Season Ending Awards for Dallas Cowboys
The 2012-13 Dallas Cowboys didn’t make it to the playoffs, but I think overall they had a productive season.
You’ll look back and probably feel the sting of the loss to the Washington Redskins to end the season, and wonder what it could have been had the team been completely healthy. Not going to lie, I’ve been wondering if this team would have been better since the day they lost linebacker Sean Lee to a torn ligament in his foot.
The season got off with a win against the New York Giants, which made fans believe this team had taken a step in the right direction. Then the Cowboys and their fans were brought back to reality by a crushing defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
The team followed that seesaw pattern until later in the season when the Cowboys put together a string of wins following the Josh Brent and Jerry Brown drunken driving incident, which cost Brown his life.
It will be a long offseason as Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett try to figure out what went wrong and how to correct it. We, the couch GM’s look at the team and say they need to fix this, or they need to fix that, but unfortunately we’re not the ones signing the checks. So, for the sake of Cowboys fans worldwide, Jones’ and Garrett’s own sake, I hope they figure how to right this ship.
Despite the 8-8 season and missing the playoffs, this season produced its fair share of surprises, some good, some bad and some ugly. Join me as I hand out some in-house awards, including the team MVP and Biggest Free Agent Bust.
The 2012-13 season MVP has to be outside linebacker Anthony Spencer. I think this one is unanimous when you ask any Cowboys fan.
Spencer finished the season with 95 tackles and 11 sacks both career highs and really stepped up when the Cowboys needed stability after losing both starting inside linebackers to injury.
Offensive Player of the Year
I think that for what it’s worth Tony Romo deserves this award more than anyone else on offense. One too many times he’s been asked to single-handedly carry the team, and I think it’s only fair he get some recognition. Behind one of the most porous offensive lines in recent memory and a nonexistent running game, Romo put up 4,903 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Year
I can’t stress how much Spencer meant to the defense this year. In previous years, Spencer had been criticized for not having more sacks, but this year he reached double digits sacks and really carried the defense when it needed one of its veterans to step up.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
I had two choices here, but decided to go with Cole Beasley. He really shined during the Thanksgiving game against the Redskins and provided a spark when he was on the field. I’m hopeful that the Cowboys will find a way to use Beasley more often once the 2013-14 season kicks off.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
This selection was pretty easy. My defensive rookie of the year award goes to Morris Claiborne. He turned in a productive rookie season behind 55 tackles, one fumble forced, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one defensive touchdown and I think he'll only get better.
Most Improved Player
This award goes to Dez Bryant. Overall, he turned in a Pro Bowl type of a season by recording 92 catches for 1,382 and 12 touchdowns, all career highs.
This one should be pretty obvious but my choice for the iron man award is Jason Witten. After having his season jeopardized by a lacerated spleen, Witten turned in a record-breaking season by recording 110 catches, which is a new record for catches by a tight end in a season. His 110 receptions are one catch short of the single season Cowboys record of 111 set by Michael Irvin.
Not once during the season did we have to worry about Romo’s blindside and that’s because there’s a brick wall named Tyron Smith protecting it. He was the only consistent part of the Cowboys offensive line, and that’s why I think he’s the best lineman on the team.
I think the biggest surprise this season was Dwayne Harris. He impacted the game on special teams and came up big as a receiver when given a chance. I think going forward there is no doubt that he solidified himself as the No. 3 receiver.
Most Disappointing Player
I could go in a lot of directions here, but I’m going with DeMarco Murray. I expected Murray to come out and be dominant like he was for a stretch during his rookie campaign; instead he got hurt for the second consecutive season solidifying his status of being a fragile running back. To make matters worse the Cowboys ended up with their lowest rushing total in franchise history.
Biggest Free Agent Bust
Again, I could go in a lot of directions here, but my choice is Lawrence Vickers. Vickers had led the way for multiple 1000-yard rushers, but in his first season as a Cowboy he was a disappointment. On one too many occasions, he was blown up at the line and forced back into the running back and that just cannot happen next season. That is, of course, if he’s not cut during the offseason.