Americas team has finished the last 3 seasons with an 8-8 record and just missed out on the playoffs by losing in week 17 all 3 years. Which is actually interesting if you were trying to do it. I guess that would be the ultimate definition of average. Going into the 2014 Jason Garrett remains the head coach and he doesn’t seem to be on the hot seat. Scott Linehan was brought in as passing game coordinator (whatever that means) to handle the playcalling. Rod Marinelli was promoted to defensive coordinator to try to fix one of the worst defenses in recent memory minus 3 of their top defenders from 2013 in Demarcus Ware (Broncos), Jason Hatcher (Redskins), and Sean Lee (injury- out for season).
All is not lost in “Big D” though, First round draft pick OL Zack Martin strengthens an already solid Offensive Line featuring 3 first round picks in Martin, pro bowl OT Tyron Smith, and last years top pick C Travis Frederick. Their number 1 responsibility will be to protect QB Tony Romo, who will be coming off of back surgery. Romo had one of his best seasons last year throwing for 3828 yds, 31 Tds and 10 Ints. Unfortunately those interceptions seem to come at the worst possible times, but he is far from the issue with this team. Romo is one of the top ten QBs in the league and he has a top 5 WR and a top 10 TE to work with in the Unbelievably talented Dez Bryant and the always reliable Jason Witten. What’s going to take this offense to the next level is the continued emergence of RB Demarco Murray. He rushed for 1121 yds last season. With his talent and more of an emphasis on the run game Murray could easily break 1500 yds. The Cowboys are capable of being an elite offense and putting up a ton of points, which will all be needed to help out a defense that has a lot of questions.
When the team that gave up the most yards per game in the NFL by a large amount loses 3 of its top players what do you get? I know it sounds like a trick question but again ALL is not lost, Can’t lie it is bad though. On the bright side there is some talent on this defense, just need those players to play up to their ability. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick had a good season last year and is one of the better slot cover men in the league. Unfortunately he is suspended for the first 4 games of the season. Cornerback Brandon Carr has been a good player in this league but just had a bad season, Cornerback Morris Claiborne is a talented former top 10 pick who the team needs to play up to expectations. OLB Bruce Carter has struggled the last 2 seasons, especially in coverage after having success stepping in for Sean Lee a few years ago. A player to watch at LB is recently acquired Rolando McClain, who is a player with all of the talent in the world but has already retired twice and is only 25 years old. The Cowboys hope he can step in at MLB for the injured Sean Lee. With all of those issues the biggest questions are along the Defensive Line. The Cowboys big addition of the offseason was DT Henry Melton, the former Chicago Bear pro bowler who has played under Rod Marinelli but is coming off of ACL surgery. Another big hope for the team is that former pro bowler Anthony Spencer can return after sitting out all but 1 game last season while recovering from multiple knee surgeries, to provide a pass rush off the edge. The free safety position also remains a major question mark.
With the Redskins and Giants having questions of their own and the Eagles likely regressing a little bit, their is a possibility that the Cowboys could compete for the Division crown if they are healthy on defense. Romo won’t allow them to to fall to far. That’s all a lot to ask but my final prediction is …….. Dallas Cowboys 6-10
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