So this is really just a comment that I posted in response to Awwwchie's comment. It got really long, and we both kinda felt that it was long enough to merit a Fanpost. So here goes, guys:
I said it at the beginning of the year—the defensive line is old and it was a couple injuries away from breaking down completely. And the safeties are young and unproven. These are two parts to why the Cowboys have failed when they have this year. The other is the completely ridiculous lack of an explosive offense.
I think that this current version of the Cowboys cannot win the Super Bowl. The places are there, but…the window is really starting to close fast. The good news is that new pieces are being brought in almost as quickly as pieces are falling off. I’ll go down the list, starting with the young ones.
Sean Lee: What an absolute stud. A beast for years to come.
Brandon Carr: People forget that he’s only 27. He’s close to a lockdown corner, and we have him for years to come.
Dez Bryant: Far and away our best talent on offense.
Tyron Smith: Great tackle—and he’s still so young. I don’t know about you, but he’s feeling twenty-twoo.
Travis Frederick: Awesome center—and he’s a rookie. Ermergerd we have the beginnings of a solid line.
Tony Romo: Great quarterback, but I think that the signs that he’s starting to fade are there. He’s missing wide-open receivers a little more and sometimes his throws are just that smidgen off. Hang in there, man—we’ll get help for you.
Demarcus Ware: Body is breaking down on him—maybe. He’s had trouble with injuries all year long, but since he’s been back he’s caused lots and lots of trouble for opposing tackles.
Jason Hatcher: Thirty-two, and unfortunately, I can’t see him getting signed again. Franchise—maybe?
Jason Witten: His slowing down isn’t QUITE as noticeable, but he’s not the threat he once was. Maybe this is a consequence of Dez Bryant moving in?
Miles Austin: Hammies are a problem. I’ll leave it at that.
We’re in a real battle with time now, hoping that the older pieces can hang on for just another year or two. Maybe in today’s world of parity that is the NFL something crazy will happen—not this year, I think we have too many injuries. But what gives me hope is that you don’t necessarily have to be the best team to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens and Giants are living proof. Our problems are concentrated on the defensive line. The good news is that that’s mostly where the most glaring problems are. I don’t really think you can point to another position group and say: "That’s a horrible, glaring, weak link of the Dallas Cowboys." The receiving corps are solid with Dez and Williams and Austin and Witten and Beasley and Harris. The TE position has Jason Witten. The offensive line is pretty solid. Running backs are growing to be less important in the league, but we have a fine one in Demarco Murray—and hopefully we have a replacement in Joseph Randle. For the linebackers, Sean Lee is probably the best MLBright now. Bruce Carter has been disappointing, but he’s not exactly god-awful, either. Both him, Wilber, and Durant are all at least serviceable and can’t really be exploited time after time after time. The secondary should be ok with Carr, Claiborne, and Scandrick making up a solid CB corps. The safety potion, led by Barry Church is solid, although they could use a little more height back there. And that’s it. Really not much else. Special teams are great. Dan Bailey is an extremely clutch kicker, and Dwayne Harris is statistically one of the best returners both in punts and kickoffs.
So I think the good news for this team is that after we patch up the defensive line, we’ll be almost done patching and can startimproving. It’s difficult for a team to really hit on so many patches that none of those patches can or should be improved. And that’s what encourages me the most. That this team is nearly done fixing the foundations—and can start building up.
Any additional questions? Just ask away in the comments. I don't check back here as often as I once did because of other responsibilities, but rest assured I will do my best to answer your questions.