two of a 108 Million Dollar contract, but as we all know, the 108 isn’t the important number, it the 55 Million that is guaranteed. Romo isn’t a bad QB, with a 31-10 QB to Int ratio with 3800 yards. Kyle Orton is finally gone as backup, but Brandon Weeden is the guy to step in if Romo goes down again. Still hating on Romo?
DeMarco Murray finally came through as a beast, going for 1121 yards and 9 TDs. Murray also caught 53 balls for 350 yards. The question here is did he arrive, or was he just a one year wonder. Backup Lance Dunbar has a ton of speed that the Cowboys love, but simply gets hurt too much to be counted on full time, or if Murray backslides.
Joseph Randle was drafted to replace Murray until his breakout year, but in recent Cowboy tradition, is taking his time to develop.
Romo-favorite Miles Austin is gone, but the Cowboys still retain 2 of the best playmakers in the NFL, with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Bryant had a massive year last year, with 93 catches and 13 TDs, and Witten adding 74 catches for another 8 TDs. The loss of Austin is going to be relatively easy to replace is second round pick Escobar is able to live up to his talent. Terrance Williams should take over his playing time, and improve on his 44 catches and 5 TDs.
Tyrone Crawford is under pressure to be the designated rusher in the Cowboys defense, but who knows how that is going to turn out. Jeremy Mincey could also be expected to get the lions share of the snaps as well. Nick Hayden is looking at trying to eat blockers, and finally Henry Melton has been brought over from the Bears, but he’s not exactly known for throwing up huge numbers. There is a ton of guys looking for playing time in the defensive line, but if nothing else, they have gotten younger.
Expect a lot of rotations here, especially early on in the season.
Kyle Wilber was one bright spot on the Cowboys defense, but needs to be more consistent. Sean Lee missed 5 games last year, and the defense shows it when he’s gone. Lee puts up good numbers when he’s 100%. Problem is keeping him that way.
Bruce Carter stunk out loud in his first year at WLB, and this may end up being Justin Durants job before the season is over.
Orlando Scandrick was forced to move up from Nickel corner when Morris Claiborne fell apart early on in the season. His partner, Brandon Carr was highly overpaid and got burned time after time. He has talent, but if he bombs again, there will be no excuses with Monte Kiffen gone.
Morris Claiborne was a number 6 overall pick and didn’t come close to the professional performance that other LSU secondary players have done so far in 2 years in the NFL. Clairborne is still going to get every chance to play, and he does posses the one thing you can’t coach.
Barry Church might be the most consistent player on the whole defense.
JJ Wilcox and Jeff Heath will be swapped in and out as the Cowboys try to find someone anyone they can trust on the last line of defense.
Finally a part if this team that I can be positive about. Dan Bailey is one of the better kickers in the NFL, going 6 for 7 last year. Chris Jones seems to have solved the punting problem for good as well. Dwayne Harris was one of the better return men in the NFL and the coverage units carried their weight as well.
I really do think the wheels come off this year. That secondary is Big Ten level, and thats not a good thing, and the rest of the defense could be swapped out for the Jaguars and not many people would notice- actually, the Jags might turn that deal down.
I’m looking at 3-3 on the division, just because the Giants and Skins can’t do anything either, then 1-3 vs the NFC West, 2-2 vs the AFC South, and bonus games vs the Bears and Saints are two losses since they are at Chicago. Thats a 6-10 record, but the problem is, what happens if the Cowboys lose to the Jags with the bye week coming up? Giants/Iggles/Bears/Iggles/Colts/Redskins could be a 6 game tailspin. I’m going 4-12- but if they win Wash/Ariz/Jags going into the bye- 8-8 could be in the cards for a 4th straight year. But I’m putting cash down on 5-11.
Tiny URL for this post: