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Opinion

Why Dallas returns to the play-offs in 2020

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Roar Rookie
27th August, 2020
6

The Dallas Cowboys greatly underachieved last season, going 8-8 after many expected them to fly through the season and make the play-offs.

The year started off well before the team pulled a famous Dallas dive and ultimately missed the post-season which cost Jason Garrett his job.

But here’s why the Cowboys will make a return to the play-offs in 2020.

Dak Prescott
Say what you want about Dak Prescott, the guy can play football. Is he a top-five quarterback? No, but he’s in the mix of the next-tier quarterbacks – I have him between 11 and 15 in the list of top quarterbacks of the NFL. It’s not great but not bad either.

The biggest knock on Prescott is that he requires everything around him to go right. Ezekiel Elliott needs to be running effectively, Amari Cooper needs to be making highlight plays and the list goes on.

Dak had great moments last year – the Minnesota game, for example. His arm was on fire during the last drive, yet the coaching decision was made to take the ball out of his hands, which to this day I am still trying to figure out.

Six of the Cowboys’ eight losses last season were one-possession games, and in each of those losses missed field goals were crucial. So Dak was keeping his team in most games but at crucial times mistakes were made either by him or defensively – or, as was the case on multiple occasions, through coaching error. Some of the calls were horrendous and Dak could not get them over the line.

With another weapon in receiver Ceedee Lamb, Dak will be expected to take America’s team to the play-offs and with fresh face Mike McCarthy on the sideline. The Cowboys offence could get even better than the historical one in 2019 and Prescott could go to new heights in 2020 – and if he does, just imagine the kind of cheque Jerry Jones will have to write to keep Dak in Dallas.

Dak Prescott runs with the ball

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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The loaded offence
Last season the Dallas Cowboys offence put up some serious numbers. They ranked first in total yards, with 6904; second in passing yards per game, with 296.9; fifth in total rush yards, with 2152 and averaging 134.6 per game; and sixth in points per game, with 27.1.

Many described Zeke Elliott has having a down year, which in some respects he did, but he still managed 1357 rushing yards along with 12 touchdowns, so statistically his year was not all bad.

Cowboys receivers Amari Cooper and young stud Michael Gallup both had great years despite Dallas going 8-8. Cooper went over 1000 yards for the fourth time in his five NFL seasons, with 1189 and eight touchdowns, and Gallup racked up 1107 yards and six touchdowns, with many arguing that he nearly overtook Cooper as the Cowboys No. 1 receiver considering how easy it was at times to take the senior player out of the game.

Now add to that Cowboys Pick 17 in the 2020 draft was young receiver Ceedee Lamb from Oklahoma, who is already turning heads in training camp, and this already potent offence has the potential to be a lot better.

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The defence is improving
Many may laugh at this, but the Dallas defence next season will be very different from previous years. With Mike Nolan as new defensive coordinator and Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach, this defence could cause teams some serious problems.

Aldon Smith is by all reports dominating training camp, and add to that the additions of Tyrone Crawford, who is back from injury; safety Haha Clinton Dix; new signing defensive end Everson Griffen; and young draftee Trevon Diggs and the defence could be a lot more dangerous than last year, even with the loss of sack machine Robert Quinn and cornerback Byron Jones.

There are many changes going on, but they are the right ones – though they need to prove it on the field.

A new coach
With many expecting the flashy Hollywood appointment of Urban Meyer or Lincoln Riley, the hire of ex-Packer head coach Mike McCarthy did not exactly set the world on fire. But it didn’t need to.

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McCarthy comes to Dallas with a pedigree as a veteran play-caller who has all the experience needed to take Dallas back where they need to be. He won a Super Bowl back in 2010 and has been apart of 18 play-off games, winning ten of them.

It was a non-spectacular hire, which is probably what the Cowboys needed. If nothing else, just by having a new coach and fresh ideas to bounce around could be the difference in Dallas this year, a circuit-breaker if you will. He’ll be someone new coming in and mixing it up after many seasons under Jason Garrett.

The jury is still out on the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. On paper they have immense talent everywhere, but as every football fan knows, simply having talent alone does not win you games, as was shown last year.

With a new head coach, multiple changes on the defensive side and the addition of another monster at receiver, Dallas have all the tools they need to make it to the play-offs.

Now they just have to go out and do it on the field.