When I was asked to write this, I was a bit concerned. Dallas has tons of offensive weapons and guys who would be deserving of this list. However, my list got a little easier to produce, when I found out Laurent Robinson is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. He would have thrown a wrench in the entire situation. It still isn’t easy, but here are my top five players on the Cowboys’ offense. Let’s take a look at the top 5 Dallas Cowboys players and see how they can affect, according to SBRForum.com, their 2012 NFL odds.
5. Jason Witten
I know it’s probably a crime that I have Witten this low. The guy is a 7-time pro bowler, and a two-time First-team all pro. The guy has averaged 1014 yards per season over the last five seasons, and in those five seasons, he has 27 touchdowns.
Last season, Witten saw a huge dip in production. He went from 94 receptions in 2010, to only 79 receptions in 2011. He had nine touchdowns in 2010, but only five in 2011. Witten is now 30 years old, and might be seeing a dip in production after playing nine seasons.
However, he still is a very important, and almost critical member of the Dallas offense. When it’s 3rd and 7, and you need a first down to keep a drive alive, you go to Jason Witten. The guy is still 6’6 and 265 pounds.
4. Tony Romo
For all of you Romo haters out there, all I have to say is why? Why do you not like this guy so much? Are you really still holding onto that fumbled hold in the 2007 playoffs? They weren’t going to beat either the Bears or Colts that season even if they made it that far. Are you so quick to forget that Romo is the only reason you made the playoffs that season!
Ok, I’m sorry, but Romo should be higher on this list, but he settles into the 4th spot for one reason, the lack of playoff wins. If he had a Super Bowl and a better playoff record, he would be in the top three. Although no one in the top three of this list has those things, Romo is held to a higher standard because he is the quarterback.
Romo is a three-time pro bowler, and throughout his career, has put up stellar numbers. Last season, Romo had his third 4000 + passing yard season of his career. Oh, and he only tacked on 31 touchdowns to that number. Only in that 2007 season did he have more, when he had 36 touchdowns. Sufficed to say, if Romo gets the Boys to a Super Bowl this season, he will shoot up the next list.
3. Miles Austin
Much like Romo’s lack of playoff success is keeping him from the top three, Austin’s health problems have kept him out of the top two. Austin was hurt for most of last season, and he got rushed back from injury and got hurt again. He only played in ten games last season, and was only effective in five of them.
However, this season, if he is healthy, Austin should be ready to prove why he is still one of the best receivers in the game. In 2009 and 2010, Austin had 18 touchdowns and 2361 yards combined. He also played in all 16 games both seasons. If that hamstring is ready, Austin will be ready for another 1000-yard season.
2. Dez Bryant
I’ll give you another minute to harp on me for having Bryant this high. But, let’s be honest, he is the best athlete on the Cowboys, and possibly in the league. This guys runs a 4.52 40-yard dash, and has a 40-inch vertical leap.
Last season was a disappointment for Bryant. He is as much of a liability as he is a producer, and last season he was the former. He did have 928 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and I could make the case that he could have done a lot more than that.
For the Cowboys, if Bryant doesn’t make a big splash this season, his days in Dallas might be numbered. This is a first round draft pick, and even though he showed improvement in his second season, he will need to keep making strides on the field, and make strides to improve his behavior and conduct off of it. He is an all or nothing player, but he still has the second-highest upside of any of the Cowboys. He needs to be the undisputed number-one option for Tony Romo. However, he is only 23 years old.
1. DeMarco Murray
Speaking of upside, this kid gets my number one spot for just that reason. Murray exploded upon the NFL scene this past season. As a rookie, Murray ran for 897 yards and had two touchdowns. However, he only played in 13 games due to injury, and only started eight games. So, basically, if you multiply those numbers to account for a whole season of starting and taking snaps, Murray would have had well over 1600 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving.
Now, am I saying he will go for 2000 all-purpose yards this season? This is probably not the case. However, this kid is dynamic and will be great in the Cowboys’ offense for a full season. Murray did fall back down to earth after his 253 yard starting debut against the Rams, but he still averaged 91 yards per game as a starter, even without that monster of a game.
I’m predicting a 1800-yard all-purpose season for Murray. Even though I don’t think his touchdowns will be plentiful, he still has breakaway speed, so that will account for at least four or five end zone dances for the sophomore. As long as his knee is heeled, which it seems to be.