Alright Cowboy fans. We are coming off of a very disappointing season (understatement), but I'm gonna try to get everybody pumped up for 2011. We entered the 2010 season with aspirations of playing a home Super Bowl. Instead, this team sputtered out to a 1-7 start, quit on Wade and looked like a terrible football team. Going into this off-season there is a lot of concern about the direction this team is heading. I am here to tell my fellow Cowboy fans to relax. We WILL be back next season. There is no doubt in my mind that this team will win at least 10 games, and let me give you the reasons why.
Reason number 1 - Jason Garrett. I am a believer in Garrett. I was very skeptical of him at first because I thought he was part of the problem and not the solution, but he proved me wrong. Garrett took a 1-7 team which had quit on Wade, and led them to a 5-3 record with a backup QB and a terrible defense. Somehow he found a way to motivate the team every practice and every game. Getting a group of 53 millionaires to believe in a common cause is hard enough, but motivating a group of 53 millionaires with a 1-7 record to win 5 of their last 8 games is remarkable. The three losses came by a combined 7 points also. I really think that Garrett will have this team mentally and physically prepared to work hard and play hard for every practice and game next season.
Reason 2 - We have a franchise QB. I don't care where you want to rank Tony Romo compared to all the other QBs in the NFL, but I do know that you can win with Romo. The NFL is divided into two categories. Teams with good QBs and teams without good QBs. This is a league of QBs, and if you have solid play at the quarterback position, you will win more games than you will lose. People love to rip on Romo which I will never understand. Does anybody remember the years after Troy? Romo is a darn good NFL quarterback, and I have no doubt that he can lead this team to a Super Bowl. The main issue with Romo is his turnovers, but he corrected that in the 2009 season when he only threw 9 ints. I know Romo will be itching to get back on the field after missing the second half of 2010, and I look for him to have a big season in 2011.
Reason 3 - This roster has some talent on it. I understand that this team is far from perfect, and there are many issues on this roster. The defense (secondary in particular) was terrible, and the o-line is getting old, and is not that great. I know that this roster is far from perfect, but we have a lot of positives also. No roster in the NFL is perfect....none. Look at the Steelers with their beat up, average o-line they were still able to go to the Super Bowl. When I hear a lot of fans talk about the Cowboy's roster they sound as if we are the Bills or Browns with no talent.
Look at some of the positives on our roster. On defense we have one of the best defensive players and the best pass rushers in the league in DeMarcus Ware. You have to be able to rush the passer to be successful in this league, and we have the BEST pass rusher in the league on our roster. Jay Ratliff is a beast in the middle on defense. Although Spencer and Jenkins struggled big time last year, they showed flashes in 2009, and you've got to think that Rob Ryan will get the most out of these guys.
On offense we are loaded with talent. Oline was definitely our weak spot, but we have plenty of talent at the skill positions. Dez Bryant is an amazing playmaker already, and we know that he will continue to improve. Miles is a good receiver who is coming off of a disappointing season in which he still had over 1,000 receiving yards. The combination of Dez and Miles is definitely one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL, and we haven't even talked about Witten. Witten is one of the top TE ends in the NFL. He blocks, he catches passes, he makes plays, and he is tough as nails. With Felix and Tashard (I'm assuming MB3 is going to be gone) we have a solid pair of RBs. Felix improved quite a bit in the passing game last year, and I think he will be a solid back for us in 2011.
Reason 4 - We have some young talent on this roster. I have already mentioned Dez, and I can't even put into words how excited I am to see this guy in year two. I think this guy will be a top WR in this league for a long time. One guy who we missed last season was John Phillips. He was under-appreciated his rookie season as he was a very versatile guy. He was turning into a nice pass catcher, he can block, and he played multiple positions for us. He is a very versatile guy, and he will be a big part of the offense in 2011. He is an H back type player, and he can play many roles in this offense. I am excited to see what Sean Lee and AOA can do next year. The Cowboys were very high on both of these guys, and I expect big things from them in 2011. I think that Lee and AOA will both be given the chance to battle for a starting job in training camp, and I would love to see these guys emerge as playmakers for our defense next year Another guy I am excited about is Victor Butler. I want to see him get more snaps, and I'm curious to see how Rob Ryan gets him on the field more.
Reason 5 - Rob Ryan. He seems like he will bring some intensity to this defense (finally), and he will find a way to get the most out of his players. I know these players will love playing for him, and I look for him to help improve this defense quite a bit.
Reason 6 - We're going to add a lot of talent before the season starts. We have the ninth overall pick in this draft which means we should draft an impact player in round one. We should be able to find 3 or 4 guys who can come in and play quite a bit next season and make an impact. I also believe that we will be active in free agency this year. We were the only team who did not sign a free agent last year, and you have to believe that Jerry will be far more aggressive this off season in free agency. I look for us to land a couple of starters through free agency this year.
The 2010 NFL season was a tough thing as a Cowboys fan, but I think some positives will come from it. I think being so bad truly embarrassed Jerry, and it will force him to change the way he does things. Garrett will be a very positive change for this organization, and I expect big things from the Cowboys in 2011.