PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – The Dallas Cowboys failed high expectations during the 2017 season ending it with a 6-0 shut out win over the Philadelphia Eagles and a 9-7 record with no playoff position, coming off their successful 13-3 season last year. The Cowboys have been in a transition this year with a young secondary learning and finding their rhythm, several players out with injury, along with Ezekiel Elliott being gone for 6 games fulfilling his suspension.
The rookies in the Cowboys’ defensive secondary started out slow in the beginning of the season, but finished off the year strong once they got familiar with the playbook and found opportunities on the field. Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods, and Jourdan Lewis played a huge role in the win against the Washington Redskins in week 13 creating pressure and forcing Kirk Cousins to hold the ball. One main issue now moving forward is getting receivers who will make plays. The Cowboys have been heavily relying on the run game because they do not have playmaker receivers on the offense. Many games it has been incompletion after incompletion with the passing game.
During the offseason the Cowboys have to figure out how to address that issue and who will be a fit out of either free agency or the draft. The Cowboys also need better depth at the Tackle and Linebacker positions. All-Pros Tyron Smith and Sean Lee have missed several games this season due to injury, and the Cowboys have to find a decent replacement for when that happens in the future. Chaz Green allowed 7 sacks on QB Dak Prescott in one game as Smith’s fill in and Byron Bell has racked up holding penalties, sometimes negating big plays like the 52 yard catch by Dez Bryant in the Eagles game that was brought back. Anthony Hitchens did not have the instinct and versatility on the field that Sean Lee possesses.
With salary cap negotiations looming in the future, the Cowboys will have to make some tough calls on players with large salaries not producing on the field to make room for signing players like Zack Martin and Demarcus Lawrence who are performing high results and working hard week after week. The Cowboys will have some difficult decisions to make during the off-season and in the draft looking ahead to the 2018 season.
Brianna Dix graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communications. She is a reporter, writer, host, and avid sports fan with a passion for sports.