Feb. 26, 2019
Dallas Cowboys 2017 Season Recap
There are certain franchises that organically draw interest in their particular sport. In Major League Baseball, it's the New York Yankees or the Chicago Cubs. In the NBA, it's the Los Angeles Lakers (especially now with LeBron James signed on to play with them). In the NFL, our next subject certainly draws plenty of eyeballs from every type of fan, from the diehard to the casual. However, there are drawbacks to that magnitude of spotlight.
2017 Record: 9-7
2016 Record: 13-3
Win Differential: -4
What Happened: The Big D for the 2017 Cowboys stood for Distraction. Over the course of the season, there was the constant uncertainty regarding RB Ezekiel Elliott's controversial six game suspension as the saga winding through the courts left the Cowboys in limbo week to week as to the state of the offensive backfield. During all this, owner & general manager Jerry Jones was engaged in not only as a staunch opponent to player protests during the playing of the national anthem, but also fighting his peers over the commissioner's contract extension, a spectacle that involved legal threats by Jones and forceful response by NFL owners that only served to give the NFL yet another public relations black eye. All the while, the 'Boys were regression candidates from Week 1, as defenses would have been more focused on stopping Elliott and challenging second year QB Dak Prescott to win games, which could be problematic for a team whose formula for success is often in dominating time of possession and game tempo. Defensively, Dallas were breaking in a brand new secondary, as their starting defensive backfield were playing elsewhere. All things considered, perhaps still posting a winning record amidst all the turmoil is an accomplishment unto itself.
What To Expect: The Cowboys came to two conclusions once the 2017 season was in the books. One, DE DeMarcus Lawrence is an edge rushing stud that was worth every dollar of his contract extension. And two, WR Dez Bryant was no longer the player he once was. While Dallas would have loved for Bryant to take a more situational role (and subsequent pay cut that goes with it), he believes that he can still be a top end receiver. He was released in March and has yet to sign with another team as of this post. The Cowboys responded by signing free agent wideout Allen Hurns from Jacksonville and working a trade with the LA Rams to bring in Tavon Austin. If these men can reach the potential they've each shown flashes of with their previous teams, then the Cowboys will be better off in the long run. Expect Dallas to be right back in the mix to challenge for the NFC East crown, as they look to topple the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and hold off a resurgent New York Giants squad. If there is one player whose development will be the most crucial to watch, it will be Prescott. Historically, the Cowboys have thrived with an unquestioned leader under center. If Prescott can become both a proficient passer and field general, then America's Team can take the important steps in becoming a perennial contender. 2018 holds many keys for the Cowboys' future. What transpires will dictate just how far they have to go to reach that point.