The Dallas Cowboys aren't exactly out of the playoff race just yet. However, the belief of it being real is truly all but gone without the likes of Tony Romo. In the third quarter, Romo was sacked by Thomas Davis and he rolled on the same shoulder he rolled on in Week 2. Romo re-injured his clavicle and is now out for the year.
Going into the season, the Cowboys were a team that was destined to do great things. Sure they didnt have a bell-cow back like DeMarco Murray, but the offensive line improved and pieces were brought in on defense that would make the unit much, much improved.
And despite the Cowboys' 3-8 record, all things have fallen into place for the Cowboys. The offensive line has been good for the majority of the year, Darren McFadden has emerged as a quality running back, Byron Jones has turned into a stud, the combination of Sean Lee and Rolando McClain has been astounding, and the defensive line has progressed. However, the Cowboys have lacked quality quarterback play outside of their Week 1 victory against the New York Giants.
With Romo out for the year, the Cowboys need to start thinking about the future. How can this team improve? What needs to be the emphasis? What moves need to be made for this team to compete in 2016 and in the future? These are all questions that will need to be answered over the offseason.
Romo now has had four major injuries. The herniated disc being one, and the three others being the left clavicle. With that being said, it's time for the Cowboys to look to the draft to find their quarterback of the future. Dallas needs to develop their successor at the quarterback position. Unfortunately, supply doesn't necessarily meet demand in this draft, as there aren't many quarterbacks that are surefire studs.
Next on the list comes at the wide receiver position. Dez Bryant receives too much attention from opposing secondaries. The Cowboys need a receiver that has the ability to take the top off the defense, something similar to a Martavis Bryant, someone I advocated for a few years back. Terrance Williams can't do this. Williams is a body-catcher and the need is there for the Cowboys to improve at the position.
It never hurts to add more pressure. It's yet to be seen what the Cowboys will do with Greg Hardy. They've said time and time again that they'd like to re-sign him, but a lot goes into this equation. Hardy has been a huge headache since he's joined the team and committing to a long-term deal with the player could mean some problems.
Demarcus Lawrence hasn't had as good of a season as I'd like, but he's still a guy that has a ton of potential to be a real good player here for a long time. Randy Gregory is another guy that has shown promise, he just needs time to develop. Tyrone Crawford is a special player in the middle of the defensive line, but he needs help. The Cowboys need to find someone that is simply a bigger force than Nick Hayden.
The Cowboys will have a big decision with Morris Claiborne. The fourth-year veteran has looked good in 2015, but he was horrible for his first three seasons in Dallas. Do the Cowboys want to pay him long-term money? Byron Jones has been impressive, but the goal is to move Jones long-term to free safety. If that's the case, as well as the likely release of Brandon Carr, the Cowboys will be in the market for a cornerback.
The key to sustaining a winning franchise in today's NFL is by drafting players who can make an impact on your team. The Cowboys have a ton of pieces in place, but for them to turn into that team they believe they can be, they need to continue to win in the draft and make the right personnel decisions.
Fortunately, the Cowboys have a realistic shot of winning the Super Bowl next season. However, this team will live and die by their quarterback, as we've seen in 2015. If he is playing, this Cowboys team will be a real tough one to beat.