The Cowboys went 6-10 in 2010; Very disappointing after going 11-5 and winning the division championship in 2009.
The Cowboys have not done anything drastic this offseason. The best moves the team has made is eliminating dead weight. Roy Williams was a bust. Plain and simple Often ran the wrong route or dropped the ball. He hurt the team more than he helped. Marion Barber is no longer “strong” or explosive. He hasn’t had his burst for years. He also hurt this team more than he helped last year. The Offensive line struggled, that is why Leonard Davis was let go.
In 2010 the two biggest weaknesses were offensive line and defensive backfield. Dallas addressed the Tackle position in the draft selecting Tyron Smith. Doug Free was resigned to a big contract so the OT are set for the foreseeable future. Kyle Kosier was resigned at Guard and Montrae Holland is currently penciled in as the other guard with Andrew Gurode still at center. OL is always a work in progress but I believe this unit will be improved this year.
Last year, Tony Romo and Jon Kitna has plenty of weapons on offense. Three running backs plus Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Jason Witten, and last year’s first round pick Dez Bryant. Jason Garrett’s biggest task with the offense is to find balance between running and passing. Felix Jones, for the first time in his career will be the premier back with Tashard Choice and 3rd round pick Demarco Murray backing him up. Wide receiver depth isn’t great but Miles, Dez, and Witten are as good as they get around the league, if Miles and Dez are both consistent.
Now onto the defense – we all know Jerry Jones perused Nnamdi Asomugha. Now personally I was not a huge fan of this move. Yes, he is the best CB in football. But this team has other needs. Terrence Newman and Michael Jenkins need to play to their 2009 forms, no guarantee of course. Safety is the biggest concern. Last night, the Cowboys resigned Gerald Sensabaugh. Its been long expected that Abe Elam, who played for Rob Ryan in Cleveland, would eventually sign here as well. If the Cowboys can get consistent play from their safeties and corners, that is worth a few more wins alone. I think Rob Ryan alone is worth a few wins. Wade Philips was soft. Ryan will not tolerate misplays or mistakes. He will get in Newman’s face until he fixes what he did wrong.
Front seven was a concern at times last year too. Cowboys are still in need of another DE. Marcus Spears resigned to play on one side next to Jay Ratliff. Despite inconsistency and injuries, signing Spears was probably the right move. The one position that is most assuredly set is linebacker. Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the outsides and Bradie James and Keith Brooking on the inside. Inevitably, Brooking will get hurt and Sean Lee will be able to take over, something I am really looking forward to (not that I want Brooking to get hurt, but I am a big Sean Lee fan).
The Cowboys were 11-5 in 2009. 6-10 in 2010. A lot of same players, no drastic changes. Of course injuries played a role a bit last year. But I think coaching was the biggest factor. There was a big difference between Wade Philips’ Cowboys last year vs. Jason Garrett’s Cowboys and it wasn’t just record. Accountability, player’s excitement, work ethics all seemed improved under Garrett. Now Garrett gets training camp and Rob Ryan is aboard as defensive coordinator. I don’t like making predictions. The Cowboys probably won’t be 11-5 but I can say will not be 6-10. I would say somewhere between and competing for playoff spot. This team has a ton of talent. I think this coaching staff will get maximum effort and performance out of the players.