Despite Dallas’ astonishing turnaround last year, both Jones and Parcells knew the Cowboys still needed to improve on an offense that ranked 15th in total offense and 21st in scoring.
That scoring ranking is for the entire team, not just the offense.
However, the offense must put more points on the board this year and I believe they will.
The question is, how big of a jump do they need with one of the best defenses in the game by their side?
Both of the Super Bowl teams got there in large part to their defenses last year, New England averaged 18.69 points as an offense (21.8 as a team) while ranking 17th in yards and Carolina averaged 18.25 points as an offense (20.3 as a team) while ranking 16th in yards.
Dallas averaged 16.56 points on offense (18.1 as a team) and ranked 15th in yards.
I do not see the Grand Canyon in front of the Cowboys when it comes to making the jump to having a contending offense, I see a small stream.
How hard will it be to surpass what Carolina did?
The Cats kicked 32 field goals, scored 28 offensive touchdowns and 5 non-offensive touchdowns.
They did it with the 8th ranked defense gathering 40 sacks, 26 take aways and holding offenses to 19.0 points per game (10th).
The Cowboys kicked 23 field goals, scored 28 offensive touchdowns and 3 non-offensive touchdowns.
They did it with the number one ranked defense notching 32 sacks, 25 take aways and limiting offenses to 16.2 points per game (2nd).
That's a difference of 27 points on offense and 41 points overall.
But the biggest challenge will likely come from within the NFC East and the three time conference championship loser Philadelphia Eagles.
Philly averaged 22 points on offense (23.4 as a team) and ranked 18th in yards.
The Birds kicked 24 field goals, scored 40 offensive touchdowns and three non-offensive touchdowns.
They did it with the 20th ranked defense forcing 38 sacks, 26 take aways and holding offenses to 17.9 points per game (7th).
That's a difference of 87 points on offense (5.44 per game).
Getting the offense up to Philly's scoring level is more of a challenge, but we're still talking about less than one touchdown a game as the difference.
Dallas accomplished what they did with an imperfect offense.
Quincy Carter was a first time 16 game starter in his third new system and he threw too many interceptions.
The scheme was to be based around a running threat that was all too often absent and defenses played how they wanted to.
Their was no possession receiver to lean on, rookie TE Jason Witten assumed the role as best he could late in the season.
The offensive line was patched together with a couple of reserves and two starters playing below the level expected of them.
Things could get a lot better this year and they don't have to be dramatically better in most cases for the team to improve.
The most important item is for Carter to cut down on his interceptions.
And I'm not asking for the world, just get the count to 15 or lower, less than one per game, a reduction of 6 from last year.
Along with this, give me 4 more touchdowns to clear the 20 barrier.
That should help oodles.
The rushing game accounted for 11 touchdowns, only ten teams had fewer and both of the Super Bowl participants were among them.
How about 5 more for a total of 16?
Instead of 23 field goals, I'll take 25. Nothing major.
Where would that leave the offense?
That'd be 37 offensive touchdowns and 25 field goals compared to last year's 28 offensive touchdowns and 23 field goals.
Offensive points per game would jump to 20.88 over last year's 16.56.
And that isn't factoring in any points provided via special teams returns or defensive scores.
This kind of improvement doesn't call for a 4000 yard passer, a 1500 rusher or a pair of 1000 yard receivers.
Nothing so drastic.
Just basic progression.
Cut down on the bad plays and increase the good plays.
Is this too optimistic with the new additions and much needed offensive continuity?