The 2019 season is finally upon us, and with it comes sky-high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas’ front office spent much of the offseason talking about “taking the next step” following yet another Division Round playoff loss in 2018. Whether or not the Cowboys are ready to take that Super Bowl step is yet to be seen, but there’s no denying how stacked with talent this roster is.
From player 1-53 the Cowboys are deep, and should be in contention for the NFC title this season if all goes according to plan.
Let’s discuss what the best, and worst case scenarios look like for 2019’s Dallas Cowboys.
How It Can Go Right
Simply put, the Dallas Cowboys play to their talent level and compete for an NFC crown.
On offense the hiring of Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator infuses new concepts and innovation into what was a stagnant unit in 2018. A unit that rarely used play action, diversity of formations, and pre-snap motion under Scott Linehan now deploys all of the above to create advantages for their talented offense in 2019.
Not only does Kellen Moore make things easier on Dak Prescott, but Prescott’s own development as a passer continues this season. Now stacked with an impressive group of weapons Prescott has his best season since 2016, and makes those who question his upcoming contract eat their words.
Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott do what they do, the offensive line regains previous form due to Travis Frederick’s return and Connor Williams’ progression, and Michael Gallup breaks out as a legit number two receiver.
In 2018 the Cowboys defense went from an average unit to one of the best in the league, and they take yet another step forward this season. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith play to their immense talent level, DeMarcus Lawrence continues to be the dominant edge rusher he’s been the last two seasons, and Robert Quinn brings some extra pass rush juice coming off suspension.
In the back-end, another year under Kris Richard’s coaching turns Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods into the players we’ve seen them be in spurts throughout their young careers. Byron Jones continues his stellar play as one of the league’s best corners, and this whole unit plays as they should: like one of the best defenses in football.
How It Can Go Wrong
Cowboys fans, cover your eyes.
Regardless of how talented this roster is on paper, there are of course potential downfalls for the 2019 Cowboys.
On offense these pitfalls are clear. Instead of innovating the offensive scheme, Kellen Moore is forced to take a backseat in the meeting room. Jason Garrett and company insist on being who they’ve been in previous years, and the Cowboys continue to pound their heads against stacked boxes and prepared defenses.
Dak Prescott does not take the steps forward he needs to convince the doubters. Instead, he continues to hold the ball too long at times, take unnecessary sacks, and fail to create plays down the field. Dallas doesn’t use Prescott’s legs to their advantage, and this entire offense plays like an average unit once again.
How does this thing go wrong defensively? Regression.
Playing defense in the NFL is really hard, and rarely do teams find themselves playing at a top-notch level in consecutive years. Instead of finding improvements from Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie, the Cowboys’ young secondary stays about level. Then, regression in their front seven’s production occurs and the Cowboys defense falls back towards the rest of the pack.
I haven’t felt this good about a Cowboys roster in a long time. Dallas is deep on both sides of the ball, and is super talented at the games’ most vital positions.
Despite their difficult schedule and regression candidacy, I think the Cowboys will win 10 games in 2019 and find themselves in the playoffs come January.
And, once you’re in, all you need is a couple of bounces to go your way to earn that Lombardi Trophy.