Friday, August 17, 2012

32 in 32: Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys
Read the introduction here
Read the Cardinals preview here
Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow

2011 Record: 8-8

Key Acquisitions: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Dan Connor, Kyle Orton, Brodney Pool
Key Departures: Alan Ball, Martellus Bennett, Derrick Dockery, Abram Elam, Bradie James, Kyle Kosier, Terrence Newman, Laurent Robinson

I've always been a notorious Romo defender. He is an elite quarterback in a difficult division and conference. His team doesn't help him out much either. I originally thought that they could make a run to the postseason, but looking around at the NFC, that's not going to happen. Romo is still great, but there are a lot of questions to be answered about this team, especially on offense. I do like that they finally took care of the glaring issues in the secondary.

Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. I currently have him as the 7th best, which is good considering that Rodgers, Brady, Brees, and both Mannings are all on pace for the Hall of Fame. I'm not saying that Romo will ever get to that level (unless the man starts to win in the playoffs), but he's not as terrible as people keep saying.

Demarco Murray came out of nowhere last season to become one of the best rookie running backs in the league. I don't see him as an elite rusher, but he's at least decent. With him being the only reliable back on the roster, that doesn't make for a very potent attack. Felix Jones has injury troubles, and he's very inconsistent. This is not going to be a good season for the rushing offense.

Miles Austin is good, but he really needs to stay on the field. If he is hurt again, this group of receivers will become a gigantic joke. Dez Bryant is athletically impressive, but I'm still waiting for him to put it all together and become as good as he is capable of being. He's a great talent, but his off the field troubles coupled with his problems with learning the offense, I don't know what to expect from him. Kevin Ogletree is the third receiver. Yeah. That's why if Austin is hurt, there's no hope.

Jason Witten's spleen is going to keep him out for a while, and that's a major issue. Romo's security blanket is hurt, and the backup tight ends are not even close to the talent of Witten.

The offensive line is having some issues now. Doug Free and Tyron Smith switched positions, and both are currently struggling to adapt to their new roles. I'm not liking what I am seeing from the whole line so far. In the first preseason game, Romo was under pressure on nearly every snap. That was just horrific.

Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears are both fine defensive ends. Neither of them are anything special. Jay Ratliff has always been a rock in the middle of this defensive line. He has been a Pro Bowler each of the past four years. Everyone knows about the best pass rusher in the NFL, Demarcus Ware, and what he does for this team. On the other side of him, Anthony Spencer is pretty good too. On the inside, Sean Lee is one of the most underrated linebackers in the game. His breakout year last year went unnoticed by a lot of people, but he was great. Dallas also looks for some improvement from Bruce Carter this year.

Brandon Carr is a big improvement over Terrence Newman, and a great addition to this team. I am in love with the draft pick of Morris Claiborne, it was such a good move to trade up for him (a rare good move by Good Ole Jerry). Mike Jenkins is also a very good corner, and I wonder who is the one that will be used as the third option out of these three. There's also Orlando Scandrick who is pretty good himself. When it comes to the safeties, Gerald Sensabaugh is the best one on the team. I do expect a few packages with 3 corners and Sensabaugh all on the field.

Special Teams
Dan Bailey must have angered a coach in a past life. He was effectively iced on crucial field goals late in the season last year, once by his own coach, Jason Garrett and once by Tom Coughlin. Mat McBriar is gone, and Chris Jones has to take over the full-time punting job. He wasn't terrible last year. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is probably going to be running back kicks, and that's fine with me since he's a fellow Ghanaian.

8-8, 3rd in NFC East

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