We at Fansided are lucky enough to have access to writers from all NFL teams, today we asked Steven Mullenax, the Editor of THE LANDRY HAT 5 questions about his ‘Boys.
1. Tell us about what will be new about the Cowboys this year, what should we look for specifically?
The biggest changes are on the defensive side of the ball. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has installed a much simpler defensive scheme than the one under former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The key defensive players on this team, like DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee, are now playing in their natural positions. I would expect to see a lot more turnovers and an increased intensity from this defense under this new regime.
2. We have heard the Cowboys will try and get the running game more involved, but doesn’t your O-Line limit those possibilities?
The running game should be improved. The Cowboys offensive line has added first round draft pick center Travis Frederick and All-Pro guard Brian Waters to the line. Although it will take some time for all of them to build chemistry, it should be enough to improve the Cowboys running game which was ranked 31st in the league last season. The emergence of running back Lance Dunbar as starter DeMarco Murray’s back-up should also improve the Cowboys running game. Especially since Murray has never played a full season for Dallas due to injury.
3. Tell us about a rookie or two that might make an impact this season.
The aforementioned Frederick should do wonders for the Cowboys ailing offensive line. The other rookie Cowboy fans are hoping makes a big impact is wideout Terrance Williams. Although his growth was stunted due to a concussion he received early on in the preseason, the Cowboys organization feels that got a steal in the third round by selecting Williams. At Baylor, he led the NCAA with 1,832 receiving yards. And that was without Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III throwing to him. If Williams can earn that WR2 spot, which most believe he eventually will, that would free up veteran wideout Miles Austin to play as a slot receiver, which is his natural position.
4. How important is it for Jason Garrett to get the team to the playoffs this year?
Very. For one, their star players aren’t getting any younger. And despite owner and general manager Jerry Jones announcing during the offseason that Garrett’s job is secure no matter what happens this season, most fans believe this could be his last chance with the Cowboys. If the team goes 8-8 or worse this year without a playoff berth, expect their to be some big changes in Big D.
5. What injured players will make a return later this year that will improve this team?
As of now, All-Pro defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is on pace to return after Week Six to bolster the Cowboys defensive line. But many fans believe his skills are diminishing as we speak. The only other player who might return mid-season would be guard Nate Livings. The Cowboys released Livings this week after placing him on the IR over the weekend. According to the terms of his injury settlement, if Livings does not sign with another team, he can return to the Cowboys mid-season if they need offensive line depth.
Whenever the NFC East plays against one another, throw out the normal analysis. Rivalry means something in our division. I expect a high scoring game and Dallas has had good success playing the Giants in opening games. I say AT&T Stadium breaks the curse, Cowboys over the Giants 44-37.
Thanks Steven, and so the Road to MetLife Stadium and the Super Bowl begins Sunday Night!