Dallas’s Not Dead; 5 Reasons To Still Believe in the Cowboys
This Halloween, things are looking pretty scary for the Dallas Cowboys. They got no quarterback, no discipline, their PETS' HEADS ARE FALLIN' OFF!
A season of destiny for the Cowboys has gone off the rails, as the loss of star QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant, amongst many others, have left America's Team in a 2-4 hole, dead last in the NFC East. However, the war is not all lost for the Cowboys. Here are five reasons Dallas fans shouldn't exactly panic just yet....
1) The Run Game Could Finally Be Waking Up
Even before the injury plague cursed Dallas this season, one of the biggest questions was who was going to replace departed RB DeMarco Murray's spot in the lineup. The Cowboys have struggled on the run game this season sans Murray, but last week's heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants could signal a turnaround. The Cowboys piled up 223 yards on the ground last week, including 152 from Darren McFadden. While Joseph Randle may be on the way out following his demotion, the Cowboys may have some diamonds in the rough to spell McFadden. Undrafted rookie Lucky Whitehead came through strong for the Cowboys, picking up 35 yards on 4 carries, while midseason acquisition Christine Michael could become a reliable 3rd down option. Sure it's not Murray, and they face a tougher challenge this week in the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, but if the running game can pace the offense, it will take pressure off of Dallas's beleaguered backup quarterbacks.
2) The Defense Really Isn't That Bad
Two years ago, the Cowboys' ineptitude on defense had reached preposterous levels, and it likely cost them a spot in the playoffs (want to scare a Cowboys fan this Halloweekend? Show them highlights of the blown 23 point lead to Green Bay from that year....a Packers team missing Aaron Rodgers no less). However, the Cowboys defense, while not exactly the 85 Bears, has shown significant improvement under coordinator Ron Marinelli. Yes, they are still prone to horrific performances (those gut-wrenching losses to Atlanta and New Orleans) but last week against the Giants, they only let up 13 points (the other 14 came via a pick-six and kickoff return). 1st round pick CB Byron Jones has looked pretty solid in the early stages of his NFL career. In the loss against New England, Jones covered Rob Gronkowski and limited him to 4 receptions and 67 yards (no touchdowns) which are pretty pedestrian numbers for Gronk. Another rookie, LB Randy Gregory, is also back from injury and will no doubt contribute. Sean Lee, after missing the 2014 season, has taken on a huge leadership role.
3) This Is a Different Jason Garrett
A few years back, I could see Jason Garrett folding under pressure and wilting under the negative spotlight that has been placed on his team after four consecutive losses. However, last year Garrett stepped his game up. The Cowboys were bold again... they were doing things like going for it on 4th and short, not trying to force the offense to win the game on their own, and it paid off with a division title and playoff appearance. Garrett will be under the microscope for how he handles this situation. If it does end up with another playoff appearance, you have to consider him for Coach of the Year.
4) The Rest of the NFC East Is Just As Mediocre
If you look at the NFC East right now, do you really trust any of those team to run away with the division? The Giants currently head it up at 4-3, but have been up and down all year. New York, who seems to be a team that plays up or down to their competition, embarks on a southern road trip this week, visiting New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The Eagles have likewise been up and down, and highly confusing. They seemed to have things back on track against the Giants during that Star Wars Episode VII trailer reveal a couple of weeks ago, but followed that up with a dud of a performance on Sunday night against Carolina. And does anyone really trust the Redskins to keep up the pace they're going? I mean, that's entirely possible the way the division has played out, but the Cowboys just have to stay afloat, around the 4-5 mark by the time they reach Thanksgiving week.
5) Eventually, They're Going to Get Healthy
The Cowboys have slowly gotten their reinforcements back as the weeks have gone on. It took great force to stop Dez Bryant from playing last week in East Rutherford, but now it looks like nothing's going to prevent him from the exciting rematch against Seattle. As I mentioned above, the defense received a boost with the return of Gregory from injury, as well as the returns of Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy from suspension (Hardy, while a disaster off the field, has admittedly been a force on it). The biggest return, of course, will come Week 11, when Tony Romo finally comes back from his injury that has sidelined him since Week 2. The Cowboys will need to take care of business over the next three week to ensure they're still in contention when Romo does return for the Cowboys' matchup against Miami that week. Home dates with Seattle and Philadelphia will precede a visit to Tampa Bay. If the Cowboys can somehow squeak their way to 4-5, they have a shot.
Geoff Magliocchetti confesses to being a Cowboys fan. Perk his spirits up or tell him he's in denial on Twitter @GeoffMags5490
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.