Since the end of the 2008 season the Dallas Cowboys’ have been knocked off as being a Superbowl or even a playoff contender, and I ask myself is this really warranted?
Yes the Cowboys’ went 9-7 and yes they’ve lost key playmakers such as: Greg Ellis and Terrell Owens, but that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that they should be blown off as a team that can seriously compete in the NFL.
The 2008 season was something that Cowboys’ players and fans alike probably don’t want to hear about, and rightfully so. The players came into the 2008 season with cocky attitudes and egos, they thought they were still the best, the greatest, America’s Team and could not be beaten. This attitude transpired into the games, the players were not organized, they were not on the same page and they gave up big plays, and big games all season long as a result of this.
Although a lot of the blame has gone towards the players and the way they conducted themselves during the season that is not the only reason why the Dallas Cowboys’ took an early vacation. Injuries became a key factor from day one. Wide Receivers Miles Austin and Sam Hurd were both looking fantastic in pre-season games, unfortunately both suffered injuries during the pre-season and this affected their play throughout the season. In week two Roy Williams the starting safety suffered a broken arm and was placed on IR. Anthony Spencer, Greg Ellis’s heir apparent suffered a hamstring injury hampering his play for the rest of the season. Felix Jones was injured in week six and was ultimately placed on IR. When the receiver Roy Williams arrived from Detroit he suffered a foot injury and could not play at 100 percent for the rest of the season. Marion Barber and Jason Witten also played with various injuries that affected their play throughout.
The most significant injury of all was the broken pinkie finger Tony Romo suffered in the overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He was out for three weeks and the Cowboys’ went a woeful 1-2 with Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger at the helm of the offense.
Injuries cannot be used as an excuse either for a terrible season, players should be ready and prepared to step in at any time and play, the Cowboys’ backups were neither of these.
At the end of the season a lot of rumors emerged about problems regarding team chemistry, these rumors were directly related to Terrell Owens, the so called “Team Destroyer”. I believe that Terrell Owens was the scapegoat of a 9-7 season, but that is not to say that Terrell Owens helps create a harmonious locker room. Terrell knows he does his job and when others don’t he lets them know about it in a big way. This can obviously lead to arguments and people pointing the finger rather than focusing on the team and how they can get better and in the end Dallas suffered because of this and is more likely ultimately why Terrell Owens was let go.
Terrell Owens put up great numbers in Dallas and his production will be missed, Roy E. Williams however is as ready as ever to step up and take his place, however with this being said Romo still has his safety blanket in Jason Witten and a sound running game he can fall back on, if Williams doesn’t pan out.
Greg Ellis was also a reliable player in Dallas and with him on the team you could almost definitely pencil in 8 sacks every season, he was a fantastic pass rusher, but was weak against the run and could not defend the pass adequately, something that the more athletic Anthony Spencer can do efficiently.
So there we are from comparing the 2007 Cowboys’ to the 2009 Cowboys’ Dallas has lost two key players and veterans in Greg Ellis and Terrell Owens, but they have also gained many more in the likes of Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Tashard Choice and Felix Jones.
This year is just as good a year as 2007 for the Cowboys’ to reach the playoffs and cause some trouble.
Lets not forget they still are America’s team!