Windows, windows everywhere, but are they open or closed? I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of the talk about all these “windows” with the Dallas Cowboys. Evidently so is Tony Romo because he walked away from a reporter who asked the question about the Cowboys “window” this week.
It started with Jerry Jones earlier in the off-season, which means we should have ignored it from the beginning but Jerry got his way and it ended up becoming a topic of conversation for much of the past few months on the Cowboys.
Tony Romo did talk about it earlier in the year, so too did Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware. All have put their opinions out there on a closing window. So I’ll put mine out there too.
Is the Cowboys window of winning a Super Bowl closing?
I think not.
I don’t disagree the Cowboys have wasted some great years by Ware, Witten and Romo which certainly makes people ask the question. However, I am not so sure their opportunity is closing. Is that window getting smaller? Perhaps, but look at the two most important Cowboys and their stats don’t suggest a closing window. Tony Romo just had his best year as a quarterback and DeMarcus Ware had 19.5 sacks. Doesn’t quite shout “closing” does it?
Maybe it depends on your description of the “window.” Is it the age of the players you’re looking at? Or is it the skill level of the players that create the window? To me it’s probably a mixture of both, with the amount of time your core players have been on your team. Looking at these factors, I gauge the “window” for a team to be at 4 years. Your team has 4 years with its players in place to make the championship run.
Now let’s examine the Cowboys. If you look at the Cowboys key players, Tony Romo is 32 years old, Ware and Witten are both 30 and Jay Ratliff is 31 for this upcoming season. They are all still playing at a high level, even if you think Ratliff and Witten have begun to slow down, which I do. In this day and age quarterbacks have been playing effectively into their mid-thirties and older, so it doesn’t seem that age will be a factor for Tony Romo in the next few years.
Other key Cowboys such as Miles Austin-28, Dez Bryant-24, Brandon Carr-26, Sean Lee-26, Tyron Smith-21, and rookie Morris Claiborne-22 will not have age as a factor over the next few years. It looks to me like this Dallas Cowboys team has a very good window of 3 years to win a Super Bowl.
Also remember the Cowboys, despite what you heard, were rebuilding last year and that process (heck I’m starting to sound like Jason Garrett) continued this off-season. They are moving in the right direction with Jason Garrett’s tough minded, smart, physical brand of football. Two years ago, the Cowboys were coming off of an NFC East title and their first playoff win in over a decade. They entered the 2010 season with a roster that had some old, spoiled and soft parts to a team coached by Wade Phillips, only most of us didn’t know it at the time. Those days are gone.
In two off-seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have undergone the rebuilding process, which has given them a better, younger, more talented team than they had a few years ago. The fact they remained competitive for a playoff spot last season while rebuilding should tell us their window isn’t closing just yet. It remains very open. (Optimistically, very few teams can do that, although the Eagles do come to mind)
It seems as though the Cowboys and their owner have the right attitude going forward and don’t want to waste anymore of the prime years left for their elite players. Which begs the question, where was this attitude before? Perhaps a question for another time, but despite what the owner or any player says, I don’t believe the window is closing. Every year the Cowboys don’t win though, that window will continue to shrink.
I believe the Cowboys window is open and the team is moving in to the right direction to extend it, but that ultimately falls on the play of Tony Romo, or any other QB the Cowboys have in the future, which is too difficult to predict.
I feel this team is primed to make a strong run at the Super Bowl in the next 3 years, which tells me that “window” is open, letting a nice breeze blow through. Hopefully that breeze doesn’t slam it shut before those years are over.