The offseason is full of realism and dreams. It's full of trying to manage hope and realistic expectations. For your Free Agent signings to your draft picks to your players coming back from injury.
As BWaj22 commented on another post, "it's the offseason, let the man dream!"
So with that said, I decided, let's believe for a second. Grab your route 44 cup from Sonic and pour the Blue Kool-Aid. Put on the Jerry Dreamer hat and say "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," and away we go...
Reasons to believe in the 2014 Dallas Cowboys...
5. Another year to learn from mistakes - Say what you want about Jason Garrett, but there are two things I believe to be true about him. 1) He's a smart dude (You don't go to Princeton because of football). And 2) He's a humble guy. He's going to take the blame for the losses and give the players the credit for the wins. I think he knows what's at stake this year, but I don't think the pressure is an issue for him. I think as he has gone and looked at the tape from last season, he has learned a thing or two about his coaching and decision making. I think that this year will be the best coached of his career. I don't think we will be sitting here at the end of games blasting him for some of the things we have in the past. Another year smarter.
4. The move to more Man Coverage - Rod Marinelli's momma didn't raise no fool. And while Monte Kiffen might have been the creator of the Tampa 2 Defense, he certainly never learned how to adapt it to the current style of offenses whether at USC or with Dallas. Master Splinter (thank you for that Omobi Akoye) was running a quality NFL Defense just a couple of year ago. I certainly remember a game against the Cowboys where that Chicago Bears defense picked off Tony Romo 5 times. Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Morris Claiborne have proven at one time or another that they are pretty good man-to-man cornerbacks. The move will benefit this trio and will also benefit the pass rush and the safeties. If this trio of corners can hold its own in coverage, then the defense should be much better.
3. Scott Linehan - This guy knows offense. He knows how to creatively use all the parts he's been given. Reggie Bush is one of the more dynamic backs in the league, but nobody thought he could be a carry the ball runner, save for a year in Miami, he had primarily been used as a receiving back. Linehan found a way to maximize the running and receiving ability. He found a way to get the ball to both of his Tight ends in Brandon Pettigrew (41 catches 416 yards and 2 TD's and Joseph Fauria (18 catches 207 yards and 7 TDs). Now imagine what he can do with a future hall of famer in Jason Witten and a guy who was beginning to come on toward the end of last year in Gavin Escobar. He knows how to get his best player open. Calvin Johnson is considered the best wide receiver in football. AJ Green and Dez Bryant are closing in, but it's still Calvin Johnson #1. People tried to shut him down, and Linehan knew how to get his guy open. I doubt we are going to be as frustrated as we have been the OC not being able to get Bryant open. I know people say that Linehan likes to throw the ball. He does. But typically his teams run more plays too.
With Linehan as Offensive Coordinator the Lions averaged 1,084.2 plays per season on offense In contrast Dallas' offense has averaged 1,015.6 plays per season on offense. That's a difference of 68.6 plays per season or 4.28 plays a game. That could be 4 more carries. 4 more opportunities to score. Just a few more first down conversions. I know 4 doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm sure DeMarco Murray or Dez Bryant could do something with a couple more touches a game.
2. Tyrone Crawford - Coming back from injury is no sure thing, but if this guy plays, then he will make an impact. Either at the LDE spot or the 3 Tech (on rushing downs or full time depending on Henry Melton's health status). Jason Hatcher has predicted it, and I believe it. In 2012, playing the defensive end position in the Rob Ryan 3-4 and mostly as a part time player recorded 20 tackles and 4 sacks. With more opportunity he is going to be a big time player for this team. A healthy Tyrone Crawford could be the difference on this defensive line. He's Hungry and Confident. Me and my friend Tony Romo both think he is the breakout player for 2014.
1. The Offensive Line - This group was playing well toward the end of the season. Just ask DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo. Then you throw in a 4 year starter at Notre Dame, a guy people say is smart enough, athletic enough, strong enough, and just plain good enough to play all 5 spots on the line in Zack Martin and this unit went from good to potentially elite. Tony Romo is going to need more time the older he gets. As you get older, you become less flexible (I know this). He's isn't going to be able to spin away from pressure like he has in the pass. This unit has the ability to take the offense to another level (which it was already pretty good). Improve on 1st and 10 and 3rd and short and this could be a dominant offense.
Don't like my reasons, what are your reasons to believe that this team will make the playoffs in 2014?