Last season, the Dallas Cowboys found the recipe that could bring them to their next Lombardi trophy. Unfortunately, circumstances outside their control got in the way of that coming to fruition as the Cowboys fell to the Packers in the divisional round of the postseason. This year by all rights was supposed to be their year. They were supposed to be contenders but instead they have played out what seems like a nightmare season in the NFL. At 4-9, with Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback, the Cowboys are preparing to take on the New York Jets this evening. A game which has about as much excitement as watching paint dry or hearing a lecture on the scientific behaviors of poultry.
Yet, here we are about to go down with the ship because this season has been like a bad accident, it's too hard to just look away. It's the exact defintion of Murphy's Law. For the Cowboys, anything that could've gone wrong this year has most definitely gone that way. What tends to happen when disappointment sets in is that we forget this league can change in an instant. It's hard not to panic in these terrible situations because as we all too well know, the hits have just kept coming this year. However, as many of the writers here have said, it's not the time to start thinking about a fire sale or pressing the shiny red button. It's just not their year and they have found out many reasons why:
a.) They lost their All Pro receiver Dez Bryant in week one with a six to eight week foot injury.
b.) They lost their franchise quarterback Tony Romo for eight weeks with a cracked clavicle. The only passers on the roster were Brandon Weeden (lost nine straight starts), Kellen Moore (never started NFL game) and Jameill Showers (practice squad rookie). They traded for Matt Cassel, a quarterback who was currently the third string guy in Buffalo. When Tony finally came back, the pressure was way too much to overcome. Perhaps, he came back too early anyhow seeing as he is 35 years old. His return was short lived after taking another hit to the collarbone just two weeks later.
c.) They couldn't figure out their running game or who deserved to start. DeMarco Murray took a bigger pay day in Philadelphia. Joseph Randle proved he should have never been relied upon. Darren McFadden spent the majority of the offseason in bubble wrap. Christine Michael couldn't grasp the offense. Lance Dunbar, who was their most productive offensive player, was sent to IR after the Saints game.
d.) Their defense couldn't produce a turnover if the opposing player simply gave a defender the ball, some how, some way, they would re-fumble it and give it back. Not to mention the fact that the defense spent so much time on the field due to ineptitude on offense, that they were gassed by the time the fourth quarter came around.
Despite all of the terrible events that have happened dating back to the offseason, the Cowboys with all their components are going to be okay. A lot of things you'll see out in the social media driven world over the next few weeks will be painful, but there is a light at the end of tunnel. Don't get caught up in all these different talking media heads that want to entertain ideas or agendas like:
Jason Garrett Is On The Hot Seat: Really? He's one year in on his extension in a season where a whole ton of circumstance was dropped onto his lap. Just because Pittsburgh somehow won a few without Ben Roethlisberger doesn't mean all teams are created equal. The Cowboys had absolutely nothing when Tony Romo went down. Yes, Garrett is to blame for his evaluation but so is the front office. With an aging quarterback and young team, you don't pull a Cleveland and fire a guy that led you to 12-4 the season prior. You draft with what looks to be some fine capital and get your team healthy for another go at it in 2016. Especially considering that the players in the locker room take well to his relentless approach.
Cowboys Should Re-Acquire DeMarco: No, they should draft someone that has the skill-set that Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan like. Get Romo and the offensive line involved too. Murray is going to be 28 years old when the season begins. Unless he gets cut, which isn't likely to happen, the Cowboys do not need to lose resources to gain him back. They need to build their rushing attack around a new workhorse back that can follow his blocks and finish his runs. Darren McFadden has done some solid work but he's also aging and still has injury concerns.
Cowboys Must Take QB High: Only if the right opportunity presents itself. The quarterback position is very tricky and the last several season have proven that to be true. Every team in the league is looking for a franchise quarterback but there are reasons that a lot of them are still looking. It's certainly not for trying though as many have been drafted but none are sure things. Andrew Lucks aren't waiting in every draft and neither are Jameis Winstons and Marcus Mariotas for that matter. The Cowboys need to figure out their backup quarterback situation for the next 2-3 years but if there is a stud at another position that helps them win now, don't be afraid to pull the trigger.
Just because it's been one hellacious year for us Cowboys fans doesn't mean that good things are on the horizon for this team. They still have All Pro players in key positions and will be healthier when 2016 begins. Look at the Carolina Panthers, a year ago they were 7-8-1, now they are 13-0. There is no reason that with a few solid draft picks and some depth-building free agents, that the Cowboys won't be right back atop the NFC East next season. I mean, think about it. This team has had a lot of problems this season but if Romo and Dez never go down, are we so sure they aren't running away with this pathetic division? Are we so sure that everything else snowballs around them as well if their two best players were available for 16 games? It's understandable to be upset about the way this year has gone. The Cowboys are down right now but they certainly won't be for long. They have the pieces to recover from this tragic year and it will be great to witness them do it. 2016 could very well be a redemption tour and my money is with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant leading the way.