Having to adjust as fans. After a couple of decades of playoff impotence and the string of .500 seasons, I sometimes am not sure how I am supposed to feel about the 6-1 start to the season. The lingering disbelief that the Dallas Cowboys are really as good as the record indicates is almost understandable. It has been so long and came almost out of nowhere if you did not have faith in the Jason Garrett process. Sometimes, there is still a little caution in looking at this, and no gloating yet. The team is doing so much better than expected, but it hasn't accomplished anything yet. So it is wise to just be quietly confident and leave off any real trash talking. For now. But if this continues, then the rest of the NFL fans are going to find out just how much they really hate us. And we will enjoy every second.
The talent is finally real. At least on offense. For many years, there was a discussion of how talented Dallas was, but it was a very hollow thing. Tony Romo was certainly always very, very good despite the memes. Dez Bryant is almost as unreal as this picture makes him look.
Gravity is no match for 88 pic.twitter.com/lfd5s1UYTc— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 25, 2014
Jason Witten has always played like the future Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame honoree he is pretty much assured of being with his place in the record books. DeMarco Murray has shown flashes of greatness, but had trouble staying on the field.
And that was really it. But now, this is one of the deepest and most proficient group of offensive players in the league. It starts with the line, which has been the centerpiece of the rebuild that Garrett undertook as head coach. Add in Terrance Williams and a bunch of very good role players, including the underappreciated James Hanna who gets more snaps than the recently emerging Gavin Escobar for a reason, and this is starting to look like a true juggernaut. The real proof to me that this is truly a deep offense was the job Jermey Parnell did filling in for Doug Free. The Cowboys didn't miss a beat against the New York Giants. You have to love it.
Oh, and Dan Bailey is awesome. Just wanted to throw that in here.
The biggest offseason move. Sometimes a team picks up a player out of necessity, almost desperation, when they are just trying to survive the loss of a real talent. When they brought in Rolando McClain to try and get some help at linebacker with Sean Lee and DeVonte Holloman both gone, everyone really was just hoping he could contribute.
Oh, sweet little baby Jesus, has he ever. He is a tackling machine for Dallas, with great instincts. Considering that he did not play in 2013, it is amazing how good his reactions and instincts have been from the beginning. Despite missing one game, he is third on the team in tackles and has two interceptions and a forced fumble. But his most important contribution to the team may be that he has spread an attitude of putting the hurt on the other side to his teammates. He does not have a reputation as a vocal leader, but is described as "leading with his pads". Who could have imagined that a guy who retired from the NFL twice at his young age would turn out to be a walking example of Garrett's RKG?
The angry and hungry. After all the emphatic proclamations that this would be the worst defense since leather helmets, Rod Marinelli's guys have played with massive chips on their shoulders and unrelenting aggression. And there are a lot of young players that show up every game with the firm attitude they have something to prove. This is a companion attribute to the attitude I mention Rolando McClain bringing to the field, and it is especially evident on the line. Tyrone Crawford, Jeremy Mincey, and Terrell McClain have started to prove that they can stop the other team when they need to, even if the longed for sacks are still few and far between. Now DeMarcus Lawrence is looking like he is going to be what the team drafted him to be when he gets on the field, probably against the Arizona Cardinals. This is one thing that gives hope not only for this year, but for future seasons as well.
The difference between a must win and a need to win. The game against the Washington team is not a must win because Dallas will still be among the leaders in the NFC even if they don't hold off a struggling group with a serious issue at quarterback and some key injuries elsewhere. But they need to win. Each victory adds confidence for this group. The Philadelphia Eagles have an impressive record themselves despite some pretty serious weaknesses that they have managed to work around, mainly through the return game. Although it would be nice if the Cardinals could hang a loss on Chip Kelly's bunch, it is better to keep winning and not worry about what happens anywhere else in the league. The Cowboys need this one. Fortunately, there is no way Jason Garrett is gonna let them sleep on Washington.