No strangers to the headlines, someone within the Dallas Cowboys organization has again made a bold proclamation.
But it’s not who you might think.
Team Vice President Stephen Jones, not his father Jerry, said today that the Cowboys have what it takes to win the Super Bowl. And not a few years down the line either. The younger Jones thinks the team can do it this NFL season, right now.
But can they really?
The Cowboys certainly aren’t short on talent. But as we’ve seen a lot with this team, talent doesn’t equate to wins.
Case in point, 2007.
That Cowboys’ team was loaded with talent and big names. Offensive tackle Flozell Adams, center Andre Gurode, tight end Jason Witten and quarterback Tony Romo were Pro Bowlers on the offensive side. On defense, DeMarcus Ware and Roy Williams made the trip to Honolulu, same with punter Mat McBriar. Marion Barber rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns. Terrell Owens finished the regular year with 1,355 receiving yards on 81 catches and 15 touchdowns. Witten had 96 catches for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns. Ware finished with 14 sacks, Greg Ellis 12.5. The Cowboy offense would finish second overall in points per game at 28.2.
The team won 13 games and won the NFC East, earning a first round bye. But the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants went into Texas Stadium and ended the Cowboys’ season, winning 21-17.
This current crop of Cowboys is no different as far as talent level. DeMarco Murray is now the main rusher, a guy who if he stays healthy can be one of the best in the game. Dez Bryant should emerge this year as an elite NFL receiver, and Witten remains one the best in the game at his position. Miles Austin remains at receiver, and rookie Terrance Williams should provide a spark as well. Defensively, Ware is still there along with Anthony Spencer, who starts opposite Ware at outside linebacker. Sean Lee and Bruce Carter are both budding stars, and cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne both have Pro Bowl capabilities.
But as I look at this Cowboys team, their weak points are positions where you really cannot afford to be weak.
The offensive line is still a major question mark, and the safety position has its unknowns as well. Ask any experienced football mind, and they’ll tell you that in order to consistently win in the National Football League, you need balance. Without a quality offensive line, the offense is forced to throw the ball more than run, creating both predictability and inefficiency.
That was one of the Cowboys’ major problems last year. Murray missed six games, and the offense became very one-dimensional.
The team also has had major problems preventing the deep ball in recent years, vulnerable down the middle of the field on pass plays. In a conference that is full of quarterbacks with great arms, and two – Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III – playing in their own division, the Cowboys will need to correct that area if they want to contend.
New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin should surely improve the defense, and Bryant – who by all indications is unstoppable right now in the team’s OTAs – should maximize his ability this season.
But in order for the Cowboys to be super in 2013 like Jones says, they’ll need to perform up to their talent level at all positions – and in some cases overachieve – and win when it counts.
Could they do it? Sure they could; any team theoretically could. But they’ll need all hands on deck and everyone maximizing their ability if they want to finally validate another in a long line of Jones family predictions.