NFL Midseason Review: Dallas Cowboys
This week officially marks the midpoint of the NFL season. In midseason fashion, I will be presenting a review for every team in the league, starting with the NFC this week and concluding with the AFC after Week 9.
Some teams have their destinies sealed already, both good and bad. It's now time in the season to look back at how each team has performed and predict how it will perform in the coming weeks.
It's time to take a gander at the Dallas Cowboys, America's team and perhaps one of the bigger disappointments of the 2011 season.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
The Dallas Cowboys are the most confusing team in all of football.
They are better than almost any team statistically (including the Green Bay Packers), yet they sport a mediocre 3-4 record.
How about DeMarco Murray these last couple weeks? Is there a back not named Adrian Peterson who has performed better? I'm very impressed with the rookie out of Oklahoma, whom I actually had the privilege of watching twice last season. As exciting as he's been though (he has 58 carries for 400 yards, nearly a seven yard per carry average), it will be interesting to see how he performs over the next month.
Tony Romo has been discussed more than almost any player by pundits who critique his fourth-quarter and declare him "unclutch." Although Romo hasn't been top-notch in the final 15 minutes, he's still having a decent season.
Four of his targets (Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson) have at least 325 yards receiving, a solid number seven games deep into the 2011 season. When healthy, I believe Austin is one of the 10 best receivers in all of football. Now that he's back and 100 percent, the flow of the Cowboys' offense is a bit more peaceful.
That's not to say Romo hasn't had his downs, of course. We all remember when he heroically threw two picks in the final quarter against the Jets in Week 1's Sunday night matchup. We won't forget when he practically handed the Lions a comeback victory three weeks later.
But those memories haven't been all bad. Just ask the Washington Redskins what happened in the second half of their Week 3 battle. Romo, playing injured after a pain-killing injection, orchestrated a fourth-quarter comeback for the ages. Even a broken rib and a terrorizing Brian Orakpo couldn't stop him.
Romo's adventures aside, the team has performed solidly on defense, especially with the run, against which they are fourth in yards per game. DeMarcus Ware is perhaps the game's best pass rusher, totaling a whopping 12 sacks already.
Sean Lee has had a breakout season at linebacker for Dallas. The 6'2", 245-pounder has accumulated 51 tackles and picked off three passes in 2011.
The Cowboys are a lot better than the record shows.
MVP: DeMarcus Ware, DE/LB
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images
It would be a first-degree crime in Texas for me not to select DeMarcus Ware as the Dallas Cowboys' midseason MVP.
He's a guy who has recorded better than 10 sacks in each of the last six seasons, and this season is no different, as he has already surpassed the decade mark just seven games in with a dozen.
His agility and athleticism is practically unmatched in the NFL, and I feel like I used three sentences too many to describe this inclusion.
How can you even think about going against Ware?
What Needs Improvement
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images
Tony Romo is one of the most-talked about quarterbacks when it comes to improving.
We know he has it in him to play well in the final quarter, but we've also seen horrific play from the Eastern Illinois product. There's not a player in the NFL who takes more criticism in this day and age.
Otherwise, following through is perhaps the biggest issue for Dallas' club, and it's not all on Romo, either.
Three of the team's four losses were by four points or less. They have won games by two and three points. Essentially, five out of the seven games the Cowboys have played this season have been decided in the final minutes, and three of these times the team has failed to claim victory.
It's all about finishing, Dallas. Four of the next five weeks on the ole schedule are against sub-.500 teams. It's time for LeBron's favorite team to climb up the standings.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Week 9- vs. Seattle Seahawks - Win
Week 10- vs. Buffalo Bills - Loss
Week 11- at Washington Redskins - Win
Week 12- vs. Miami Dolphins - Win
Week 13- at Arizona Cardinals - Win
Week 14- vs. New York Giants - Win
Week 15- at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Win
Week 16- vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Win
Week 17- at New York Giants - Loss
Final record: 10-6, 1st in NFC East