Everything went right for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2014 regular season. DeMarco Murray was a beast, Tony Romo played like an elite quarterback and their defense showed up for the first time in years. It was a perfect storm leading to a 12-4 record. They fell short in the postseason thanks to a bogus referee call.
It will take another season of the Cowboys getting a Pro Bowl-level from the running back, Tony Romo and their defense for them to get to double-digit wins this year. DeMarco Murray is now in Philly, so Dallas could have some issues moving the ball on the ground. Their offensive line is great, so it could all happen again.
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Dallas Cowboys.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 12-4
Key Additions: RB Darren McFadden, DE Greg Hardy, ILB Jasper Brinkley, ILB Andrew Gachkar, FB Jed Collins, OT La’el Collins & WR A.J. Jenkins
Key Losses: RB DeMarco Murray, OT Jermey Pernell, DE Anthony Spencer, DE George Selvie, DT Henry Melton, WR Dwayne Harris, OLB Bruce Carter, CB Sterling Moore, CB Corey White, OLB Justin Durant, LT Tony Hills & DT Amobi Okoye
2015 Draft Picks: CB Byron Jones, OLB Randy Gregory, OT Chaz Green, ILB Damien Wilson, DE Ryan Russell, OLB Mark Nzeocha, OT Laurence Gibson & Geoff Swai,
Non-Division Schedule: AFC East, NFC South & (Green Bay/Seattle)
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Joseph Randle – Darren McFadden is expected to be the starter out of the gate, but he hasn’t stayed healthy his entire career. Randle averaged 6.7 yards per carry last season as Murray’s backup in 2014. He’s being drafted in the first five or six rounds, but he could have the opportunity to near the astronomical amount of touches Murray had last season. The Cowboys need a running game and someone will get plenty of carries out of the backfield. It could be worth the risk of reaching for Randle early.
Offense – QB Tony Romo, RB Darren McFadden, WR Dez Bryant, WR Terrance Williams, WR Cole Beasley, TE Jason Witten, LT Tyron Smith, LG Ronald Leary, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin & RT Doug Free
Defense – DE Jeremy Mincey, DT Nick Hayden, DT Tyrone Crawford, DE Greg Hardy, OLB Sean Lee, MLB Ronaldo McClain, OLB Anthony Hitchens, CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne, SS J.J. Wilcox & FS Barry Church
Team Analysis: The Cowboys had an unbelievable year last season. Many ‘experts’ said Dallas would finish near the bottom of the NFC East and would be lucky to win five or six games. Well, they blew expectations out of the water by winning 12 games. They just fed DeMarco Murray the ball which helped the defense stay off the field. In the past few years, Romo would have too many three and outs and wouldn’t run much time off the clock. Unfortunately for Dallas, Murray is no longer on the team. They expect Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle to take over the backfield duties. They will be just fine, but the Cowboys should have thrown a ‘Godfather offer’ at Minnesota in an attempt to get Adrian Peterson. It will be hard for the Cowboys to duplicate what they accomplished last season. A lot can go wrong over the course of a season. They never really suffered an injury that caused an major issue last year. They will suffer a letdown in 2015. It’s really hard to stay at a 12-win level when you take such a huge leap the previous season to get there. Romo will fall back into some bad habits without Murray and their defense won’t be as effective. The Cowboys won’t make the postseason this year.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 9.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 8-8 (3rd in NFC East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.