Dallas Cowboys 2011 Predictions: Felix Jones Runs for 1K and 4 Bold Forecasts
We are still a little ways away from the start of the preseason and the Cowboys have already been counted out in the always tough NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles have signed a great deal of star free agents to bolster their roster and now they are expected to win the division and the conference.
But the Redskins tried this theory more than a few times and it never worked out for them. The Eagles are by no means the Redskins and have far better management and leadership to avoid that ditch sized hole Washington consistently stepped in, however, it does make on wonder.
Are the Eagles doing too much?
It isn’t often that the Cowboys play second fiddle to a team in its own division but that’s the role they find themselves in this off-season and that’s probably to their benefit.
The team has a new look defense, offensive line and backfield and fans are anxious to see the finished product take the field.
Dallas is looking to start fresh in 2011 after a disastrous 2010 and with the Eagles garnering everyone’s attention; they may just slip under the radar.
Here are five brave predictions for the 2011 Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas Loses NFC East but Best Philly in Playoffs
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Philly won the NFC East last season with a record of 10-6 but lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champs the Green Bay Packers.
There are a lot of new parts to the Eagles defense including a new defensive coordinator who has a background as an offensive line coach.
With so many new players the Eagles will have to gel quickly and efficiently.
I predict they’ll win the NFC East again but Dallas will sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard team and either east Philly in the postseason or make it further along in the NFL’s second season than their hated rivals from the city of brotherly love.
Dez Bryant Has Monster Season
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According to a multiple reports the second year wide receiver is having a very productive training camp. Bryant will step into the role of a starter this season and if 2010 is any indication of what he’s capable of doing then there is no limit to what Bryant can accomplish in 2011.
His route running is improving and apparently his maturity level is doing the same.
Bryant will have to continue to work on the chemistry he shares with quarterback Tony Romo but all signs point to go on Bryant having a break-out year with over 1,300 receiving yards and double digit touchdowns.
Rob Ryan Transforms Cowboys Defense
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If Ryan is able to take the Cowboys from the league’s 23rd best defense and improve them by at least 10 spots then we can label his job a success.
The Cowboys have all the pieces to have a great defense just ask former head coach Wade Phillips. If anything Dallas gave-up on far to many defensive plays last season due to lack of motivation.
Ryan’s confidence in his team is contagious and if he’s as aggressive and abrasive as his personality the Cowboys defense will be pretty nasty this season.
Cowboys Cut Penalties by More Than Half
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I’ve always felt that the Cowboys were one of the most undisciplined teams in the NFL when Wade Phillips patrolled the sidelines in Dallas.
He seemed to be more concerned with being friendly with the players instead of being a strong leader. False starts here and a pass interference there and the Cowboys have given up over 20 yards in field position due to mental breakdowns.
That issue will not happen under the guidance of Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan as the number of penalties committed by the Cowboys will be cut in half.
A significant drop in penalties should add at least one additional win for Dallas in 2011
Felix Jones Finally Cross 1,000 Rushing Yards
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This one may not sound that shocking but if Felix can stay healthy and add about 75 additional carries to his workload then it may be go time for Jones.
Last season Jones had an even 800 yards on 185 carries and Garrett will feed him the ball more this season than last.
The amount of versatility in the Cowboys backfield is astonishing and with DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice serving as change-ups Jones should have fresh legs for the season.