The Dallas Cowboys finished the 2016 season with a 13-3 record and earned the top seed in the NFC. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it past the NFC divisional round. They fell to the Green Bay Packers in the second round.
Looking forward, Dallas may not finish with 13 wins again. They could still get to ten wins and are the second favorite to win the Super Bowl in 2018. Still, there’s always room for improvement.
Dallas Cowboys 2017 Off-Season: Top Three Needs
1. Get a Decent Backup Quarterback
Tony Romo is on his way out the door. The Cowboys are expected to release the veteran who led the team for the last nine years. Dak Prescott has earned the starting job and Romo is injured too often. It’s the right move by Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys will need to look in either free agency or the draft for a backup that could lead the team to the playoffs should anything happen to Prescott. *knock on wood*
Two quarterbacks that compare to Prescott as far as playing style are Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Watson is considered the top quarterback in the draft and the Cowboys have the 28th pick. It’s unlikely that Watson lands in Big D.
Mahomes, however, is considered a first or early second round quarterback. That could have him around the 28th pick and maybe Dallas could consider drafting him on day one.
2. Spice Up the Defense
Dallas has not finished better than 14th in total defense since 2010. That won’t be good enough to prove the “myth” that has been proven over the last four seasons – defense wins championships.
Last season, Dallas’ defense did well in stopping the run (83.5 YPG, first in the NFL). When it came to the passing game, however, they were near the bottom of the league (26th), allowing 260.4 passing yards per game.
They will need to find some secondary studs to improve the passing defense. There are many free agents that would be a perfect fit for the team.
One of them could be Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore recorded five interceptions last season with the Buffalo Bills in 2016. That’s more than half than the Cowboys recorded as a team last season (nine).
3. Re-Establish Offensive Line Depth
The Cowboys have had the best offensive line in the NFL over the last three years. With this amazing line, three Cowboys running backs have rushed for over 1,000 yards.
Demarco Murray rushed for 1,845 yards in 2014. Darren McFadden finished with 1,089 yards in 2015. Ezekiel Elliot had 1,631 yards last season. Those performances don’t come by luck. A lot of credit goes to the offensive line.
Now, it looks as if the line is deteriorating. Ronald Leary is ready to leave the team, according to reports. If he is to leave, that would be a big loss for the offensive line. They would need to find someone to replace him, and fast if they want to keep their running game one of the best.