This has been one of the craziest off-seasons I’ve seen in Cowboys history. (I won’t rehash all the craziness like upskirt shots, a love child revealed, fender-benders, a weak FA haul, etc) Let’s just say it has been at the very least an interesting off-season.
But honestly, until the live bullets of the regular season start flying in September, we won’t really know if this team is better or not. But as we always do this time of year- we can speculate.
I want to start with the offense- After the off-season we’ve had so far- is it better than it was at the end of last year? To me, we are rolling the dice on several guys. Let’s look at some indicators:
- OL– We lost 2 starters with a combined 10 years of NFL experience and replaced them with a rookie and a 3rd year UFA. To be clear, I’m glad we parted ways with Connor Williams and his holding penalty parade and Collins with his wacky undependable ways. But questions remain.
- Will rookie Tyler Smith be able to upgrade what we got at LG last year? Maybe he can but it is an assumption until he proves it. I like Tyler Smith as a project but I would have felt better if the team wasn’t counting on him day one. It’s a risk.
- Losing La’el Collins was somewhat understandable with his undependability but he certainly had talent. I like Terrance Steele but can we confidently say we are as good as we used to be at RT? It’s a gamble.
- WR- Amari Cooper was deemed too expensive, and his production has dropped off the last two years. Let’s look at Coop’s downturn in production:
- He only averaged 57 yds per game last year and was only 6th on the team in YAC behind Lamb, Schultz, Cedric Wilson, Pollard, and Zeke. Wow.
- He only averaged about 12 yds per reception the last 2 seasons. Down from nearly 15 yds per catch the previous seasons. Those are slot receiver numbers, not star receiver stats.
- It’s not true that he wasn’t thrown the ball enough. He was 2nd on the team in number of passing targets behind only Lamb.
- We've replaced Cooper and Cedric Wilson with 3rd round rookie Jalen Tolbert and FA James Washington. Is that an upgrade? Maybe. But It’s also a gamble.
IN SUMMARY: Between Amari Cooper, Cedric Wilson, Connor Williams and Lael Collins, we lost 21 years of NFL experience and replaced them with 6 years of NFL experience. If the talent is better, the experience numbers won’t matter. But it is somewhat of a gamble.
Is our offense better as a result of this off-season? Maybe it will. But it’s a gamble.