Had Tony Romo thrown an interception in the final minute of the Super Bowl with the Cowboys a yard away from the game-winning touchdown, the internet might have broken.
But, for now, let’s forget about Seattle’s bad play call and Russell Wilson’s interception. First, the Cowboys must get to the final game.
How do they make a run at Super Bowl 50?
Well, follow these 10 steps.
1.) Win the off-season. A significant part of the Cowboys’ success last year came because of quality off-season moves. They added Jeremy Mincey in free agency, traded for Rolando McClain after Sean Lee went down and then drafted Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Hitchens. Dallas needs to have another strong off-season.
2.) Make the right choice at running back. If the Cowboys can find a way to bring DeMarco Murray back for a reasonable price, they must get it done. While I think many backs could have career years behind the Cowboys offensive line, I don’t think most would make the same impact as Murray. If he is not re-signed, do the Cowboys draft/sign his replacement or depend on a committee? It’s highly unlikely Dallas would have another double-digit win season without an effective running game.
3.) Stay committed to the run. There was a time when Tony Romo shouldered the majority of the offensive load. Those days are gone. The 2014 campaign showed exactly what the Cowboys need to do offensively: make a physical running game the team’s identity, allowing Romo to carve up defenses when they stack the box.
4.) Stay healthy. Yes, it’s much easier said than done. The Cowboys fared well in this department last season, especially on offense. Romo missed some time because of his back, but he was on the field more than most expected entering the season. Murray, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley played all 16 games. You’ll win often with that type of talent on the field every week. Obviously Romo is the key factor. The Cowboys’ only shot at making a run is with No. 9 on the field.
5.) Get a full season from Sean Lee. Speaking of health, how about 16 games from what could be the team’s best defender. Lee has missed 31 games over the last three seasons. He was never a factor in 2014 and the Cowboys nearly made it to the NFC Championship Game. Imagine what they could do if he received some good fortune and played an entire season.
6.) Improve defensively. A healthy Lee would go a long way in making that happen. The offense did an outstanding job of taking pressure off their defense for most of the year. Continue running the football and improve enough defensively in Year 2 with Rod Marinelli calling the shots and this unit could be among the top 10-15 in the league. How can that happen? Better coverage on the back end and more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys can upgrade in both areas with experience and a few additions during free agency and in the draft.
7.) More growth from Jason Garrett. Jerry Jones often mentions how much better Garrett is as a head coach today than he was when he took over in the middle of the 2010 season. He was so good in 2014 that he was a candidate for Coach of the Year. Could he be even better in 2015?
8.) Take better care of the football. The Cowboys turned the ball over 25 times last year. Of the 12 teams to turn it over more, only the Bengals and Colts reached the playoffs. The biggest problem area: fumbles. The Colts and Eagles are the only teams to lose more fumbles than the Cowboys last season.
9.) Have similar success forcing turnovers. Dallas forced 31 turnovers last season, second only to Houston. The Cowboys will be in good shape next year if they can continue this trend. Given Marinelli’s success in this department while calling the defense in Chicago, it’s not out of the question.
10.) Get a few bounces to go your way. Everyone needs a little luck. Today’s NFL is so closely contested that every little break counts. Sometimes you need a team with arguably the NFL’s best running back to throw from the one-yard line against you with the game on the line. The Dez Bryant catch/no catch in Green Bay is another example, but there are many that can add up throughout a season. Some good fortune could be the difference in the Cowboys winning Super Bowl 50, or completely missing the postseason. (Courtesy of DallasNews.com)