I would rate this version of the Dallas Cowboys to be the best team since 2007, when we went 13-3 and were the best team in the NFC. Of course that team lost to the Giants at home after earning a bye, and so never went to the Super Bowl, as it should have. How does that team compare to this year's version? Which roster would you rather have?
The table below attempts a side-by-side comparison. (The positions got cut off for 2007, but you can follow. With the exception of Hoyte at FB, the offensive position in the middle column goes both ways. On defense, I tried to match up as close as possible even though 2007 is a 3-4 and 2013 is a 4-3. The first number after names is age, followed by production in 2007 or 2012 (for the 2013 starters)).
I tried bolding the guys I would rather have in 2013 (not looking at future performance), but the auto hyperlinking that comes in with names make it hard to follow.
This is who I prefer from 2007.
- 6 offense: Witten, all 5 O-linemen;
- 5 defense: Spears, Ratliff, Newman, Hamlin, Roy Williams.
- 1 key backup: MBIII.
- 2 special teams: Austin (as KR), McBriar.
This is who I prefer from 2013.
- 5 offense: Romo, Murray, Bryant, Austin, Rosario.
- 6 defense: Hatcher, Spencer, Lee, Carter, Ware, Claiborne.
- 2 key backups: Hanna/Escobar, Terrence Williams.
- 2 special teams. Harris, and Bailey.
Overall it's 14 from 2007, 15 from 2013. I took this year's Ware because I think he's going to have a monster season at DE.
|2007 Offensive starters||2013 Offense|
|Tony Romo||27||4211yds||QB||Tony Romo||33||4729yds|
|Julius Jones||26||164/588||RB||DeMarco Murray||25||161/663|
|Oliver Hoyte||23||H Back||Dante Rosario||28|
|Terretll Owens||34||81/1355||WR||Dez Bryant||24||92/1382|
|Patrick Crayton||28||50/697||WR||Miles Austin||29||66/943|
|Jason Witten||25||96/1145||TE||Jason Witten||31||110/1039|
|Flozell Adams||32||LT||Tyron Smith||22|
|Kyle Kosier||29||LG||Ron Leary||24|
|Andre Gurode||29||C||Travis Frederick||22|
|Leonard Davis||29||RG||M. Bernardeau||27|
|Marc Colombo||29||RT||Doug Free||29|
|2007 Defensive starters|
|Marcus Spears||24||2 sacks||OLB||Justin Durant||27||0.5 sacks|
|Jay Ratliff||26||3 sacks||DT||Jay Ratliff||31||6 games|
|Chris Canty||25||3.5 sacks||DT||Jason Hatcher||31||4 sacks|
|Greg Ellis||32||12.5 sacks||LDE||Anthony Spencer||29||11 sacks|
|Bradie James||26||3 sacks||MLB||Sean Lee||27||6 games|
|Akin Ayodele||28||OLB||Bruce Carter||25||11 games|
|DeMarcus Ware||25||14 sacks||RDE||DeMarcus Ware||31||11.5 sacks|
|Jacques Reeves||25||1 pick||CB||Mo Claiborne||23||1 pick|
|Terrence Newman||29||4 picks||CB||Brandon Carr||27||3 picks|
|Ken Hamlin||26||5 picks||S||Will Allen||31||0 picks|
|Roy Williams||27||2 picks||S||Barry Church||25||3 games|
|Marion Barber III||24||204/975||RB||Lance Dunbar/Joseph Randle|
|Anthony Fasano||23||14/143||TE||James Hanna/Gavin Escobar|
|Sam Hurd||22||19/314||WR||Terrence Williams||23|
|Miles Austin||23||24/612||KR||Lance Dunbar||23||12/261|
|Patrick Crayton||28||22/201||PR||Dwayne Harris||25||22/354|
|Nick Folk||23||26/31||K||Dan Bailey||25||29/31|
|Mat McBriar||28||47.1 ypa||P||Chris Jones||24||45.2 ypa|
1. On offense, 2013 is much better at the skill positions, but much weaker on the offensive line. I'd take the younger Jason Witten, and there's no one on this roster who compares to MBIII, but otherwise, the current skill players are much stronger, especially at wide receiver. The real question is whether the offensive line can hold up well enough so that our better skill guys can put the ball in the end zone. Because the 2007 team scored 455 points to 376 last year. Does the 2007 team prove the real value of a high-quality offensive line? Can the 2013 O-line, Callahan's play calling and more turnovers get us to 455 points?
2. On defense, I like the 2013 front seven and cornerbacks (though I like Newman best), but I'd take the 2007 safeties. The interesting question here will be whether the D can stay as healthy as it did in 2007, and whether the combo of Allen and Church at safety can stop the deep passes. But even though I like more of the 2013 defenders, can they do better than 2007's 325 points against?
3. Age. When you look at the ages of players, in 2013 we have a much older QB and primary tight end, but our wide receivers and offensive line are much younger. Running back is about equal. On defense, our D-line is much older in 2013. It looks a lot like the O-line did in 2007, with guys near the end of their careers. But we have much better young linebackers and are slightly younger in the secondary.
4. Overall. I think Dallas has assembled plenty of talent for 2013, and if I had to choose rosters, I would take 2013. I don't think the offense without the 2007 power line will do as well as we did in 2007 (2nd points, 3rd in yards), but I think the defense under Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli can do better than a 13th place NFL points ranking. And I hope we can do better in the playoffs than we did in 2007.