In 2017, the defense was problematic for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2018, it is the offense. A lot of things changed in the offseason for the team from Texas and in case you haven’t noticed, we don’t have high expectations from the group that is going to attack the opponents in the upcoming season.
Already a bunch of people from all sides, whether they are Cowboys fans or not, are forecasting a horrible year. I would be the first one to stand against such predictions, but this time, these predictions could come true.
Dallas has been an offensive team ever since 2006 and offense was something they always invested in. The reason we mention 2006 is that it was the year Tony Romo took over the steering wheel and became the starting quarterback. By his side, he had then-young Jason Witten at a tight end and Terrell Owens who was in his prime ready to catch any ball Romo would throw. After Owens, there was Miles Austin briefly who eventually gave way to Dez Bryant. And with all those pieces, the Cowboys improved their offensive line by adding Tyron Smith, Zach Martin, and Travis Frederick, who were all selected through the draft and became elite players in the upcoming years.
And ever since 2006, this franchise was in the top ten in scoring or total yards and more often than not, they dominated in both categories. However, the upcoming year is going to be odd for the organization as well as the fans. The offense is going to look far different from what we are used to seeing.
Luckily, the three All-Pro linemen have stayed with the team. The running game shouldn’t be the problem because Ezekiel Elliott is still going to be in the backfield. Young and talented Dak Prescott will once again lead the Cowboys squad, and hopefully, he has made some improvements after the sophomore slump last year.
According to ESPN, however, neither Prescott nor Elliott are good for their “All under-25” team. Elliott is 23 and had two fantastic seasons behind him as a pro, while Prescott is 25 and they have been both overlooked. ESPN also ranked the best running back, receiver, and tight end combinations and the team they put to the very bottom was the Dallas Cowboys. Witten is no longer here, but America’s Team have a talented replacement whereas Dez Bryant is also gone. We will have to wait for the new pieces to develop and blend in and while Dallas is expected to struggle offensively, they have something that can save the seasons, and that is their defense.
No matter which part of the defense you look at, you will either find big names or rising stars. Demarcus Lawrence proved his value last year with 14.5 sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance, and he will be looking to increase these numbers even more. In addition, there are David Irving and Maliek Collies and I can see Randy Gregory added to the mix. These three players could make the opposing quarterback feel as if in hell.
The defensive unit will be led by Sean Lee, who will be backed by Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Hopefully, Lee will stay healthy in 2018 and this trio will be a dangerous linebacker group, wreaking havoc on the field.
Last but not least, the secondary should be improved significantly. Last year, the Cowboys had four rookies with major playing time, but now they have gained experience. Plus, there will be specific changes in the playbook because the new defensive coordinator Kris Richard has arrived in the city.
Rarely has the defense been a forte for the Cowboys, but this is something we will witness in 2018.