Last year’s Cowboys season ended better than it started. Yet it still ended in heartbreak, going into week 16 the Cowboys still had a fighting chance to make the playoffs then were embarrassed at home by the Seahawks and beat the Eagles 6-0 on closing day in Philadelphia. The definition of demoralizing. However the Cowboys look to 2018 with optimism, but with a certain amount of pressure as well. If the Cowboys miss the playoffs this year it feels different, Jerry Jones may actually clean house. Jason Garrett has a ton on his plate this year. Including helping his QB rebound from a sophomore slump.
Dak Prescott’s 2017 was disappointing. No other way to put it. The QB struggled without running back Ezekiel Elliot and a receiving core of aging vets kept dropping balls on him, looking at you Dez. Prescott has one job this year, bounce back to the terrific player he was in year one. It isn’t like his mechanics were awful or he was making awful mistakes last year, I really do believe it was all mental. The Cowboys were never in a consistent place last year. Constant change is not of great help to a young QB.
Part of that inconsistency and constant change was dealing with the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. Now Zeke is back though, and I believe better than ever. He has basically had a year to rest his legs and get back in shape. I would expect him to bounce back big this year and my belief is that he will lead the leauge in rushing this year. Blocking for him is one of the best lines in the NFL and they haven’t lost any pieces on it, so why not?
The Cowboys greatest weakness is wide receiver. Here’s the problem with cutting Dez Bryant, yes he was declining rapidly and it was a great decision but he still occasionally drew double teams, you don’t have that guy now. The Cowboys best wide out is Allen Hurns formerly of Jacksonville. Hurns is a speedy receiver who will be able to produce in Dallas but there is little else, proven, around him. The ship has sailed on Cole Beasley and Terrence Williams has drop issues and remains a week to week proposition. Michael Gallup is a diamond in the ruff but he needs to be polished before he makes an immediate impact on the team. Oh and did I mention the most reliable pass catcher on the team retired. Was Jason Witten special blocking or getting down the field last year? No he was one of the worst blocking tight ends in the leauge and rarely went deep but he made catches, and got 5-6 yards reliably, the Cowboys no longer have that fail safe.
The Cowboys haven’t had a great defense since the days of Wade Phillips and Demarcus Ware but they have a decent linebacking core. If Sean Lee can stay healthy he is one of the best linebackers in the leauge and makes the Dallas defense tick. Pair that with highly touted first round pick Leighton Vander Esch and you have yourself a pretty decent linebacking core. The Secondary remains a massive issue though, after losing there best corner back in Orlando Scandrick the Cowboys are left with a bunch of unproven players in there secondary. The most experienced being Byron Jones who makes the move to Corner for the first time this year.
If Dak bounces back the Cowboys have tremendous offensive potential, but again the downfall of this team will be the fact they have legitimately no proven secondary. The expectations in Dallas are high, to high, Jason Garrett is most likely out the door if this team misses the playoffs. It’s do or die.
Record Prediction: 8-8