The Dallas Cowboys got a monkey off their back in 2009 when they won their first playoff game since 1996. As a result, the expectations for this team are now through the roof, with many of the NFL experts predicting a Super Bowl ahead for America’s team. Will the 2010 Dallas Cowboys find success or will they flounder with a gorilla on their back now?
The Cowboys’ offense has slowly evolved over the years into a well-oiled machine with quarterback Tony Romo directing it. A healthy Romo should post around 4,000 passing yards to go with 30 touchdowns and about 14 interceptions. While production has never been a real problem for Romo, there are still some who question he has what it takes to lead a team through the playoffs and to Super Bowl XLV.
The running game of the Cowboys is a bit of a question mark until they find some consistency from Marion Barber or Felix Jones. If neither one of them step up, opposing defenses will be able to leave the safeties back for coverage. The wide receiver group should be more explosive this year since Miles Austin will have another year under his belt and the addition of rookie Dez Bryant. And we cannot forget about tight end Jason Witten who has the ability to turn the direction of a game.
The defense became a real strength for the Cowboys towards the end of the 2009 season and was responsible for a lot of their success. The front line of the defense is anchored by Jay Ratliff who has done the job of two by commanding double teams from the offensive line.
The middle of the front seven is round out by DeMarcus Ware who has the ability to exploit the offensive tackle when he goes one-on-one. Ware had a breakout season in 2009 and should be a sure fire bet to post double digit sacks this year.
Keep an eye on Anthony Spencer who is an underrated outside linebacker who knows his position and has the athletic ability to make plays. The weak point of this unit is the secondary that seems to struggle when there is not enough pressure on the quarterback.
If the NFL season winner was strictly determined based on the player’s pure talent, the Dallas Cowboys would be run away winners in Super Bowl XLV. Since it is not, it presents a problem for the Cowboys who always seem to find a way to unravel during the course of the season.
Head coach Wade Phillips is on the hot seat to reproduce another appearance in the playoffs followed by a trip to the Super Bowl. If they fail to live up to this potential, it could be a long off-season for the Cowboys.
When the 2010 NFL season is done, the Cowboys will have enough to sneak into the playoffs, but their lack of focus is going to send them home early before Super Bowl XLV.