That window of time felt like a necessary pause on whatever hype we had rolling for the Cowboys. There are reasons to be optimistic about this team, but the idea of Zack Martin being significantly injured was enough to drown them out for a while.
We’ve come out on the other side of that tunnel though and we’re back to looking forward. We’re officially inside of three weeks to the season beginning on the road in Carolina, and there is plenty to be pumped over.
What is there to be pumped over specifically, you ask? I’m glad that you did. Here’s why I’m excited about the Dallas Cowboys this season.
Ezekiel Elliott and all of the eating that he’s going to do
We are all well aware of just how exhausting the off-the-field discussions concerning Zeke were last season. They took a toll on us, and there’s no denying that they took a toll on the Cowboys themselves.
That isn’t going to be an issue this season. Zeke is slated to play 16 games for the Cowboys in 2018 and the last time that he did this team won 13 football games while he led the league in rushing. That’s exciting.
What’s more is that while last offseason was a bit of a bumpy ride for Zeke, we haven’t heard much of a peep about him over the last few months. From the outside looking in it’s evident that the Cowboys top ball-carrier is all-in on reclaiming his rushing crown. As Zeke goes, we go.
This defense is going to be very, very good
There is legitimate cause to be excited about numerous members of the Cowboys defense:
- DeMarcus Lawrence: 14.5 sacks is cause for excitement
- Randy Gregory: the comeback is real
- Taco Charlton: year two looks to be the one
- Sean Lee: The General does The General things
- Jaylon Smith: that comeback is real
- Leighton Vander Esch: a first-round talent groomed by Sean Lee
- Chidobe Awuzie: elite athleticism, big-time interceptions, let’s go
- Byron Jones: even more elite athleticism
- Jeff Heath: GOAT. Kidding, but not really.
These are just the players who’s “excitement” levels stand out at the very top. Tyrone Crawford is interesting, Jourdan Lewis is still hanging out, and Joe Thomas has been balling out through the preseason. There are playmakers at every level here.
Kris Richard and Sanjay Lal are changing their respective sides of the ball
Many said that Jason Garrett and Co. got rid of the people that they did on their coaching staff in order to deflect blame. I’m not saying that that isn’t necessarily true, I’m saying that a great happenstance from that might have been the additions of Kris Richard and Sanjay Lal.
Kris Richard has brought tenacity to the Cowboys secondary and honestly to the defense as a whole. Rod Marinelli has always been the cheeky guy yelling curse words at them, but Kris Richard is the man who’s out there literally with them.
The Cowboys defense experienced a jolt of lightning this offseason, and that jolt is undeniably Kris Richard. While his aggressiveness is making the team’s defense all the more aggressive in every capacity, Sanjay Lal is bringing a different type of elite quality to the receivers.
Sanjay Lal is not Kris Richard, in fact he might be the polar opposite in terms of public persona. Sanjay is quiet, calm, and most importantly extremely calculated. Where Derek Dooley relied on the Cowboys receivers utilizing their own elite talents, Sanjay Lal has done his homework and is helping them ace their routes like an SAT tutor would.
Perhaps the most important quality that Sanjay Lal has brought to the Cowboys is diligence. Everything is calculated and purposeful. There is efficiency in every step, every route, every single move. People practicing this type of behavior running for Dak Prescott is a very good thing.
The Cowboys aren’t the NFL or NFC East’s top threat
The Cowboys entered 2017 with Super Bowl expectations and assumptions being made that they had done something extremely difficult, obtaining a franchise running back and quarterback in one fell swoop just the year before.
Gone is the idea that the Cowboys are going to cruise to a division title. Gone are the notions that they are a premier team in the NFL, or even across the NFC. People are paying more attention to the Eagles, Rams, 49ers, Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Saints, and Panthers more than they are the Cowboys. That’s a wild world to be in, but it’s one of subtlety and that’s always great in sports.
Being the hunted is definitely fun and certainly a bragging point if you’re able to do it successfully, but blending in the shadows and camouflage around the entire scene is much more advantageous. Let’s capitalize on that.
This is a season of such unknown and that’s exhilirating
Jason Witten is gone. Dez Bryant is gone. The Cowboys barely have any players over the age of 30. This team is almost as brand new as your phone screen when you peel that plastic film off.
While a roll of the dice like that is certainly a precarious feeling to have, it’s somewhat thrilling. For years on end we’ve gone into seasons knowing that the Cowboys were going to find a way to convert crazy third downs to Jason Witten and get it to Dez Bryant in the endzone with a thrown up x to follow. This is anarchy!
We’re in uncharted waters here. The map is gone, navigation is down, and all we have to guide us are our natural instincts and the direction that the sun rises and sets. This is the way it was intended on some level, and whether or not its fruitful to the degree we all hope it is, because it’s the Cowboys we know it’s going to be one heck of a ride.