Every week, two days after each Dallas Cowboys game, I write “Takeaway Tuesday” here at Inside The Star. Since most games are played on Sundays, the “Tuesday” bit is usually true. However, as every year, Dallas played on Thursday while we celebrated Thanksgiving. That's why you're reading this on a Saturday.
But that isn't the only reason why this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday is different. Normally I point out around five takeaways regarding specific players or positions. This time though, I thought of sharing some general takeaways about the Cowboys as a team in a moment in which I know most fans are feeling down and want to talk about it.
Cowboys Are Done for the Season
No, not mathematically. But even as a very optimistic fan, it's only fair to assume that this football team isn't making the playoffs this year. Forget for a second that Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott are a big reason why this team is 5-6. Even if they are.
The truth is, this isn't a good football team. It does have a lot of future and a lot of talent in the form of young players. Even still, there're a lot of things to work on and a lot of talent to add in different positions.
Even with Tyron Smith back, we don't know when Sean Lee will return, and with Elliott out for another three weeks, I'm not buying into the idea of this team running the table. Hell, I'd be surprised if they get to nine wins, if I'm being honest.
Underestimating Problems Has Been Killing This Team
Throughout the season, a lot of problems popped up for this Dallas Cowboys football team. And it seems that a lot of these issues were underestimated by the staff and the front office.
First of all, let's take a look at linebacker. Recently, I wrote about how linebacker should be one of the Cowboys' top needs next offseason even with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith on the roster. Being to hopeful about Smith for instance, probably kept the Cowboys away from drafting another LB earlier this year.
The lack of depth at the position is a big reason why this team has under-performed without Lee on the field.
Same for the RB position. Before Ezekiel Elliott was suspended, we all thought more or less the same thing: “Good thing we have such a solid running back committee.”
Well, although Rod Smith is still a promising player for all of Cowboys Nation, the Cowboys haven't been able to be efficient at the running game in three games without Elliott. Remember, it's not all about stats, (Alfred Morris ran for more than 90 yards versus the Eagles).
With Zeke, opposing defenses fear this rushing attack. But why would you fear a guy like Morris on third down and one yard to go?
This Team is Full of Needs
A team that was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender this season, is really a team that has a whole damn lot of needs. Usually, we talk about how many defensive help the Cowboys need. But this year, it's not only about finding the next premium pass rusher or the next shut-down corner.
With an offense that's losing its identity week after week, Dallas really needs to be in the WR market. And I mean in the top rounds. This WR group isn't the threat we all thought it'd be.
Even though it has improved since Jonathan Cooper was plugged in, this offensive line isn't what it was in 2016. The Cowboys are missing Ronald Leary more than we had imagined, and I wouldn't be surprised if they look for an OG at some point in next year's draft.
That is without mentioning all of the defensive positions they need to attend. Even with a lot of promising players, the Cowboys need to keep looking for guys who can make an instant impact for a defense that can barely keep up when they lose Sean Lee.
I'm convinced we'll see changes in the coaching staff before next season, although I'm not sure if will be at every level, just the coordinators or just the head coach. We've come to a point where we're all convinced it is necessary for the future success of this Cowboys team.
Hope Dies Last
Even with a 5-6 record, I'm sure every die-hard Cowboys fan will keep watching. At the end of it all, we live in a very competitive league and everything is possible. We've seen lots of teams run the table in the NFL in order to save their season, and while I think it is highly unlikely, I'll be there next Thursday to root for the Star. And so should you.
Win, lose or tie… I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan for life.