Throughout the past month, I have tentatively slotted the Dallas Cowboys for every NFC East finish 1-4, before settling on last.
I just can’t get the buzzing out of my head from the decisions of Jerry Jones. I suppose the Cowboys’ defensive talent is an all right fit for the Tampa 2, but we already knew it was a really good fit for the 3-4 when healthy.
Firing Rob Ryan — who actually did a decent job given the injuries last year — and replacing him with Monte Kiffin sounds like a good idea about 10 years ago. The Tampa 2 is so yesterday. This defensive overhaul just wreaks of something that will squander personnel that could be great in the right hands, and instead are in Jones’ headline-grabbing hands. I can imagine Jones watching the great Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses of the early-aughts and thinking, “What I’d give to have that kind of team.”
Well, offenses have adapted in the years since and no one’s going to Tampa 2 base anymore for a reason. Instead of evolving the Cowboys are marching back to 2002. It’s all a shame too, because Bruce Carter and Sean Lee are potentially a top-5 linebacking duo and DeMarcus Ware is an all-time great edge rusher. The line is loaded with underrated stalwarts like Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher.
For these personnel continuity and talent reasons I still have hope in this defense looking pretty strong, but that confidence has been shaken. Tony Romo-to-Dez Bryant may very well by end 2013 as the most unstoppable pass-and-catch connection.
But in the end, with Jones at the wheel these questionable strategy moves leave wonder if Dallas can ever deliver on one of the league’s most talented starting rosters.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 7-9 (4th in NFC East)
Predicted Finish: Miss postseason