NFL Post-Mortem: The 2017 Dallas Cowboys

The 2016 season for the Dallas Cowboys was a bit of a fairy tale in that they lost their starting quarterback Tony Romo in the preseason and had to rely on 4th round rookie Dak Prescott to come in and lead the team. He and 1st round pick running back Ezekiel Elliot led the team, and after losing their first game, they would win 11 straight before losing again. The team finished with a 13-3 record, Dak threw 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions and Elliot had over 1600 yards in 15 games. The only thing that dampened their season was a 34-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. The team spent their first three picks in the draft on defense taking defensive end Taco Charlton in the first round then corner backs Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in the second and third. They went into the new season with high hopes and expectations.

NFL Post-Mortem: The 2017 Dallas CowboysWhat Happened?

Where everything went right in 2016, they weren't as lucky in 2017. Elliot got a six-game suspension for domestic abuse accusations and he ended up missing five games during the season, dropping his totally rushing numbers to only 983. Teams started figuring Prescott out, and without Elliot to take the pressure off of him sometimes, he made more mistakes. He threw another 22 touchdowns, but his interceptions increased to 13 for the year. A lot of the focus seemed to be on off-the-field issues, which isn't anything new for this team. Elliot fought the suspension over and over, string the distraction out far longer than it needed to be. The team got off to a rocky start, losing three of their first five and never really recovered. They ended with a winning record of nine and seven, but it wasn't enough to make the playoffs and would be considered a great disappointment after what appeared their division to lose.

What's Next?

Jerry Jones seems to be more focused on battling with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Jones appears to be angry at how Goodell handled the Elliot suspension. He tired and failed to hold up a new contract for Goodell. The team has much bigger things to focus on this off season, including what to do with their top wide receiver Dez Bryant, and they don't seem to be in any kind of hurry to figure it out. The team has never been big on the free agency market, usually looking to sign their own players first. This year that would be guys like DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and Anthony Hitchens. The team is now in Indianapolis for the NFL combine, where they will be looking at draft players compared to their needs. They're likely to be paying close attention to the defensive ends, wide receivers, and safeties over the next few days. Also, Jason Whitten has been a class act for many years, but a young tight end to groom behind him would be a wise move.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.