Dallas Cowboys Team Profile 2016

Dallas Cowboys Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Somebody is going to make a lot of money in 2016, and they may not even have to play a single down of football. Most assuredly, Dallas owner Jerry Jones is never going into another NFL season with a sub par quarterback backing up QB Tony Romo. He’ll empty a bank (one of his) to make sure of it. Despite starting the season 2-0 and leading the NFC East, the Cowboys lost their next seven games and finished the season by going 2-12 in their final 14 games. Romo played in those first two games, then two in Weeks 11 & 12, before injuring his left clavicle………….again.

2016 Team Outlook –
Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants all live in the NFC East Division. Since 1998, every team in the division has won the division at least 4 times. Dallas could win it in 2016. Or perhaps Washington, or Philadelphia….or the New York Giants.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– In Week 12, Tony Romo left the Thursday game against the Carolina Panthers after he was sacked by Thomas Davis. It was Romo’s second game back from a broken collarbone he suffered in Week 2 that kept him out of seven games. The Cowboys went 0-7 with Romo out and fell to the bottom of the NFC East. In 2015, the Dallas QB carousel went Romo, Weeden, Cassel, Romo, Cassel and Kellen Moore. Jerry Jones says Romo is good for 3-5 more years. Maybe. Now for a reliable back up….could be RG3, it won’t be Manziel. ( 10 Reasons Manning Becomes A Cowboy )

RBs– In 2015, RB DeMarco Murray went to Philadelphia so RBs Joseph Randle and RB Darren McFadden started the season as the two running backs for Dallas. Utter-Fantasy warned fantasy football owners not to get excited about RB Darren McFadden. Written in the pre-season….”Don’t even consider RB McFadden as the starter. This guy is insurance only.”  Truth is 1) Utter-Fantasy got this WRONG! RB McFadden rushed for over 1000 yards…..2) The O-Line in Dallas is as good as it gets. McFadden took advantage of it, and had one of his best seasons. Joseph Randle was cut in November 2015, and has been arrested 4 times in the last 17 months. UPDATE: Cowboys signed RB Alfred Morris, formerly of the Redskins, to a two-year, $3.5 million contract. Alf looked worn down in 2015, and will likely be a change of pace back and insurance for Dallas.

WR Dez Bryant is Dallas’ big-time play maker and was the #3 wide receiving for the 2014 season. His stats took a huge hit in 2015, and he dropped to #78 with only 401 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Their was absolutely no chemistry with back up QB Matt Cassel, and Bryant’s injuries limited him to only 9 games in 2015. WR Terrance Williams was the top receiver in Dallas last season, but even then he was only the #44 wide receiver on the year. Even WR Cole Bessley topped Bryant’s numbers. He was the #54 wide receiver on the year, with 536 receiving yards and 5 TDs. 6’3″ 5th rounder Devin Street was drafted in 2014 ( 2014 NFL Draft) and has been slow to make an impact- 114 yards and 1 TD in 2015

Unlike the wide receivers in Dallas for 2015, TE Jason Witten’s numbers weren’t hurt as badly with all the turmoil at the  quarterback position. In 2014, Witten was the #10 tight end at the end of the season with 703 yards and 5 TDs.
In 2015, Witten was the #12 tight end at the end of the season with 712 yards and 3 TDs. ( 2 of his 3 TDs came in Week 1 with Romo playing quarterback.)

In 2015, no place kicker had a better FG% than Dallas’ Dan Bailey ( 93.8%) He went 30 for 32 on field goals, and nailed all 25 of 25 extra points ( even with the extra yardage added in 2015)  As of October 2014, when his 100th made field goal made him eligible for ranking, Bailey became the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, and is the only kicker to convert over 90 percent of his kicks.

Dallas can’t stop the run! At least not in 2015. Dallas ranked #29th vs the run last season, with Buffalo, Chicago and San Diego the only teams worst. With an offense still in tact ( other than a quality QB back-up for Romo, and depth at running back)…. the Cowboys will concentrate on solidify it’s defense.

2015 Dallas Fantasy Surprises–
It has to be RB Darren McFadden as Utter-Fantasy’s surprise for 2015. Even with the best O-Line in the NFL, it was hard to imagine this guy rushing for over 1000 yards. Here are his stats previous to 2015….2014- 534 rushing yards…2013- 379 rushing yards…2012- 216 rushing yards. An under-achiever most of his career, but an over-achiever in 2015.

2016 Free Agents that Dallas Needs to Address – QB Matt Cassel, RB Lance Dunbar, RB Robert Turbin, TE James Hanna, FB Tyler Clutts, DE Greg Hardy, DE Jeremy Mincey, MLB Rolando McClain, CB Morris Claiborne, OLB Kyle Wilber, OG Ronald Leary,  DT Jack Crawford, NT Nick Hayden, OG Mackenzy Bernadea

2016 NFL Draft –
The immediate needs of Dallas is fixing this #29 ranked defense. They need new corners to help safety Byron Jones, and a reinforced defensive line. Better linebackers will also help to stop the run, which Dallas couldn’t do last season. Dallas’ entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- DALLAS’ DRAFT

Did You Know–
  Longtime Cowboys head coach Tom Landry was drafted by the New York Giants in 1947 as a defensive back. He was also the first coach to ever win 100 games with one team in one decade.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.dallascowboys.com

Team Profiles- Dallas Cowboys

Team Profiles- Dallas Cowboys by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Two years ago, Jason Garrett, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, had to listen to daily rumors that he was on the way out of Dallas. That’s what happens when the team you are coaching goes 6-10 in 2010, then 8-8 the next 3 years in a row. Owner Jerry Jones stayed with Garrett for 2014, and consequently the Cowboys had a dominating 12-4 season, won the NFC East Division and went to the playoffs. Garrett’s job is safe for a couple more years. It’s hard to tell where Garrett’s coaching ends and Jerry Jones’ begins, but as a team, they understood the value of a strong offensive line, and in 2014, they had one of the best…if not THE BEST. Opposing teams knew RB DeMarco Murray would carry the ball on the first down (he did it nearly every set of downs), and yet the O-Line made holes and RB Murray got his 6-8 yards. It happened all season. That’s when you know you have a great O-Line, when they know it’s coming, and can’t stop it. RB Emmitt Smith had a gigantic O-Line back in the 90s that made holes your grandmother could run through, so it’s no surprise that Dallas is built that way again.

2015 Team Outlook –
Dallas runs in the NFC East Division with Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants. It’s a quirky division, because all 4 of these teams take turns winning the NFC East. Dallas won it in 2014, Philly in 2013, Washington in 2012 and the Giants in 2010. Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants have a lot of question marks heading into the 2015 season, so with the Cowboys as the most stable team, it’s a pretty good guess that they’ll win the division 2 years in a row. (Philadelphia and Washington aren’t committed to their current QBs and the Giants ended the 2014 season 6-10, so they have issues to address.) Whether Jones can buy a Superbowl like he tried to in 2014, is a wait and see.

2015 Fantasy Outlook –

QB– Owner Jerry Jones will tell you that he got very lucky landing QB Tony Romo, who was not selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, and signed on as a free agent with the Cowboys. All Romo has done since, is being selected to the Pro Bowl in the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2014 seasons…all years in which the Dallas has made the playoffs. In 2014 he ranked as the #13 quarterback in the NFL, the same ranking he had in 2013. He ended 2014 with 3766 total yards, 34 TDs and only 9 INTs. He’s as solid for fantasy owners as he is the Cowboy organization, but he’ll need a Superbowl ring to ever be considered great.

RBs– Going into the 2014 season, the knock on RB DeMarco Murray was his durability, a word used a lot when discussing running backs. Murray shut up all the doubters however, becoming the #1 running back in the league this past season, playing in all 16 games, racking up 2261 total yards from scrimmage and scoring 13 TDs. He even played Week 16 vs the Colts with a broken hand. On January 31st, the Associated Press named DeMarco Murray its 2014 Offensive Player of the Year. Murray is a free agent, so his return to the Dallas line-up is questionable. The Cowboys also have their star receiver as a free agent this year, so getting both signed is currently Dallas’ dilemma. (If Dallas can’t resign RB Murray, The Dallas Morning News believes Joseph Randle will be the Cowboys’ starting running back in 2015…if Randle can stay out of prison.) UPDATE: Cowboys losing RB DeMarco Murray to Philly, makes RB Randle the front-runner for the starting running back. Dallas signs RB Darren McFadden, who will be a back-up only.

The Cowboys have plenty of talent in their receiving corps, with WR Dez Bryant as the big-time play maker. Bryant was the #3 wide receiving for the 2014 season, catching 88 passes for 1320 yards and 13 TDs. WR Terrance Williams lines up opposite WR Bryant and he quietly had 681 yards in 2014 and 8 TDs, WR Williams, a 3rd round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, came on strong in playoffs for Dallas, scoring 3 TDs, 2 vs Detroit. The #3 WR Cole Beasley is a little “Wes Welker” type receiver for Dallas, who finished fourth on Dallas with 48 targets last season, posting a 37/420/4 line. UPDATE: Cowboys signed WR Dez Bryant to a five-year, $70 million contract, including $45 million guaranteed.

Who is the second all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards for a tight end, trailing only Tony Gonzalez, currently in the NFL? Hint: Since I am profiling Dallas, he is a Cowboy. I’ll take a wild stab, and guess that no one got this wrong. Jason Witten has been with Dallas since being drafted in 2003, and every year, Witten is a top 5 tight end in the NFL. Clearly one of the best to ever play the position and a lock someday for the Hall of Fame. At 32, he shows little signs of slowing down, and will be an important factor in Dallas’ offense once again in 2015.

You have to hand it to Dallas, and their knack of discovering undrafted free agent talent. Following the 2011 NFL Draft, Bailey signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He ranked #8 for the 2014 season. As of October 2014, when his 100th made field goal made him eligible for ranking, Bailey became the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, and is the only kicker to convert over 90 percent of his kicks.

In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys finished last in the league in sacks per pass attempt and No. 25 in the league in sacks. In 2014 they finished 28th in sacks, which was a little improvement. Dallas simply doesn’t have difference-makers on their front seven, and they need them. The team ranked #19 among NFL defenses last season, but they should be better on 2015. UPDATE: Cowboys sign OLB Keith Rivers, MLB Jasper Brinkley, DT Nick Hayden and claim CB Corey White off waivers.

2014 Dallas Fantasy Surprises–
Easily, RB DeMarco Murray becoming the #1 running back in the league this past season, and playing in all 16 games was the biggest surprise. We expect QB Romo, WR Dez Bryant and TE Witten to be very good, and post big numbers. I’d be surprised if getting the Dallas defense back on track wouldn’t be a priority, 2nd only to getting the free agents signed. I can’t say however, that I believe defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the right guy to do it.

2015 Free Agents that Dallas Needs to Address – RB DeMarco Murray (signed w/ Philly)- WR Dez Bryant (franchise tagged)- FB Tyler Clutts- WR Dwayne Harris (signed w/ NY Giants)- OT Doug Free (re-signed)- DE George Selvie (signed w/ NY Giants)- DT Nick Hayden (re-signed)- OL Bruce Carter (signed w/ TB) – OL Justin Durant Signed w/ Atlanta) – CB Sterling Moore (signed w/ TB)

2015 NFL Draft –
The immediate needs of Dallas are defensive help, keeping their O-line solid, and likely addressing the running back position. Dallas needs a stronger, more effective pass-rush (DE), they need to keep their O-Line solid, especially if they loose anyone to free agency (OT) and roster depth at running back (RB). Additionally, Dallas hasn’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, and Romo can’t play forever (QB). UPDATE: Dallas’ entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- DALLAS’ DRAFT

Did You Know –
The Dallas Cowboys have an estimated value of $2.3 billion, the Cowboys are the most valuable team in the NFL, they are the 5th most valuable sports team in the WORLD, they generate $560 million in revenue which is the most of any NFL team AND YET…The NFL hasn’t paid a dime in taxes since the 1960’s and is still considered a “non-profit organization”.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.dallascowboys.com