The offseason was not a fun one for most fans of America’s Team as talks of contracts and holdouts dominated the headlines.
All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott’s struggle with the Dallas Cowboys’ front office completely overshadowed the fact that the team was a true contender this year and how special this roster can be.
Well, that changed on Wednesday when Zeke and the Cowboys agreed on a new contract and he returned to practice just in time for the season opener on Sunday against the New York Giants.
Finally, we are back to football and it’s an exciting time for Cowboys fans. This team contrasted is ready to make a statement.
As constructed, it can be argued that it is the most talented team since 2007 and rivals that of the 90’s Dallas teams.
While the starters are elite at most positions, the depth is also surprisingly well and bodes well that this team can contend for the NFC championship. Yet, there are still issues with this team that must be addressed if this team can be a true contender. Here are the Top 3 issues the Cowboys must overcome in 2019.
One of the biggest reasons for the Cowboys’ success in 2018was the emergence of the defense. Up to that point, the defense was an absolute joke and hadn’t been remotely close to good since 2009.
It started to change when the front office drafted better and brought in young talent along with some coaching changes. The defense quickly became one of the best in the league in most categories.
Yet, the one category they failed in was forcing turnovers. In fact, the team is ranked 16th in forced turnovers, which include 9 interceptions. That has to drastically change this season if this team wants to be a true contender going forward.
While all three starting corners for the Cowboys share a total of just two interceptions, both Super Bowl teams had 18 picks each. Luckily, with more talent and depth across the defensive line and another year with Kris Richard running the secondary, there should be a major bump in turnovers in 2019.
Offensive Line Health:
One of the most obvious strengths of the Cowboys’ offense is their offensive line. Since being rolled out in 2014, they became the backbone for the team and much of the success can be attributed to them. It helps that it features three All-Pro players to anchor it.
The problem last season was the health of your All-Pro starters became a season-long issue. It started out with center Travis Frederick missing the season with a rare auto-immune disease known as Guilliable-Barre Syndrome. Then you had both Zack Martin and Tyron Smith both miss games due to injuries.
Entering this season, Frederick is back but has to adjust coming back from a year off. Both Martin and Smith are already dealing with back issues that won’t go away. The depth is better than before at the offensive line position, but to be successful in 2019, the main guys have to be there and try to survive the season. Without a dominant offensive line, this offense starts to crumble.
This has to be the biggest change that needs to happen for this team to take the next step this season. For years now the team has been known to be one of the most conservative offenses in the league.
We’ve written countless stories of how they need to change and become more modern. Finally, they heard the masses and promoted Kellen Moore to be the new offensive coordinator. Almost immediately there were changed and new wrinkles that excited the media members watching practice. Some were stunned to see some pre-snap movement being called at a practice.
It is for sure a great start, but it needs to be more. It can’t just be about the play-calling but also the attitude that must be presented. This has to be an attacking offense, utilizing every weapon it has.
Zeke is a great weapon but can be used more than just a runner. Put Pollard out there with him, and then move Amari put in the slot, the point is to be creative. Outcoach your opponents so they don’t know what’s coming next. The problem though is that you have a head coach that is stuck in the past and very hesitant to change.
He is also on the final year of his deal and will take over if he feels it will get the job done. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to succeed and that could hurt the offense. Let Moore be Moore and utilize your weapons and this could be a dangerous offense in 2019.
This team has a lot of potential, talent and depth to make it a very popular pick to be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Avoiding the top -3 reasons above will make this a much more memorable season.
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