NFL Season Preview: Dallas Cowboys Are Not an 8-8 Team
Tony Romo recently stated that he is not an 8-8 QB, and technically he isn’t (the team’s record is a dozen games over .500 during his time as a starter), but as Bill Parcells famously said, “Ya are what yer record says ya are,” and Dallas has been stuck on 8-8 the past two seasons, despite having some of the best individual talent in the NFL in some areas.
One of the main issues that has plagued Dallas in recent seasons has been the lack of continuity, chemistry and effective communication throughout the team. There appeared to be a fractious nature to the coaching staff, from head coach Jason Garrett, to “offensive coordinator” (?) Bill Callahan, in regards to play-calling. Tony Romo appeared to be taking matters into his own hands at times, which only led to more speculation and confusion late in the 2012 season.
Injuries played a large role in Dallas’ woes in 2012, however, and most of the important contributors have declared themselves healthy and ready to go heading into training camp in July. Most importantly (at least offensively) is the health of Demarco Murray, who has been in and out of the lineup in his two years in Dallas. When healthy, he is a dynamic combination of size, speed and strength, who gives Dallas a noticeable extra gear offensively as a whole. When coupled with Tony Romo, TE Jason Witten , WR Dez Bryant and progressing tackle Tyron Smith, Dallas has the pieces offensively to be good. Their complimentary parts are better than starters on most teams. Why they have failed to put it together can be traced to the initial lead-in of this preview.
The defensive side of the football is where injuries took their toll. The entire starting linebacking corps (other than Anthony Spencer) missed all or parts of numerous games down the stretch of 2012, ranging from Sean Lee – who was lost early in the season – to DeMarcus Ware, Dan Connor, Bruce Carter and others. The secondary was bolstered with the addition of Brandon Carr and the drafting of Morris Claiborne in 2012, but with Gerald Sensabaugh retiring, the Cowboys are going to have to see if Will Allen, Barry Church and Eric Frampton are able to handle the load with Danny McCray. Orlando Scandrick has proven to be a solid slot corner, which really helps Dallas in what they like to do defensively in coverage. Dallas may finally get over the 8-8 hump now with more stability amongst the coaching staff (and a new defensive coordinator: legendary Monte Kiffin).
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