I’ve been promising a close friend I would write about the Cowboys for a long time now. I just didn’t know what I would write. But all along the answer was right in front of me. I totally understand why folks don’t like the Cowboys. Two playoff wins since their last Super Bowl in 1996. They are always on television. And it seems like Jerry Jones never shuts the fuck up. I mean seriously.
But none of that should stop you from accepting the fact that what Dallas did this year was extremely special.
Defensively, Dallas isn’t remotely special. No major names outside of Sean Lee (unless you want to count Orlando Scandrick. But I don’t think he’s known just for football. He’s solid though), yet the Dallas Cowboys have the fourth rank scoring defense they allow just 18.6 ppg). Sure, the pass defense is terrible (27th in yards, 16th in touchdowns and 25th in interceptions) but that rushing defense is outstanding (1st in yards and 2nd in touchdowns). Just wanted to give them their credit but we all know the reason Dallas has won 13 games and it’s because of that offense.
It’s almost January 1st, yet I still don’t understand how anyone ever thought the Zeke Elliott pick was a bad one. You guys let the fucking Browns drafting Trent Richardson make you think that taking a RB that high was stupid. There were people out there who felt that it made more sense to go after a RB in the later rounds rather than draft one high because guys like CJ Anderson were making noise and they weren’t drafted high at all.
This pick made sense from the moment Zeke declared he was going into the draft. We saw the type of damage Dallas did in 2014 when they finally decided to center the offense around Demarco Murray. Zeke has lived up to the hype. The most remarkable thing about his rookie season is how fast he figured it everything out. His first two weeks, he was very impatient and just tried to hit the hole every time he got the ball. Then it seemed like everything clicked and he became patient and waited for his line to open these holes up. Rookie running back doesn’t usually learn that fast. Hell, it took Melvin Gordon a full season/offseason to figure it out and he still doesn’t look nearly as good as Zeke (get well soon Melvin).
And what about Zeke’s backfield partner, Dak Prescott? A 4th round rookie who clearly had first round talent. But it seems like scouts don’t know how to scout traits rather than the system, especially when it comes to quarterbacks of color. But that’s another story that’s not being written by me.
From the moment Dak stepped on the field, I felt he was going to be great. When he was showing out in the preseason, many folks were saying “It’s just preseason. These are vanilla defense’s”. But if that’s the case, why were so many other rookie quarterbacks playing like straight shit? But once the preseason was over, the next move people made to not give Dak credit was to hype up Carson Wentz because the Eagles were playing well (at the time) and he didn’t have much of an offense around him.
(Carson Wentz was never better than Dak. He will never be better than Dak. He’s lowkey terrible. But, once again, that’s another story that’s not being written by me)
Once the Eagles win streak was over (they started 3-0 and have since gone 3-9) and there was no legitimate way you could honestly make the case for Wentz being better (yet some Eagles fans are still trying), the next argument became “he’s only doing good because of the offensive line and Zeke”.
And that’s what’s mindblowing to me. Why do certain players get criticized for having a good team around them? Remember when Russell Wilson wasn’t a good quarterback because of Marshawn Lynch and the LOB, but we were supposed to overlook Andrew Luck’s obvious flaws because he didn’t have a great team around him? So the fuck what Dak Prescott has all the time in the world to stand in the pocket? So the fuck what Zeke Elliott has a shit ton of yards before contact (he does after contact as well)?
The same folks who try to penalize Dak for having a great offensive line don’t say a damn thing about Derek Carr (prayers up. Hope you have a speedy recovery man!)
I still don’t understand why folks were calling for Dak to get benched between Weeks 12-14 despite the fact they went 2-1 over that stretch. Yes, his play took a nose dive, but why in the hell would you bench the man? He followed up a nasty performance against the Giants by playing lights out against Tampa Bay and Detroit.
Folks are so blinded by hate with the Cowboys they just don’t realize how stupid their criticisms sound.
Shoutout to the receiving group as well. Thanks to injuries and playing with a rookie QB, Dez Bryant’s numbers dipped but he still had some damn good games. Dez gets a lot of shit from people. He’s not a top 3 receiver but I’ll entertain arguments for him in that 5-7 range. I just really think Dez is underappreciated by the masses. Cowboys fans overrate him (“Dez catches touchdowns so he’s better than your fave”), meanwhile fans of other teams underrate him. But I think there are just a few teams in the league besides Dallas (Seattle and now Tennessee) that Dez would fit perfectly on. He’s an elite wide receiver. He’s also boom or bust and I think that’s why he gets a lack of credit at times. He only had 6 games over 75 yards this season. Julio also only had 7 games over 75 yards as well (5 with 60 yards or less). He was truly the definition of boom or bust this season. But for all the jokes and criticism he gets, he is a great teammate. He is a leader for this receiving group (and entire team). But thanks to Dez’s injury and Dak just not forcing him the ball, other guys had an opportunity to shine. Jason Witten is still Jason Witten. And this man Cole Beasley made a name for himself this year. Guys like Brice Butler and Terrance Williams made plays sometimes when their name was called. (Dallas would be 14-1 if Williams didn’t do that bullshit against the Giants Week 1, but whatever). Oh yeah, why doesn’t Gavin Escobar get more targets? I’m sure someone can tell me.
And we know about this offensive line. Absolutely great. But just keep in mind this same offensive line went 4-12 last year. Give them credit where it’s due, but keep that credit in perspective.
I don’t think the 2016 Cowboys are an elite team. There are no elite teams in the NFL in 2016. But these guys are amazing and fun to watch when they aren’t playing the New York Giants. I’m not sure if these guys will even reach the conference championship. Experience is huge in the playoffs. But I’ve learned not to count out this squad, especially this quarterback. Being that I’m a Steelers fan, I learned a lot about this team in the game we played. It’s hard to win at Heinz Field but they kept fighting. That game was a shootout and Dak went toe to toe with Big Ben. That’s the moment I truly knew he was special. Much like when the Steelers played the Raiders last year and Big Ben and Derek Carr went at it. I saw greatness with my eyes. You have to respect that shit.
It doesn’t matter how much you hate Jerry Jones. Terry Bradshaw said he doesn’t know what Mike Tomlin really does and I feel the same way about Jason Garrett. I really don’t know and I’m not trying to be funny either. I really don’t care for Jason Garrett. But I do respect the both of these guys. I think I have a lot of resentment towards these two for basically wasting much of Romo’s career.
Damn, I can’t believe I made it this deep into the article without mentioning my guy Tony Romo.
Some folks called him selfish for even making this speech, but who cares. If Tony didn’t come out and squash these rumors I’m positive the media would have tried to divide this team. There is no telling where Romo will be in 2017, but he’s an all-time great QB. He’s a future Hall of Famer in my honest opinion. And if the Cowboys were to win a ring this year, I would be completely fine with that because I’ve seen Romo die on the field so many times over the year, but he continues to fight.
In 2014, I watched people spend so much time hating on the Cowboys they didn’t appreciate what DeMarco did until he was gone and they didn’t appreciate what Tony did until Jerry kept promising that Romo would return from injury and take this team on a playoff run in 2015. Appreciate these guys now.