At long last the 2019 Dallas Cowboys season is over. We... survived?
America’s Team finished shy of postseason play for the first time since 2017, they simply are not able to put together back-to-back playoff seasons. It’s a shame.
The biggest shame without question is the team that we spent the last four months watching and analyzing. They were a group of players that simply were not able to deliver under the pressure. Such is the case for the Dallas Cowboys this millennium.
While morale is certainly low right now it’s important to note that there were some high points and things to take away from this past season. Here are our winners and losers for the entire 2019 season.
Winner: Michael Gallup
Without question the biggest breakout star of the season. Michael Gallup played so well, he eclipsed 1,000 yards as a “WR2” in many people’s eyes, that there are now some folks wondering if Amari Cooper is expendable.
People say that year three is typically when receivers break out. If Michael Gallup hasn’t broken out yet, watch out world.
Winner: La’el Collins
The best offensive lineman for the Cowboys across the whole season was without question the most-recently paid, La’el Collins. He earned his money.
Dallas clearly has injury issues that will be a problem along the line for the foreseeable future, but they also have great players.
Winner: Robert Quinn
Definitely the team’s defensive MVP, for whatever that’s worth. Quinn cost the Cowboys a sixth-round pick and more than delivered. He finally gave the Cowboys a legitimate force opposite of their top pass rusher in DeMarcus Lawrence. It’s a shame that they couldn’t even get to the playoffs with that in tow.
Winner: Jourdan Lewis
While the Cowboys secondary was far from perfect they did finally get to see legitimate playing time from someone who has long deserved it - Jourdan Lewis.
Unfortunately it was an injury to Anthony Brown that forced the Cowboys to play Lewis in long stretches, but he was by far the best cornerback on average across the season. Perhaps the Cowboys will be more willing to play him in 2020, although a lot of that depends on who the new coaching staff is.
Winner: Kai Forbath
It’s strange to consider someone who played such a small percentage of the season for the Cowboys as a winner, but this is more about what Forbath represents than Forbath himself.
The Cowboys insisted on riding with Brett Maher. They told us that he made big kicks for them. They dug in and dug in and dug in, and before they knew it they were in a hole that they couldn’t get out of.
Kai Forbath went 10 of 10 on field goal attempts while a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps this taught the team a less that ignorance is not bliss.
Loser: Jason Garrett
It has to start here, right? There is without question no bigger loser from the 2019 Dallas Cowboys season than the man who likely lost his job because of it.
In Jason Garrett’s defense (believe me, I’m not making one) he was saddled with a rookie offensive coordinator that got beat out by the two quarterbacks on the team just two years ago. That offensive coordinator didn’t even get training camp or the preseason to work with the player who many believe that the offense is centered around in Ezekiel Elliott. Still, Kellen Moore found ways to have some success.
Garrett’s season was weird really throughout. He openly dismissed analytics and defied logic on simple decisions throughout games. It’s time for everyone to move on. May all the best be in his future.
Loser: Jason Witten
However good he may or may not have been, Jason Witten left one of the most coveted jobs in football media to play for the Dallas Cowboys this season. His return on investment was an embarrassing 8-8 season that will go down as one of the most infamous in franchise history, not to mention it was seemingly the final straw in his friend Jason Garrett’s hat.
What’s more is that when Witten left, sure he had not won a Super Bowl; however, he was beloved. Witten was in the category of player where fans openly shout that the franchise let down. The tight end risked some of that in his return and is now regarded by some as things like selfish for taking away meaningful snaps from younger players.
Loser: Jaylon Smith
Perhaps no Cowboy has seen the fan base turn on them quite like Jaylon Smith. He and his swipe have become the icon for Cowboys celebrating when trailing, prioritizing their own brands over the good of the team.
On the field Smith was hardly the player that we saw last season. He and Leighton Vander Esch were supposed to be the reason why this defense remained elite and they both had down years which led to the overall unit falling apart.
Loser: Amari Cooper’s second half
We have no idea what happened to Amari Cooper, but the Cowboys insist that he was not injured. If that’s the case then things are puzzling as the player that we saw continually perform at a high level just disappeared.
Things got so weird with Cooper that he found himself on the sidelines in critical moments, like Week 16 in Philadelphia for example. The Cowboys have a decision to make with him and if they end up not re-signing him after trading a first-round pick for him it feels like there will be riots.
Loser: Jerry Jones
The Cowboys reached a point in 2019 where Hall of Fame alumni like Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were calling them out in public forums almost on a weekly basis. That’s not ideal.
Jerry Jones hitched his wagon more firmly than anybody to Jason Garrett and like any respectable captain he went all the way down with the ship. The Dallas Cowboys brand is far from being in jeopardy of losing all its luster, but the reality is that Jerry’s team has become a bit of a punchline to where even some of his most beloved former players are left to criticize them. It’s often words from those closest to you that hurts the most.
There is a lot of introspection necessary for the Dallas Cowboys, but it has to start with the brain-trust up top. Hopefully 2020 is a lot kinder to all of us, although the last two decades don’t seem to suggest that they will be.