A lot has been said about the Cowboys’ current roster and not a lot of it has been positive. Many, including myself, have pointed out the lack of established receiver talent currently on the roster and the question marks surrounding how well the offensive line will perform in pass protection after it’s recent restructure. While both of these points are true and neither is a strength of the team anymore, there are other aspects of the team the Cowboys can lean on to get to the promised land.
The old mantra that defense wins championships has grown a bit cliché, however there is still a great deal of truth to this. Over the past 10 seasons every single Super Bowl champion sported a top 10 scoring defense. The Cowboys finished 8th last year only allowing 21.2 points per game.
In comparison the Rams who went on to win the Superbowl were 9th, allowing 21.3 points per game.
The Cowboys’ defense was also able to finish first in takeaways, accumulating 34 total turnovers (26 interceptions and 8 fumbles).
The Cowboys will be returning mostly the same roster on defense and have also added former pro bowler Anthony Barr to help fortify the line backing room. With the return of Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn the Cowboys are expected to field another dangerous unit this upcoming season. If they are able to continue to hold opposing teams out of the end zone there will be plenty of opportunities for the Cowboys to win games and advance in the postseason.
The Run Game
Ezekiel Elliott has received an absurd amount of scrutiny for a player who is still top 10 at a his position. Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 1002 yards (7th most in the league) and 10 rushing touchdowns (6th most in the league) during the course of the 2021 season.
He was also able to accomplish this while playing through a PCL tear and only receiving 237 carries, the fewest of his NFL career. Tony Pollard was also able to contribute mightily, pitching in an additional 719 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cowboys run game quietly finished 12th in team rushing attempts and 9th in rushing yards.
The strength of the offensive line is also heavily slanted towards run blocking. While they were abysmal in pass protection the unit as a whole finished 6th in run block win percentage. Also, Tyrone Smith, Tyler Biadasz, and Zach Martin all finished top 10 in run block win rate at their respective positions, meaning the Cowboys will be fielding an offensive line with three of the best run blocking lineman in all of football.
If the Cowboys devote themselves to leaning on the run game they will be able to carry to them far into the postseason.
The Passing: Still Potentially Potent
Dak Prescott is a top 10 quarterback; that much is not debatable. Since entering the league in 2016 Prescott is 4th in wins, 8th in passing yards, and 9th in passing touchdowns. His 2021 season was also impressive posting 4449 yards, 37 touchdowns, a 104.2 passer rating, and a 68.8 percent completion percentage. As long as Prescott stays healthy he will give the Cowboys a chance to win every game.
Dalton Shultz has also cemented himself as a top 10 tight end. Among Tight Ends Shultz finished 6th in yards, 5th in touchdowns and 3rd in receptions.
Coupled with Ceedee Lamb, who is fresh off a career season where he finished with 1102 yards and 6 touchdowns the Cowboys still have a potent 1 2 punch in the passing game. If they receive the adequate amount of targets they are talented enough to carry the majority of the workload in the passing game.
While it is true that the Cowboys’ have lost talent they are still talented enough to make a run for the Super Bowl. Their offense includes a top 10 quarterback, a top 10 running back, a top 10 tight end, and a top 10 run blocking line. Their defense is a top 10 unit that led the entire league in turnovers just a year ago. They have enough fire power to go to war with any team and come out on top, the question will be can they put it all together. There is still plenty to be optimistic about in Dallas this upcoming season and with the right play calling and proper utilization of their star talent there is no reason the Cowboys can’t win a Super Bowl as currently constructed.