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Cowboys News: Offseason changes are coming but Cowboys must play it smart

It’s not always the best thing to overreact but you also don’t want to underreact as well.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Why You Should Take A Deep Breath From The Cowboys’ Coaching Angst-David Helman- Dallas Cowboys
It's not always the smartest move to make wholesale changes just because you fell short of your goals.

But in all seriousness, as frustrating as this season was, I’m looking back over the Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 season and I’m not sure the catastrophic failures that are prompting people to call for mass firings.

After a tumultuous season, it’s surprising the Cowboys finished with a winning record -Michael Sisemore- Blogging The Boys
Nothing about this season has been great but the Cowboys managed to finish 9-7.

For any single thing they got right, they got three others wrong. They couldn’t survive all the hits that kept coming, some of them self-inflicted. Somehow, some way, the Cowboys finished winning four of their last five games even though they were a wildly inconsistent team. Normally finishing strong like Dallas did, winning four of five, would be cause for celebration. But, that one loss cost the team a shot at the playoffs, and capped off a season that fell far short of expectations.

Dallas Cowboys must navigate salary cap to add talent in offseason-Todd Archer-ESPN
The Cowboys have some cap space but will likely have to negotiate some restructures to make all of their offseason moves.

The Cowboys have a long history of restructuring contracts. Often it leads to bloated cap figures down the road, which played a role in the departure of DeMarcus Ware after the 2013 season. Tony Romo’s cap figure got so unwieldy late in his career that the Cowboys had to designate him a post-June 1 cut last year, and he still counts $8.9 million against the cap in 2018.

Who's up for free agency for the Dallas Cowboys?-Drew Davison- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Here is a list of all the current Cowboys set to hit free agency this offseason.

LB Anthony Hitchens: An underrated player on the defense. The Cowboys will attempt to re-sign him, but another team might view him more valuable than his own a la Barry Church last offseason.

Ed Werder on why Jerry Jones, Cowboys didn't go after Jon Gruden, other head coaches this offseason | SportsDay
NFL analyst Ed Werder gave his opinions on the Cowboys season and why Jerry Jones didn't go after any big name coaching changes.

“... You’re asking if Jerry was going to take on a head coach with a big personality, a significant profile - bigger than Jerry’s would have been for the first time since Bill Parcells came here, and only the second time since he owned the team with Jimmy [Johnson as head coach] - and he’s going to pay Jason Garrett $12 million to go away? And he’s going to pay the entire coaching staff their salaries including both coordinators that he just extended last year, and then pay Gruden and his coaches on top of that? That doesn’t seem like a very Jerry move to me.”

DeMarcus Lawrence Deserves Defensive Player of the Year, More Thoughts-Jeff Sullivan- Dallas Cowboys
Just a bunch of thoughts from Jeff Sullivan as the Cowboys prepare to watch the playoffs from the couch.

Also, I know I spend way too much time defending Jason Garrett. It’s kind of like politics. No one is going to change their mind based on someone else’s opinion, but here goes: Since he took over midway through the 2010 season, the only teams to win more games than the Cowboys, who are 67-53, are Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and New England. That means the Cowboys are ninth among 32 NFL teams in that stretch. That means 25 percent of the league has won more games, and it’s worth noting the Ravens have just one more win, the Falcons and Saints two. Quite easily, by the end of next season, Dallas could rank sixth over an eight-and-a-half year stretch among the entire league. Yes, they need to win more playoff games, but you can’t fire a coach winning that many games. Just doesn’t make sense.

Do the Cowboys believe they were an Ezekiel Elliott suspension away from the playoffs? -RJ Ochoa- Blogging The Boys
Even with Ezekiel Elliott in the mix, the Cowboys can't possibly believe that he was the only the thing between them and the playoffs.

There’s no denying how important Elliott is to this offense, the six games he missed proved that (although Linehan himself neutralized Elliott’s efforts against Seattle). Is it possible that, in all of their discussions, the Cowboys have convinced themselves that’s what the real problem is, not anything to do with them?

Think about it. The maintaining of Scott Linehan is a clear endorsement of his abilities when the season that just played out was a flagrant demerit against them. When in a retrospective mindset the Cowboys might be saying to themselves, “You know, if Zeke hadn’t gotten suspended everything would have been fine,” which would be insane.

David Irving looks to go from tease to cornerstone piece of Cowboys-Todd Archer-ESPN
After missing half of the season, David Irving wants be a much bigger contributor for the Cowboys moving forward.

“I keep thinking, ‘What if I had played all of the games?’” Irving said. “I probably could’ve got 15, 16, maybe more [sacks]. So I just got to come back next year, stay the hell out of trouble, hopefully don’t get injured and see what I can do next year.”

How the Dallas Cowboys' rookies fared in 2017 -Drew Davison- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Taking a look at how the rookies stacked up in 2017 and what to expect going forward.

“Taco did some good things. I thought he got better as the year went on, started to make some impact plays, sacking the quarterback, making some plays sideline to sideline. He’ll continue to grow.

“He’s in a good environment with the veteran players at that position and the coaching that he gets there,” Garrett said. “So he has to reflect back on this year and build on some of the good stuff and certainly continue to grow in a lot of different ways.”

Why Jerry Jones needs to forget Ezekiel Elliott to best evaluate Cowboys talent this offseason | SportsDay
In order to truly evaluate the talent on the roster, the front office must look past what Ezekiel Elliott brings to the team and cover themselves.

David Moore: This is an interesting hypothetical. It’s my belief the Cowboys would have made the playoffs if Elliott had played the entire season. He sets the dominant tone for this offense. It’s clear the group lost its confidence and swagger in the immediate aftermath of his suspension and by the time they stabilized, it was too late. Now, will the front office use this to gloss over where this team is offensively entering the offseason? No way. Executive vice president Stephen Jones calls the club’s inability to respond successfully once Elliott was suspended an “organizational flaw.” Elliott’s absence exposed offensive issues and shortcomings the Cowboys must and will address.