5 Ways the Dallas Cowboys Can Still Win the Super Bowl
It’s not easy being a Cowboys fan. It’s not easy seeing your team continuously field one of the most talented rosters in football yet still not make it into the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys have again ruined expectations. Defeating the New York Giants seems so long ago. Two steps back against Seattle erased a giant step forward toward a special season.
However, I remain optimistic. Maybe it’s me becoming used to being a Cowboys fan and anticipating this kind of disappointment.
The season isn’t over for the Cowboys. It’s Week 2 and the Cowboys are 1-1 with a division victory. When we look back 10 weeks from now we might say that this was the turning point in the season. I’m not sure, but it could happen.
Every championship team needs that chip on their shoulder. They need to have a humbling moment so that they play like every game is their last.
There is a way to turn this around. I’ve gone sleepless the last few nights and taken the week off from work so that I could reflect on this loss. What I think I’ve come up with is a guide to getting the Cowboys to the Super Bowl.
I’ll share it with you.
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Yes, this has become a pass happy league. Players like Matt Stafford, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are flinging the ball around to their receivers like the Hail Mary was just invented.
Those pass-happy teams are also off to rough starts this season.
I prescribe to this philosophy: Just because everyone else has a Mohawk, doesn’t mean I need one (mostly because I’m 24 and have a receding hairline).
This relates perfectly to what the Cowboys need to do. The Cowboys need to remember how to manage the game.
This offense is built on a balanced attack. They have a workhorse back who has proven that he can be effective against any defense. They also have a very accurate and aware quarterback who can make plays.
So think about it. Instead of hurling the ball downfield, why not control the clock?
Here’s how it works: Once you get an early lead, you’re able to control the game at your pace.
DeMarco Murray averages 5.5 yards-per-carry. That means that more often than not he’s getting a first down, or close to a first down, every two carries.
Tony Romo completes passes at a 65.2 percent rate. He averages 8.09 yards-per-completion.
If Jason Garret can formulate a game plan utilizing the success of DeMarco Murray and quick passes (slants, drags, curls, outs, ins) the Cowboys would be efficient enough to run approximately six to seven minutes off the clock per series.
Besides eating up clock, another perk is that it opens up the deeper passes. If Romo is completing short passes to Dez (Bryant), Miles (Austin), and (Jason) Witten consistently and Murray is rushing for at least three yards-per-carry, the defense is going to be forced to adjust. One major adjustment will be if Tony Romo can revert back to the gunslinger we know him to be.
I’m not saying that this is a flawless plan, but the Cowboys are stocked full of playmakers. We know what Dez and Miles can do after the catch; we know what DeMarco Murray can do with the ball. What we need is to see an efficient “old-school” offense again.
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The Baltimore Ravens have been the poster team for great defense over the last decade. Much of that has to do with the fire and passion with which they play. It also helps that they’re led by one of the best middle linebackers ever who just so happens to define the word “swagger."
The reason some of these perennial defenses are so great is because they have that swagger. When you see them on the schedule, you know you’re going to be in for a fight. It’s not about the talent on the team; it’s about the mindset.
That’s no different in Dallas. I watched a team in New York that had swagger and fire. A team that was not just talented but playmakers. I remember that every defensive stop was met with celebration and passion.
I also watched a team in Seattle a week later. This team wasn’t the same as the week before. They had their heads down; they weren’t aggressive and they certainly weren’t passionate.
The Cowboys have to figure out who they are. To me, they’re one of the best defenses in the league. They have playmakers at every position and can lock down any team they want.
If the Cowboys can find that confidence they had in New York; if they can display that swagger that intimidates opposing offenses, they can be very special. They’re better than Pittsburgh and they’re better than Baltimore. We as fans know it; we just need the defense to believe it as well.
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The Cowboys have a core of veterans named Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin and Jason Witten.
They also have a core of young players with incredibly high ceilings—Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Tyron Smith, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.
When you look at those names you don’t think about a losing football team.
The Cowboys don’t have a team of lesser talent. The window is not closing. The Cowboys have competitively rebuilt over the last few years and now have great pieces in place at every tier.
It’s not about what the media says. It’s not about what we as fans think. It’s about the Cowboys realizing that they do have the talent to win the Super Bowl.
Everyone laughed when Sean Lissemore signed his extension and claimed that the Cowboys could win five rings.
Why is that so funny?
Look at this roster. If these players can play to their potential that’s not a joke…it’s fact.
I don’t get frustrated that the Cowboys lose. I get frustrated that they under-perform. Until the Cowboys realize exactly who they are, what they can accomplish and that the media doesn’t dictate their success, they’ll never be a championship team.
Don’t Do Too Much
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I think one of the biggest things we’ve seen from the Cowboys in the past is that everyone tries to win games by themselves.
When the Cowboys were down in Seattle it seemed like Romo was looking for the big play instead of trying to advance the ball.
I understand this type of thinking, but that doesn’t make it right.
The Cowboys need to trust in each other to pull their weight. Yes, sometimes that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes players don’t execute their assignments the way that they are supposed to.
More often than not, if every player stays in his lane and does his job the team will be successful.
So instead of trying to be singular heroes, the Cowboys need to be consistent. The game isn’t made of one-play wonders, but rather players who can play well on a game-by-game basis.
Let Teams Beat Themselves
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No one is perfect. Not even the teams that went unbeaten are infallible. There are always weaknesses to exploit.
NFL teams spend hours studying game films. They study tendencies; they study habits. In those hours they identify weaknesses that can be used to develop a game plan.
If I’m Jason Garrett, I’m spending time focusing on the frequency of bad habits. I’m studying every team to learn what they can’t do well and I’m going to let their errors be their demise.
This is a call to the coaches. The NFL isn’t about how you win the games, just that you win them.
If the Cowboys can sit back and execute a basic game plan and let other teams beat themselves, then they conceal their weaknesses better.
It might not make sense but think of it like this.
The Cowboys go into Philadelphia for an important division matchup. Mike Vick remains in his current form and throws four interceptions that consistently give the Cowboys good field position. The Cowboys aren’t forced to show their hand. All they have to do is manage the game by basic execution.
By doing this, they conceal their strengths and weaknesses to upcoming opponents who are trying to prepare for the Cowboys. The result of this is that the Cowboys become less predictable, more efficient and ultimately successful.