It’s pretty easy to be down on the Dallas Cowboys these days. After finishing the 2019 season 8-8 after a 5-8 run over their final 13 games and missing the playoffs, the season could be described as a disappointment to those inside The Star as well as those on the outside looking in.
Not only did week 17 mark the end of the season for the Cowboys, it was the end of an era for Jason Garrett who was an offensive coordinator and head coach for the Cowboys for 13 seasons. 2019’s season will tell the story of a team who failed to live up to expectations yet again under Garrett’s watchful eye.
However, as the Cowboys turn the page on this decade and into a new era of Dallas Cowboys football, their newest head coach, Mike McCarthy, will have a lot to work with moving forward. Is this a perfect team? No. But it is a team with a lot of promise.
The offense was one of the best in the NFL despite inconsistencies that were part of the reason this team went 8-8. 8-0 in games where they scored 30 or more points and 0-8 in games where they scored less than 30 points. The offense had several games of at least 40 points, but also had a couple games where they scored just nine points.
It was a roller coaster ride of productivity that resembled Judge Roy Scream.
Even after an up and down season, looking toward 2020, the offense still has a ton of top tier talent.
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, though scheduled to be free agents, will be back leading the passing attack. Prescott finished second in the NFL in passing yards, was top five in QBR, and set a career high in touchdown passes with 30. It was a breakout, money-making type season for Dak who kept his team close in most games despite some slow starts throughout the season. Cooper dealt with injuries for most of the 2019 season, but that didn’t stop him from having more than 1,100 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, while averaging more than 15 yards per reception.
Michael Gallup broke out with an 1,100 yard season in just 14 games as he dealt with a knee injury for much of the season. Gallup showed he has the ability to be an excellent starting wide receiver opposite of Cooper.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for more than 1,300 yards and had 12 touchdowns in a season. That in a season where he missed training camp and the Cowboys were attempting to employ some new offensive principles. and four of the five starters along the offensive line are locked up through the 2023 season. That continuity in the run game will be huge if they’re able to maintain relatively good health.
Then you talk about young and promising players like Tony Pollard and Blake Jarwin who could be used in the offense more. Mike McCarthy has a lot of success deploying similar running backs to Tony Pollard such as Ty Montgomery so plan on seeing more of Pollard in 2020. The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of firepower on offense.
If McCarthy’s able to convince Randall Cobb into staying, it gives him one more piece to work with in designing the Dallas Cowboys’ offense. Even if Cobb doesn’t return, the Cowboys will figure out a way to replace his production either through the draft or in free agency.
One reason to be excited about the addition of Mike McCarthy is what it means for Dak Prescott. McCarthy comes over with a reputation of fine-tuning quarterbacks and helping them develop into better passers. Prescott’s game went to the next level in 2019, but there were a lot of plays left on the field and there are areas where he can improve.
The new regime will need to figure out how to maximize the offense’s efficiency throughout games and get them off to quicker starts. Because that was their biggest issue. They didn’t turn the ball over much and Dak Prescott didn’t take many sacks. If they can get more consistent play early in games and their not having to play catch-up from the second and third quarter on.
Looking ahead to 2020, Mike McCarthy has to be licking his chops with the amount of talent they have on the offensive side of the football. An excellent offensive line, one of the three best running backs in the NFL, a Pro Bowl wide receiver and an up and comer, an ascending quarterback, and some young offensive talent ready to be unveiled.