Six games left, Six Observations
The Dallas Cowboys are tied for first in their division, with a 7-3 record. They managed to win in the bye week, with all the teams in the NFC East taking a loss last week. As the Cowboys make their way down this six stretch, that will make or break their season, I wanted to focus on six observations that I feel have defined the Cowboys’ season to this point:
– Thanks Mickey
Earlier this week, Mickey Spagnolo (@Spags52), from dallascowboys.com, made some key observations on the 2014 Dallas Cowboys team, and why they shouldn’t be compared to some of the disappointing teams of Cowboys past. Here are a few of the key points:
– 38 players from current 53-man roster wan not on team in 2011.
– 19 players are on current roster that wasn’t last year.
– 23 different defensive lineman were utilized in the 2013 season. (12 in 2014)
Add in a revamped offensive line, new coaching staff, and you have the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. I completely doubted that the team would be able to put it together this soon, but they have, and you have no choice, but to enjoy the ride. Makes you wonder how dangerous this team would be, if they could have put together one good draft from 2007 to 2010. Crazy.
– Dez Bryant’s contract is just scratching the surface
2015 is going to be a free agency party for the Cowboys. Many faces will change, and some will stay. You have guys like running back DeMarco Murray, and defensive lineman Henry Melton, who are in a contract year. Both are playing at an amazing level, and both may not be on the team next year. The list is long, but don’t worry, the Cowboys have Will McClay, an NFL Draft superhero.
– The water is still running
The saying goes, “Pressure busts pipes.”
Lets just say that the Cowboys have not been able to shut the water off on the defensive line this season. The Cowboys defense is currently ranked 28th in the league, with just 16 sacks on the season. The team also have 10 interceptions, if that can serve as a barometer of how lackluster the pass rush has been in 2014 for the Cowboys. Melton has more than a third of the sacks for the entire team, and he is not an every down player. There has been a total of 1.5 sacks to come from the left side of the line between Anthony Spencer, George Selvie, and Tyrone Crawford. Something has to change; These guys are due.
– Romo being Romo
Quarterback Tony Romo has had a great season so far, but this this is nothing outside of normal for Romo. At the current moment, Romo is second in quarterback rating (107.2), ninth in touchdowns (18), eighth in yards per completion (12.1), and first in game winning drives (3), just to name a few. Since Romo’s three interception game in Week One, Romo has thrown just three interceptions since. Romo is in the top tier of NFL quarterbacks, and continues to prove it every season.
– Young Guns
The next 10 days will be pivotal for the Cowboys, as the team will play three divisional games in this time frame. This will be the quickest games played turnaround for the Cowboys since the 2007season. Some have questioned the NFL’s decision to force three opponents in such a short time frame. If any team could handle this turnaround, it would be this team. At an average age right under 25 years-old, the 2014 Cowboys team is one of the youngest teams in the NFL. They should be able to handle it.
– Slow Starts
In each of the Cowboys three losses, the team has posted a goose egg at some point in the first half of each game. Versus the 49ers, the Cowboys scored a total of three points in the first half, scoring no points in the second quarter. Versus the Redskins, the Cowboys managed to put up seven points in the first half, with no points scored in the first quarter, and totaled 10 points in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, with a goose egg in the second quarter. Momentum is going to go a long way for the Cowboys, and it is going to start in the first half.