The Dallas Cowboys will be watching this year’s Super Bowl in the comforts of their own home. What if they were in this year? Was Dallas actually just a magical third down completion away from beating the Packers? Could they have then beaten the Falcons? Could they have then beat the Patriots in Texas? That is neither here nor there because Dallas was knocked out in classic Cowboys fashion a few weeks ago behind a gutsy Aaron Rodgers performance. While we will all enjoy this year’s Super Bowl Sunday, how can the Dallas Cowboys make it to next year’s big game? Here’s my game plan.
Avoid the Sophomore Slump
First and foremost, the rookies are no longer rookies. The expectations are exceptional and short of a fiercely efficient Dak Prescott and a super back Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys will falter. This offensive pair makes the offensive line better, makes the receiving corps more efficient and allows the defense a break every once in a while. Much of the season, the offensive line rightfully received credit for their work, but Dak and Zeke’s performance and skill-set put the offensive line in perfect positions to succeed.
Continue the Continuity
Jason Garrett was recently named Coach of the Year and his acceptance speech essentially summarized the Cowboys Way. I recognize that only the Patriots have the “Patriots Way,” but if Dallas is able to start winning, the Dallas Cowboys might just patent their way, too. The Cowboys over-performed on defense this year behind the mind and creativity of Rod Marinelli. The offense benefited from superstar talent across the board that was clearly represented at the Pro Bowl game. Keeping the stars on the team and the coaching staff will continue serving the Cowboys well.
God Bless Rod Marinelli
What if I told you the only first round-picks on defense were Byron Jones and Morris Clairborne and the only second-round pick was Sean Lee. Our secondary is composed of a pair of fifth-rounders (Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick), an undrafted rock (Barry Church) and a pair of first-rounders as stated above. The defensive line is manned by three third-rounders (Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain and Tyrone Crawford) and a fifth-rounder in Jack Crawford. The linebacker corps features a second-rounder in Sean Lee and pair of fourth-rounders in Damien Wilson and Anthony Hitchens. The work that Rod Marinelli has done is remarkable and fortunately, he will be able to add Jaylon Smith next year.
Let Jerry be Jerry
Jerry Jones has revolutionized the National Football League in many ways. His business acumen and early success with the 1990s dynasty catapulted him into the Hall of Fame this year. While his performance as a general manager has been debatable in the past, he has been spectacular in the draft lately as evidenced here. In order for the Cowboys to continue chugging along and make it to Super Bowl LII next year, Jerry Jones needs to be remain the personality of the Cowboys but needs to trust his array of talent (Jason Garrett, Will McClay and Stephen Jones) to build the roster through the draft and free agency.
If all of this can come together, the Dallas Cowboys will find themselves in Minnesota next February preparing for Super Bowl LII.