How to fix Cowboys: 5 steps to end playoff disappointment, Super Bowl drought in 2022
With an early wild card elimination from the 2022 NFL knockouts, the Cowboys will still be stuck in their last Super Bowl win in 1996. In the 26 years since, Dallas has been one of only three teams The only NFC (Detroit and Washington being the rest) didn’t make it to a conference championship game.
After going through some rough years with an interim quartet after Troy Aikman, the Cowboys have had some promising teams with Tony Romo and Dak Prescott taking the helm. Jerry Jones and the front office have some great drafts for recruiting talent around QB.
But whether it’s Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett or Mike McCarthy as head coach, something is still missing to propel the team back to the big playoff success they once enjoyed. Since 2007, the Cowboys have reached the knockout stages with 11 or more wins five times, only to fail to last the weekend before any of them, including twice as the number seed. first.
No wonder Jones was so frustrated “he can’t remember” how disappointed he was the last time in a Cowboys playoff result just like him after a home loss to the 49ers. With Prescott back in full fitness to play at a high level and a solid defence, Dallas seems to have had a real shot at going deep, unlike some of the other recent versions of the team.
But now that the Cowboys have gone one and finished, what do they need to do to get to another Super Bowl soon? Here’s a breakdown of five solutions Dallas must take to fare better as a contender next year:
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Back to work on improving attack and defense lines
The Cowboys, ahead of Prescott and their running game, are still seeing stellar performance from their solid future Hall of Famers, handling left Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin. But left-back Conor Williams and right-back La’el Collins did not provide good support for Smith, Martin and young midfielder Tyler Biadasz. The Cowboys need to consider the big change in additions to Smith and Martin, while also developing the youth behind them.
The defense was highlighted by DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge of Dan Quinn’s 4-3, but the Cowboys also proved weak at times. Deal with Carlos Watkins and finish off Randy Gregory as free agents. Although Dallas had good depth in rotating the defense to effectively counter runs and passes, some limitations were masked by the elite play of rookie defender Micah Parsons.
The Cowboys have lost their outstanding overall strength in the trenches. That’s how and where the 49ers beat them on both sides in the Wild-card round.
More attack balance to match the explosiveness
The Cowboys, unsurprisingly with Prescott and the aggressive play of young offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, have gone past number 4 in the NFL once. Somehow, they were also forced into the No. 9 position in a rush of attacking behavior (122 yards per game).
But there are many games where the Cowboys are one-way or the running game is a game with no elements, boom or bust from game to game. Ezekiel Elliott, with his massive mass up to the age of 26, often looked tired from a knee injury and Tony Pollard proved more effective when not dealing with a leg injury. The Cowboys come in at just 22nd with their run percentage of games, just over 40%.
The Buccaneers and Chiefs can exit bigger plans happier knowing how well they’ll work with Tom Brady running the show for Bruce Arians and Patrick Mahomes lighting it up for Andy Reid. They still choose good positions to run to to take down games and eliminate threats coming through their bot lane. The Cowboys were solid in the red but there was too much pressure for Prescott to serve in key positions. They used to be a strong possession team in the Garrett era. The Cowboys only have a 19 when in possession in 2021, which also doesn’t protect a defense that is already vulnerable to big play.
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Make the spin-off more comprehensive
Trevon Diggs had 11 interceptions to become a star to some extent, but he also lost the ball multiple times when he wasn’t making tackles. Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are also frequently exploited. The journeyman Jayron Kearse managed to save a little bit of safety, but he, Damontae Kazee, and Malik Hooker were all free agents. The Cowboys also play former Falcons soldier Keanu Neal at the back to help Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch.
Cowboys are generally more about flexing without breaking. They have been very active to change the game with things to do, but they need to be more streamlined in many respects. No 2 corners and a promising young safe number 1 should be among the initial considerations in the draft along with the offensive and defensive lines. Jones and his scouting team did their job for them to find the best values and a few players with an immediate impact in those positions.
Be more consistent and consistent with their training
Moore sometimes looks like an absolute genius at what he’s calling for Prescott. But there are games when he forgets too much about running or doesn’t get enough of one of his three talented wideband receivers (mainly the CeeDee Lamb). Quinn has a unit for developing teams when playing with leads, but it could wilt if teams can continue to operate with an aggressive game scenario. Cowboys allow 4.5 yards per carry.
Mike McCarthy, a former West Coast student, is a different kind of attack-minded coach from the Packers than with Moore. Green Bay will also operate 3-4 defenses under McCarthy that are not similar to Quinn’s base plan. There may be a disconnect in the overall game plan, what is best to win the game. The Cowboys played better complementary football during the Garrett and Rod Marinelli days. They were too conservative at the time.
It’s no surprise that Dallas has been so strongly opposed to seeking better results, but it needs to find a satisfying medium between the two wits. It’s a great spot that most reliable NFC Super Bowl contenders have found and the Cowboys are still looking for.
Work harder to play more disciplined
The Cowboys lead the league with 127 penalties accepted against them, even surpassing the Raiders, famous for their gold, silver and black paintwork over the years. Dallas has played pretty well in this area in previous seasons, finishing more in the middle of the pack, so that’s a trend it has to reverse quickly. The defense pass and hold attack jamming calls – the ultimate drive killers and drive extenders respectively – are particularly high. That screams for attack lines and secondary upgrades.
Dallas was sloppy to take a 12-5 lead and reclaim the NFC East Championship with Prescott. The Cowboys played well in preseason games, 6-0, but they were only 6-5 against the Eagles, Giants and Washington and only 4-3 at home without division, losing to the Broncos, Raiders, Cardinals . Looking back at their significant errors in the regular season, that foreshadows defeat against a well-trained, well-trained team like the 49ers.
The Cowboys have already given themselves a higher level with Prescott again in 2021. But it will take some time to reach a ceiling on par with the older NFC powerhouses like the 49ers, Buccaneers, Packers and Rams.