The Dallas Cowboys disastrous 2015 season can be attributed to one thing and one thing only…injuries. It's difficult enough to win games in the NFL when your football team is 100% healthy, but when you're missing several of your key members it's nearly impossible to be a competitive ball team.
That's exactly what happened to the Cowboys and one of the reasons why there are high hopes for the upcoming 2016 season.
Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick are arguably the top players at their respective positions on the Cowboys roster, and all three missed significant time due to injuries last season. Even running back Lance Dunbar was beginning to show what kind of weapon he can be until once again an injury cut his season short.
Fortunately though for the Cowboys, all of these players should be 100% healthy to start the season, with the exception of Lance Dunbar. His recovery time may take a little longer, but at some point he should be able to pick up where he left off once he's 100%.
With a healthy ball team, the Cowboys seem primed to be one of the favorites to make a push for a playoff appearance and I think that there is one thing that will help them get there…ATTITUDE!
If you have been paying attention to any of the news that has came out of these organized team activity practices (OTA's) here recently, there has been one reoccurring theme that has been mentioned from those that have been fortunate enough to watch these particular practices.
Nearly everyone that has been able to observe OTA practices has mentioned that the Cowboys players seemed to be practicing with a renewed energy, and that to me suggests that they are focusing on a change in attitude in preparation for the upcoming season.
An attitude adjustment could possibly be a welcomed addition for a Cowboys football team that has struggled to find that killer instinct probably dating back to when Jason Garrett became head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Don't get me wrong, I think Jason Garrett has done a tremendous job putting this team together and getting them to buy into his coaching philosophy. Garrett however doesn't seem to have that aggressive attitude. It might just not be in his nature, but it's definitely something the Cowboys could use more of.
I personally think that will come from a few players that will be returning from injuries and even a new addition to the roster in 2016.
Is there any denying that wide receiver Dez Bryant brings a much-needed attitude to the offensive side of the ball?
Bryant is the Cowboys emotional and inspirational leader and with him less 100% the majority of the season last year, the Cowboys struggled in the passing game and the entire offense was just ho-hum.
Sometimes people tend to get the wrong impression of #88 because sometimes his emotions can get a little out of control, but I don't think anyone can deny that his attitude towards the game is infectious and that his teammates feed off his presence on the field, whether in practice or on game days.
I personally am looking forward to Dez Bryant and Tony Romo getting back to what they were doing in 2014 when they were both 100% healthy.
Orlando Scandrick joined the Cowboys as a fifth-round draft pick in 2008 and has managed to stick around despite the fact that the Cowboys have added several cornerbacks through the draft and free agency.
Scandrick entered the league with a chip on his shoulder and you can really see that attitude reflect in his game on the field. He likes to get in opposing wide receivers faces and plays with a physicality to back up that attitude.
#32 is a chirpy player and likes to run his mouth. Fortunately, he can back up that trash talk with his play.
I'm personally looking forward to when both Scandrick and Bryant are both back to 100% healthy and are able to face off against each other in practices. I think it makes both players better and everyone else they go up against.
That's right, I believe that rookie running back Zeke Elliott will be able to come in as a first-year player and add a spark of attitude to the Cowboys offense, not to mention boost the running game.
If you put on any tape of Elliott playing at Ohio State, you will notice that he approaches the game the right way and plays with an attitude that the entire team feeds off of.
It's sometimes difficult for rookies to come in and become a leader on the team, but I have no doubt in my mind that Elliott will be that type of player for the Cowboys in 2016 and beyond.
Long time Cowboy Jason Witten has already expressed how impressed he is with Elliott's approach to the game and if he can impress someone of Witten's caliber, it's only a matter of time until the rest of his teammates buy-in.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys will play with a different attitude in 2016?
Please feel free to express your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below so that we can discuss this topic further.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.
Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.
Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.
Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.
Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.
One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.
And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.
No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?
The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.
Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.
No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.
Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.
There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.
The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.
If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.
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