Six goals for the Cowboys to win their sixth Super Bowl

Garrett Tarango, Contributing Writer

It’s been a little over 25 years since the Dallas Cowboys graced the world with their presence at the Super Bowl. While the majority of NFL fans bond over and relish in the Silver and Blue’s routine disappointment, everyone can agree it has been far too long since the Cowboys have sniffed at a National Football Conference Championship Game berth, let alone a Super Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys must strive to accomplish these six goals to bring home that coveted sixth Lombardi Trophy.

“RAYNE-ING” FIRE

Quarterback Dak Prescott is the big winner of this offseason, signing a four year, $160 million contract, according to Spotrac

Many will argue over whether Prescott deserved such a financial haul, but $40 million a year seems like the benchmark nowadays for franchise quarterback money. It can’t be denied the quarterback produced big in the short time he played last season, throwing for a mind-boggling 1,856 yards through four-and-a-half weeks, according to Pro Football Reference. These stats were well on pace to break the single season record before Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle fracture in the middle of Week 5 against the New York Giants.

These stats were also inflated due to the Cowboys’ historically bad defense in 2020. The Cowboys’ defensive woes forced Prescott into too many situations where he had to produce to make up for points allowed by his team. Hopefully Prescott will have a better defense to support him next season as he aims to continue hanging ballistic numbers on opposing teams. 

 If Prescott can come somewhat close to matching his 2020 stats this upcoming season, alongside a more reliable defense, the Cowboys are going to be winning more games with ease.

 

MAXIMIZING THE “NEW TRIPLETS” TALENT

According to an article by Around the NFL writer Kevin Patra, last season’s star receiver Amari Cooper said: “I think [CeeDee Lamb’s] a great receiver. And I think with me and Michael Gallup going for 1,000 yards last season, I think the expectation is to have three 1,000-yard receivers this year.”

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, which was especially disappointing considering how much the Cowboys’ top brass invested in the receiver position as of late, although a good amount of this disappointment can be chalked up to Prescott’s injury.

Cowboys fans received some rays of optimism last season when in Week 16 they were given a glorious dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles at the hands of Cooper, Lamb and Gallup. The trio combined for over 300 receiving yards and four total touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference. Words cannot describe how beautiful it was.

With a healthy Prescott returning, Lamb entering his sophomore season and Gallup entering a contract year, there are reasons to believe that the Cowboys can and should produce three 1,000 yard receivers. 

 

FEEDING ZEKE A BALANCED DIET

During the first half of last season, the Cowboys had a nasty habit of turning the ball over early and often. Much of this was Ezekiel Elliott’s fault as he fumbled five times through the first six weeks, according to Pro Football Reference. He improved his grip later in the season, but five fumbles per season is already too much for a premier running back.

If Dallas can better protect the ball next season, that will allow them to stay in games and keep opposing defenses guessing, reducing the chances of throwing interceptions and allowing everyone, including Elliot, to equally feast on offense.

 

STOPPING THE STAMPEDE

Let’s face it. The Cowboys defense last season was pathetic, especially their run defense. 

By the end of season, the Cowboys defense had allowed 2,541 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns, and a 5 yards per carry on average to opposing teams, according to Pro Football Reference

The biggest steamrolling of the year came during Week 4 at the hands of the Cleveland Browns when they marched their way up and down AT&T Stadium’s turf to the tune of 307 rushing yards, according to Pro Football Reference.

Running the ball, and therefore the clock, is the best way to stop opposing offenses, a strategy that teams will most certainly look to deploy against the ’Boys next season.

Not all hope is lost though. During the offseason the Cowboys brought in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to retool the unit. 

Additionally, the Cowboys signed run-stuffing specialist defensive tackle Brent Urban in free agency. They drafted standout Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, a talent who lead draft analyst Mike Renner at Pro Football Focus called, “the best college LB prospect since Luke Kuechly.” 

With these presumed upgrades, the Cowboys defense should strive to only allow close to 100 rushing yards per game to make certain the offense has the ball in their hands a fair amount of the time.

 

WRANGLING QBs

Arguably the most important skill a defense can possess is unrelenting pass rushing, as getting to the quarterback disrupts the entire offense. The issue is that the top franchises recognize this and heavily invest in their offensive lines. The Cowboys’ highest paid defender is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.  While for the most part he was the only defender who consistently showed up to stop the run in 2020, he’s only produced 11.5 sacks over the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.

The road to the Super Bowl will likely run through Tom Brady, and there’s a decent chance Patrick Mahomes will be right back in the big game, so Lawrence needs to be ready to take over in the fashion of Super Bowl L MVP pass rusher Von Miller. 

Lawrence is also putting in a full offseason of training alongside fellow Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory who made an immediate impact upon returning to the field in the middle of last year. If the blitzing duo can combine for 20 plus sacks on the year, then things will be looking much brighter for the Cowboys defense and much gloomier for opposing quarterbacks.

 

RIDIN’ TOGETHER

Despite the deflating blowouts of last year, the lowest part of the season came when NFL Network reporter Jane Slater tweeted that an anonymous Cowboys player told her the coaching staff was, “Totally unprepared. They don’t teach. They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.” Another player said that “they just aren’t good at their jobs.”

Even if players were upset with how things were playing out, this was simply inexcusable. The fiasco undermined head coach McCarthy’s authority and overall left an embarrassing blemish on the Cowboys franchise.

Successful teams ride together through the ups or die together through the downs. Although coaches do need to be held accountable, players have to buy into the process.

If every Cowboy can buy into the belief that 2021 is finally our year, then who’s to say that we can be stopped? 

Non-Cowboys fans, of course.