The 2020 Dallas Cowboys were supposed to win the NFC East and make their first playoff appearance since 2018, at least on paper. However, games have to be played on the field, and what could've gone wrong did go wrong for the Cowboys. Injuries ravished the roster, and they never recovered and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
One of the few bright spots this season was the play of rookie CeeDee Lamb who broke the Cowboys rookie record for receptions and became the first wide receiver in league history to catch at least five passes in his first six games. On Wednesday, Lamb was asked about the expectations for the Cowboys in 2021, and he doesn't see a repeat of this season.
“Definitely won't see 6-10,” Lamb said on NFL Network's Good Morning Football.“We obviously felt like we let ourselves short, if you will. We had as much excitement about last season just as well as y'all did just going into the season and the way it went down. You hate to see it, but it's all part of it, and we know that.
“The NFL is a tough game. A lot of guys want to be great. A lot of guys want to stay healthy but obviously, that's not the case. And for us as a team, we kind of took a blow on the injury bug, if you will. But going into next season we're looking forward to better preparation and staying healthy.”
Injuries wrecked the offensive side of the ball immensely. Tight End Blake Jarwin was lost in the season opener with a torn ACL. Dak Prescott went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. The offensive line was without La'el Collins for the entire season, Tyron Smith missed 14 games, and Zack Martin missed six games.
Defensively, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows either. Sean Lee (7) and Leighton Vander Esch (6) both missed significant time at the linebacker spot. The cornerback position took a hit with Chidobe Awuzie missing half the season, Anthony Brown on the sidelines for six games, and rookie Trevon Diggs missing four games. Also, second-year Safety Donovan Wilson was out for two games as well.
That's a lot for any team to handle regardless of the remaining personnel or who is on the coaching staff. The Cowboys will also need upgrades on the roster to make the postseason for the first time in three years. With so many injuries on the offensive line, the Cowboys should explore bringing in reinforcements via the NFL draft. There's a need for an anchor at defensive tackle, a linebacker (or multiple) for insurance, and the secondary will need more bodies with several players headed for free agency.
The Cowboys have a lot to sort out before next season, but if they're healthy as Lamb mentioned, there's little doubt that they can reach the playoffs in a not so great division like the NFC East.