By Will Button
The Dallas Cowboys have certainly been an average team in the past few seasons. Their 8-8 record hasn’t changed since 2010, and they haven’t seen the playoffs since their 2009 season. While many regard the Cowboys as an up-and-coming team, some feel that their roster must change dramatically for them to have a good shot at the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season. Last season, Dallas scored an average of 27.4 points a game, but also allowed 432 points overall, which ranked 26th out of 32 teams in the NFL. Tony Romo has put up some fantastic numbers, but the defensive side of the Cowboys undoubtedly needs work. Luckily the off-season brought some decent changes to their defense, where Dallas will be looking for players to step up their game. bet365 lists the Cowboys in the middle of the pack at 35/1 to win the Superbowl this year.
Head coach Jason Garrett knows his defense needed work. With such a strong offense, the team had to face the decision in the off-season as to whether or not they should focus on defense or not. Luckily for them, they acquired just the right players as some left. One of their key losses was defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who is now on the Washington Redskins. Hatcher had an absolutely tremendous season with Dallas in the 2013-2014 season, where he shattered his previous record with 11 sacks. He also broke his personal record of tackles with 34. While many are worried that Dallas lost one of their best defensive players, some find acquisitions like defensive tackle Henry Melton will help fill the gap. While Melton is currently recovering from a groin injury, his numbers from past performances with the Chicago Bears certainly speak for themselves. With 31 tackles and 6 sacks in 2012, Melton proved he is a valuable asset on the defense end to any team. Given some rest and extra time to recover, many assume Melton will pick up right where he left off.
One major acquisition that have fans excited is the addition of Zack Martin, offensive tackle. Many are curious as to how Martin might make his transition from offensive tackle to guard, since he never played that position in his college career. Regardless, Jason Garrett and his offensive coaching staff will definitely be putting Martin to work, hoping to educate him in his new position and transition into the team as a valuable player. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is also a fantastic addition to the team, though he has been placed on the injured reserve list for the time being. In 2013, Lawrence posted 10.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles with Boise State. Many assume Lawrence’s skills will translate well in the NFL, though some are skeptical with his current injury as to when he will actually get field time. The Dallas Cowboys were also unfortunate to have defensive end DeMarcus Ware depart, especially considering the monster numbers he has posted in Dallas over the last nine years. The 2013-2014 season wasn’t as kind to Ware, so some might assume his loss came at the right time.
While the NFC East has some close contenders, the Dallas Cowboys have a lot going for them this season. Their division has seen a lot of changes in the off-season, and while Dallas hasn’t made too many moves, the few they made were extremely important to the well-being of their defensive and offensive skills. Contending with the Giants and Eagles for playoff spots, the Cowboys will surely be looking to improve on their performance in the 2014-2015 season.