After consecutive mediocre 8-8 seasons, the Cowboys finally broke through and made their first playoff appearance in 5 years. They were victorious in the wild card round against the Detroit Lions, but fell in the next round 26-21 to Green Bay. They showed that for the first time in a while they may be super bowl contenders. They hoped to use this offseason to sure up a few holes and add talent to their overall roster. Those plans took a quick hit when running back DeMarco Murray chose to bolt to division rival Philadelphia. Murray led the NFL in rushing this past season and is a big loss to the Cowboys offense. With Murray gone, Dallas will most likely use a running back by committee system. They did add Darren McFadden to the mix, who could help if he can stay healthy which he has not been able to do thus far in the NFL. Luckily for Dallas they were able to lock up their other big playmaker on offense, as they were able to come to terms with wide receiver Dez Bryant. Even with Murray gone, the Dallas offense should be in the upper echelon this upcoming season.
Graphic via ibnsportswrap
The 2014 defensive unit exceeded expectations greatly and was respectful when many people thought they could be one of the worst ever. Despite shocking people, adding talent to the defense was the main goal for Dallas this offseason. Defense by any means must have been the mantra because the Cowboys were willing to gamble on a few troubled players, starting with the signing of Greg Hardy. Hardy was original suspended ten games by the NFL for his role in a domestic abuse case, but recently saw his suspension shortened to four games. In fairness, Hardy had his charges dropped and his appeal was warranted. On the field, Hardy can provide a great pass rusher for Dallas, which was something they desperately needed. They also took a flyer on troubled defensive end Randy Gregory in the second round of the draft. Gregory fell to the second round due to failed drug tests in college, but like Hardy has a ton of talent. If both players can stay on the field, the Cowboys added great talent in the pass rushing game. In the first round the Cowboys selected cornerback Byron Jones, which was also a position of need. They also added defensive players Damien Wilson and Ryan Russell through the draft.
The Cowboys other controversial signing came on the offensive end. They signed offensive lineman La’el Collins. Teams were scared to select Collins due to a shooting incident that he was being questioned in. He has not been charged at this point and he is another player with first round talent that the Cowboys added despite off the field issues. Overall the Cowboys reached their offseason goal off adding talent. Only time will tell if these moves will be enough for them to reach their ultimate goal of winning a super bowl. They made their defense better this offseason as long as everyone can stay healthy and out of trouble. They are clearly in win now mode as they took a chance on these troubles players, but it could end up working out in their favor. Overall, they earned a “C” grade for the offseason due to the loss of DeMarco Murray. Dallas opens up the preseason on August 13th against San Diego. Their preseason schedule rounds out with games against San Francisco, Minnesota and Houston.
Graphic via dallasnews