Monday, August 5, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Dallas Cowboys

DALLAS COWBOYS                                                                                   

Head Coach: Jason Garrett

2012 Record: 8-8-0 (3rd in NFC East)

New Players: DB Will Allen; LB Justin Durant.

Gone Elsewhere: DE Kenyon Coleman; CB Mike Jenkins; RB Felix Jones; WR Kevin Ogletree; LB Victor Butler; DE Marcus Spears; LB Dan Connor.

Offense: The Cowboys will again rely on quarterback Tony Romo, who had a career high 4,903 passing yards in 2012 as well as throwing 28 touchdown passes with 19 interceptions. Veteran Kyle Orton will be the backup.
QB Tony Romo
The running game has DeMarco Murray (663 rushing yards, 4.1 ypc average, four TD) back in the starting role with Phillip Tanner and rookie Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State) playing in reserve roles.
The wide receivers are Dez Bryant and Miles Austin with Jason Witten, who led the team with 110 receptions for 1,039 yards and three touchdowns, at tight end. Bryant had a huge season as well with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Austin made 66 grabs for 943 yards and six touchdowns. Rookies Terrance Williams (Baylor) and tight end Gavin Escobar (San Diego State) will look to play when needed.
The line will be anchored by rookie center Travis Frederick (Wisconsin) who was the team's first round pick in the draft. The tackles are Tyron Smith and Doug Free with Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard.

DeMarcus Ware
Defense: The Cowboys defense finished 19th in the NFL, allowing 355 yards per game (125 rushing and 230 passing yards) while giving up 400 points last season.
Led by sack artists DeMarcus Ware (11 1/2 QB sacks) and Anthony Spencer (11) in the 4-3 scheme, the Cowboys will have a new look as the ageless Monte Kiffin takes over as defensive coordinator. The tackles will be Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher.
Linebackers will be Sean Lee in the middle with Justin Durant and Bruce Carter on the outside. Backups include Ernie Sims and Cameron Sheffield.
The secondary will see Brandon Carr (three picks in 2012) and Morris Claiborne at the corners with Barry Church and Will Allen at safety. Rookies J.J. Wilcox (Georgia Southern) and B.W. Webb (William & Mary) may also see action.

OUTLOOK: This could very well be a make-or-break year for both Head Coach Jason Garrett and QB Tony Romo, who has been under the microscope in Big D for seven years now.
The 'Pokes offense was sixth overall in 2012, averaging 375 yards per game with the passing game accounting for 296 yards per game. The running game was ranked 31st overall (79 yards per game) and MUST get better. Murray missed six games last season, but has shown brilliant flashes in his brief career.
If the team can get more from the running game, Romo and company won't have to do too much and that would be a huge benefit for the Cowboys, who face big challenges in the NFC East.
The defense has to be more consistent and not allow so many big plays that helped lead to five losses by seven or fewer points.
Another 8-8 season appears to be in offing in 2013 for the Cowboys as they attempt to overcome the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in the division race.


Sept. 8- vs. NY Giants
Sept. 15- at Kansas City
Sept. 22- vs. St. Louis
Sept. 29- at San Diego
Oct. 6- vs. Denver
Oct. 13- vs. Washington
Oct. 20- at Philadelphia
Oct. 27- at Detroit
Nov. 3- vs. Minnesota
Nov. 10- at New Orleans
Nov. 17- BYE WEEK
Nov. 24- at NY Giants
Nov. 28- vs. Oakland
Dec. 9- at Chicago
Dec. 15- vs. Green Bay
Dec. 22- at Washington
Dec. 29- vs. Philadelphia

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