Dallas Cowboys: B
You don’t hear that nickname that has been slapped on the Cowboys much these days. About the only time you really hear it is when they are doing well. Dallas got off to a slow start. But they are doing everything in their power to make a comeback and they seem to be doing just that. Aside from being blown out by the Eagles, the Cowboys have been in every game that they lost. It has only been by a small margin that they lost those games, too. Dallas is not going down without a fight.
Tony Romo is coming off of a fractured shoulder, after taking a huge hit from New York Giant, Michael Boley, last season. This season, he has sustained a fractured rib and a punctured lung. Yet, he hasn’t missed a game. Love him or hate him, you have to give the guy credit for his toughness. Romo is ranked 8th in passing yards, yards per game, in a 3-way tie for 6th in TDs, and has a 92.2 QB rating. He has been the leading QB in 6 of his 8 games. The problem with Romo seems to be that he starts out strong in the season and but disappoints in the end, all too frequently.
The Cowboys have a 1-2 punch in DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones. Murray is leading his team with 80 ATT, 539 YDs but only 1 TD. Jones is off to a sluggish start with 63 ATT, 253 YDs and 1 TD. Felix Jones is the starting RB but is not getting as many touches as DeMarco Murray, as you can see from the stats. With Marion Barber gone and Jones developing into nothing more than an average running back, it appears that Murray is the biggest weapon of this Dallas running team. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
Is it any surprise that Jason Witten is Dallas’ leading receiver? It shouldn’t be. It seems that Miles Austin’s hamstring issues have caught up with him. It is reported that he will miss at least four games because of it. Witten and Austin have always been neck-and-neck for most receiving yards on their team. This year Witten wins out. With Austin going out due to injury, no one else on the Boys will be able to touch him. Although, Dez Bryant would be happy to give Witten a run for his money. Chances are, Romo is going to continue to get the ball to the man he trusts most. Bryant, however, averages 17.0 yards per catch and has 4 TDs. The Cowboy have good depth in the receiving corps. Laurent Robinson, a new addition this year, has been making good things happen as well. Throw in a little Felix Jones and you have the makings of a massive headache for any cornerback in the league. Still, the loss of Austin is going to hurt this team.
Offensive Line: B+
The addition of Tyron Smith, their #1 pick overall from this year’s NFL Draft, is the best move that the Cowboys made in the offseason. This 6′ 5″, 311 lbs wrecking ball out of USC is going to be an asset to this team for many years to come. Last season, the Cowboys had the 2nd oldest offensive line in the NFL, the Giants had the top slot. This year, Jerry Jones and co. have tweaked their line to help protect their prize QB. Now, they are the third youngest line in the league. Youth doesn’t always mean lack of ability. This O-line is ranked 6th. The smallest guy on this line is Bill Nagy who is 6′ 3, 303 lbs. Right now, this is Dallas’ strongest area.
You have to start right off the bat with DeMarcus Ware. 6′ 4″, 240 lbs, he is the perfect size for a linebacker and he can play the game! He is ranked 2nd in sacks and is just a half sack behind the leader, Jared Allen. He also has 2 forced fumbles on the year. Next up is Anthony Spencer, who has 4.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles as well. I have to say, though, that there is not a lot of tackling happening by the LBs. The leading tackler (51) on this team is Sean Lee, a 2nd year LB who is having a decent year all around. He is tied with Brian Urlacher with most interceptions by a LB (3). The Cowboys defense gives up 102.4 yards per game (10th in the NFL). They give up 248.6 receiving yards per game (16th in the NFL). They have their strong and weak points.
Special Teams: B-
David Buehler is having a mediocre year thus far. His kickoff average is not terrible but he is not getting many touchbacks or getting the ball out of bounds. Dan Bailey leads the NFL in FGs. He is 20 for 21 with a long of 51 yards. He is also 100% on extra points. Not too shabby for a rookie. The return game has been somewhat of a revolving door. Kevin Ogletree has been getting the bulk of the punt returns. He’s 5 for 89 with a long of 20. Dwayne Harris seems to have the most promise as the return guy. He has handled most of the kickoffs. He’s 3 for 74 yards with a long of 32.