The Dallas Cowboys aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but the odds of the Cowboys making the playoffs are now extremely thin, if in fact existent at all. It’s been a long season for Dallas. Paired with the injuries to Tony Romo, the banged-up Dez Bryant, the Greg Hardy fiasco, and even questionable coaching, Cowboys fans may be happy that this season of false hope is coming to an end. With that said, let’s take a look at some bright spots from this past season.
1) Rookies Emerging
Let’s start off with Mr. First Round. UConn’s Byron Jones has been nothing less than spectacular this season. He’s shut down the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, and he’s also shown just how effective he can be in the future at the free safety position.
An injury derailed Randy Gregory’s start to the 2015 season, but Week 1 and the past few weeks have shown just how good the new No. 94 can be. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gregory opened as the starter in Week 1 next season.
We will see over the course of the next year whether Damien Wilson and Chaz Green can turn into impact players. I wasn’t a big fan of either one, but Wilson is insurance in case of a Sean Lee injury or if Rolando McClain leaves in free agency. We will also likely see more of Green next year as the Cowboys start parallel processing, by using less of Doug Free and more of Green.
2) Darren McFadden
When DeMarco Murray left for the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, the Cowboys lessened the blow by signing Darren McFadden. It was a move that was laughable at the time, but McFadden has looked extremely good at times in the 2015 season. On a two-year deal, I expect the Cowboys to draft a running back, but I also don’t expect them to use a high draft pick on one of them.
3) La’el Collins
Unfortunately, because of the ineptitude of Matt Cassel, Cowboys fans haven’t really noticed how the offensive line is playing. Defenses are adding more players in the box because they know Cassel can’t even get it out to his receivers who are being single-covered. Caught the middle is La’el Collins, the Cowboys’ undrafted free agent prize who has truly been sensational in 2015. It’s amazing how the LSU product is only going to get better.
4) Combination of Sean Lee and Rolando McClain
It will be interesting to see whether or not the Cowboys bring back Rolando McClain. My guess is that they will and if they do, they will have an extremely strong linebacker duo with McClain and Sean Lee. By having both of them healthy, Lee has been able to make the transition to weakside linebacker with ease. If both can stay healthy, this duo will be a fun one to watch over the next couple of seasons.
5) Dan Bailey Doing Dan Bailey Things
Because Dallas’ offense stinks, again the main reason being Cassel’s ineptitude, it seems that the Cowboys have forgotten about their kicker. Before the arrival of Bailey, the Cowboys had to rely on the likes of an overpaid Mike Vanderjagt, David Bueller, and even Martin Gramatica. Bailey has missed one field goal on the year, that one coming on an extremely windy day in Tampa Bay. Bailey is an absolute stud and the money the Cowboys gave him this past offseason was well worth-it.