Dallas Cowboys fans have very high hopes for the 2016 season. And they should. Key pieces are coming back from injury, the team is loaded with firepower on offense and there is a hope they can return to the 2014 model that saw them go 12-4 and win a playoff game. That all sounds good.
But... if things go wrong, what will be the cause? I was reminded of this today after reading an article at the Sporting News from a former NFL executive. His contention - the Cowboys are playing with fire by having a backup quarterback situation that is sub-par.
In their current depth chart, oft-injured Tony Romo of course is the starter, and he's a top 10 QB when available. Kellen Moore, with his two career starts (0-2 record) and 104 passing attempts is listed as the No. 2 quarterback. Dak Prescott, the rookie fourth-rounder, is in the fourth spot now behind Jameill Showers (who?) but presumably will move up to second or third string as training camp unfolds.
If Dallas fans are nervous about this group behind Romo, they're entitled. The Cowboys seem to have forgotten how the defense of their 2014 NFC East title team became derailed last season when Romo was out with a broken left collarbone.
The article is a pretty standard re-hash of the Cowboys perilous situation if Tony Romo goes down again. The argument is strong and shouldn’t be dismissed. It is definitely one of the big worries for the team.
What other big worries does the 2016 squad have? Let’s take a look and then decide which one is most likely to derail the Cowboys season. Granted, were discussing the negative here, I’m sure most of us think the Cowboys season will be a competitive one where the team is in the hunt all the way. But, in the dead of the offseason, we can discuss the downside, the alternative reality.
So, here are my top three reasons the Cowboys 2016 would go south.
- Tony Romo Injury - Romo hasn’t played a whole season since 2012. Back surgeries and broken collar bones have been the major issues, but he’s had nagging other ones, too. The Cowboys don’t exactly have a Jon Kitna to roll out there is something does go wrong. But there’s the flip-side in this scenario, if Romo stays healthy, the Cowboys won’t face this situation at all. As opposed to some of the scenarios that follow, Dallas could possibly avoid this one all season long.
- Poor Pass Rush - The NFL is a passing league. The Cowboys were awful in getting to the quarterback last year. They didn’t add a sure-fire pass rusher in the draft or free agency, and two of their best pass-rushing prospects will miss a quarter of the season. If you can’t get after the QB with regularity, it’s very difficult to win consistently.
- Secondary Issues/Lack Of Turnovers - The last time the Cowboys defense was decent they did it by getting a ton of turnovers. But even then, the secondary wasn’t involved all that much. It’s been two years since Brandon Carr intercepted a pass. And as much as we want to believe in the renaissance of Morris Claiborne, PFF ranked him as one of the worst cornerbacks last season. Orlando Scandrick is coming back from major injury. Could the back-end undo the Cowboys season?
Which of one these scenarios is most likely to be the culprit if the Cowboys 2016 season doesn’t live up to expectations? Or maybe you have a different scenario you would like to share with us in the comments.