The Cowboys’ very disappointing 2015 season has finally come to an end. After starting out 2-0 and finishing with a 4-12 record, the Cowboys now have the fourth overall draft pick this year. A season that was plagued with so many costly injuries and very disappointing performances that saw the Cowboys go from 12-4 to 4-12. Now it’s time to focus for the 2016 season.
My thoughts on this season
Offense: Going through four different quarterbacks this season proved to be very difficult and very disappointing. Tony Romo not only suffered a broken collarbone once, but twice. Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore just couldn’t get the job done. The Cowboys passing offense racked up a combined 3,500 passing yards combined with a total of only 16 touchdowns, and even went four games without scoring a touchdown. What’s very sad is that the Cowboys offense had more interceptions (22) than touchdown passes. Dez Bryant didn’t have a great season either thanks largely to his foot injuries, which caused him to miss much of the season. Dez finished his short season with a total of 31 catches for just 401 yards, and three touchdowns. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley both finished with a combined 1,376 receiving yards, but only eight touchdowns. Jason Witten finished with a little over 700 receiving yards and scored three times. This will be a great season for Witten in the sense that he now holds the records for most career catches for a Dallas Cowboy(1,013), and most consecutive games played (201).
The running game was not as bad as I thought it would be thanks to the loss of DeMarco Murray, but early in the season, it was a bit of a mess when Joseph Randle was starting before he was benched in favor of Darren McFadden, and eventually released. McFadden ran for a total of 1,089 yards and scored three times. The young Cowboys offensive line had another great year, especially with three of them going to the Pro Bowl. During the draft, they will need to take a QB and RB. Tony Romo is aging and is injury prone, so they need to draft a QB and prepare him for when it’ll be time to take over when Romo hangs up his cleats. Earlier this season, I suggested Connor Cook or Paxton Lynch, but right now, I am also suggesting Jared Goff out of the University of California-Berkley. As far as running back goes, I believe that Derrick Henry will be the best back to get. Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed with Darren McFadden’s performance, but I don’t see him as the future running back for Dallas. They need someone young and with a bright future for the organization.
Defense: This was a very tough year for the Cowboys defense. They forced only ten turnovers this year, allowed nearly 6,000 yards of total offense, and only got 31 sacks. Greg Hardy finished this season with only six sacks, and he did intercept one pass. Sean Lee finished led the defense with 128 tackles, but he did miss a few games with concussion and hamstring injuries. Rookie CB Byron Jones finished with 66 tackles, but was unable to intercept a pass. Rookie DE Randy Gregory missed some time with ankle problems, which also affected his performance when he played, so he was only able to record ten tackles, but he couldn’t record any sacks. Jeff Heath led the defense in interceptions with two. But somehow and someway, the defense managed to keep the Cowboys in the games on numerous occasions, but they couldn’t get support from the offense. Draft needs for defense is Cornerback, Safety, and Linebacker.
Special Teams: Dan Bailey had another great year, going 30-32, which is about 94 percent, and was finally selected to the Pro Bowl. There’s not really much to say about Chris Jones. He punted for over 3,000 yards, with 27 of his punts being inside the 20. He even recovered a fumbled punt. Special Teams didn’t allow any punt returns for touchdowns, but they did allow one kickoff return for a touchdown (against their rematch with the New York Giants), and they only allowed about 550 total kickoff/punt returns. But they struggled returning kickoffs and punts and finished with a total of 710 return yards.
There’s a lot of work to do this off-season. First they need to get all their injured players healthy. Dez Bryant, Barry Church, Sean Lee, Lance Dunbar, Gavin Escobar, Randy Gregory, and everyone else who’s had injuries this season needs to heal up nice and easy to be ready for next season. Not only will they need to make sure everyone is healthy and ready to go, but they will to be serious in this draft and selct players that will help them win. The future is now.