CFZ Measured optimism for 2022: Dan's defense and Dak's acid test

erod

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It's been a bottle of rinse and repeat more often than not for the last 25 years. Each new season seemed like futility wrapped in hope and spin.

Such may be the case yet again, but at least this time the packaging feels a bit different than the past few years anyway.

For too long, Cowboys football has relied on happenstantial defense. Turnovers and punts too often were mere products of the other teams mistakes and inadequacies, not anything Dallas was doing. Defense here was the Texas Lotto, looking for luck with nary a plan.

But now the "other side of the ball" suddenly carries the glean of a brand new ride, and with it any hopes that this season can be any more than another mediocre season. The schedule sets up nicely with a disheveled Tampa team, followed by a gritty Cincy and a then largely a run of non-descript teams only interrupted by the Rams and Packers.

For that schedule advantage to matter, this defense has to matter in a big way, and I really like a couple of the moves Dallas made on that side of the ball.

First, keeping Quinn was a huge move that we have to give Jerry credit for. (God only knows the wink-wink promises that may have been made to Quinn.) I fully trust him, and I haven't looked forward to watching defense here in forever.

Second, the Anthony Barr signing was more impactful than most understand. He will allow Micah to be the most unpredictable defensive player in the NFL, not just the best. Barr can watch the fort while Micah lines up any damn where Quinn pleases. Goody goody gumdrops.

Losing the unreliable lack of integrity known as Randy Gregory was an unintentional stroke of luck, and Sam Williams will be a more complete player than Gregory on Day 1. (Man, I'm glad that worthless SOB is gone.) And suddenly, DaRon Bland already looks like a much better option than Lewis already as well. The safeties - OMG we have safeties! - are in line with what Quinn likes. The corners look more than adequate, too.

The whole defense looks primed and ready, and you know they're excited to go after people for a change.

As 2022 begins, the offense looks much the same but with different issues, poised to put up early numbers against the weak and the injured, but not when it matters after Turkey Day. Such will remain the truth until they bother to prove otherwise. Some key changes and challenges, sure, but it's not like the previous lot was effective late in the season anyway. Changes are needed and good, and players like Cooper and Collins were VASTLY overrated. Good riddance, both of them.

So what does all this mean in terms of season success? It means they had better figure out a way to get into the playoff or McCarthy is bye-bye. At least the NFC East provides a clear path. The offensive line needs to settle out early, which I think they will to an acceptable level by October.

Ultimately, this season is in the hands of Dan's defense and how Dak performs down the stretch in the clutch. Could be 6-11, could be 11-6.

Because of that defense, I'm going to lean a bit higher than I was 3 months ago. I think 11-6 wins the East and Dallas can become the first team in 17 years to win back-to-back in the division.
 

jazzcat22

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Dallas will repeat as NFCE champs.

I am going with 11-6 also. As too many unknowns. They may get off to a rough start, then rebound and become much better overall than last year.
However, I will not be surprised if they come right out and start winning either.

I think a 2-2 start is not disastrous. And 4-2 will be better than many believe. Eagles may start out quick, then they will hit a wall. We will take over 1st place games 6 to 8, and not relinquish it.
 

Jake

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With Tyron out long-term and a rookie in his place, this is probably the weakest line Dak has had to play behind. Coupled with questions at WR, at least to start the year, he's going to have more on his shoulders than ever. This applies to Kellen Moore as well. Jerry's "we go as Zeke goes" optimism aside, we'll go as far as the passing game holds up, gets creative with guys like Pollard and Turpin, and Lamb's ascension to being the top dawg. A lot of things will need to fall into place.

On the bright side, this could be the best defense we've had in years. They'll keep the team in most games, rather than being a liability that loses every game when the offense doesn't score 30. Just hold your breath if the game comes down to a field goal and mighty Maher trots out there. I'm too old for that.

I'm thinking 7-10 wins. If it's the latter the Cowboys will be a playoff team. If it's the former ol' Jerry will be looking to appoint a new deputy for 2023.
 

thunderpimp91

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Dallas will repeat as NFCE champs.

I am going with 11-6 also. As too many unknowns. They may get off to a rough start, then rebound and become much better overall than last year.
However, I will not be surprised if they come right out and start winning either.

I think a 2-2 start is not disastrous. And 4-2 will be better than many believe. Eagles may start out quick, then they will hit a wall. We will take over 1st place games 6 to 8, and not relinquish it.

I'm not sure how good the Cowboys can be this year, but I'm very confident this team wins the division. The Eagles have been so overhyped this offseason. I agree they got better from 2021 to 2022, but let's not forget just how bad that team was a year ago..."Better" for them is still a pretty average football team that the Cowboys should be able to handle. Maybe I'm a fool, and just being too much of a Cowboys homer, but I've got the Eagles on upset alert week 1 vs Detroit.
 

jazzcat22

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I'm not sure how good the Cowboys can be this year, but I'm very confident this team wins the division. The Eagles have been so overhyped this offseason. I agree they got better from 2021 to 2022, but let's not forget just how bad that team was a year ago..."Better" for them is still a pretty average football team that the Cowboys should be able to handle. Maybe I'm a fool, and just being too much of a Cowboys homer, but I've got the Eagles on upset alert week 1 vs Detroit.

Would love to see the Lions come out and smack the Eagles down.
 

Jake

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My goodness, have we really muted our expectations to the point that possibly winning the bottom-feeder NFCE two years in a row is something to celebrate?

For me, "expectations" are one thing while hopes are quite another. I'd love to have a big thing to celebrate but I'd be lying if I said - right now - that I expect it.
 

Doomsday101

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My goodness, have we really muted our expectations to the point that possibly winning the bottom-feeder NFCE two years in a row is something to celebrate?

Well considering no one has done it in 17 years it would be a start, beat the hell out of the alternative which is not breaking the bad streak. Should Dallas win the east this season that is only the 1st part because if they fail to advance then the season is still a failure. We have several people predicting 7and 10 and should Dallas exceed those expectation will anyone care? I doubt it the expectation will only increase.
 

Nav22

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Cynical Cowboys fan:

“Ugh we’re gonna suck this year, Jerry and Stephen are morons... 8-9 record at best.”

Also Cynical Cowboys fan:

“WHO CARES if we win the division?! That’s what we’re supposed to do!!!”
 

plasticman

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Tyron aside, there has not been a pandemic of injuries to critical positions on the team like there usually is.

I've been used to the team starting out with a missing receiver, a couple O-linemen, a DT or two, hobbled LB's and some of the secondary manned by a nervous undrafted free agent.

And it's not like Tyron is being replaced by a minimum wage warm bodied journeyman. That's a rookie 1st round draft pick that will soon be supported by a veteran future Hall of Famer. That's no Alex Barron/Chaz Green/Tyson Walter out there.

That alone gives me reason for optimism.
 

817Gill

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Lmao this DaRon Bland is better than Jourdan Lewis thing is full go huh :laugh:
 

817Gill

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He has played well and been hyped. At least there is a reason for it even if the take lacks proper perspective.
Yeah he’s played good in the preseason for sure. Just not sure why that makes him better than a proven starter lol.

I would assume the normal take would be to be happy we seem to have found real depth at CB that can potentially take over for AB next year when he’s a FA.

But nope we like to skip straight to it here so it’s funny more than a gripe.
 

FuzzyLumpkins

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Yeah he’s played good in the preseason for sure. Just not sure why that makes him better than a proven starter lol.

I would assume the normal take would be to be happy we seem to have found real depth at CB that can potentially take over for AB next year when he’s a FA.

But nope we like to skip straight to it here so it’s funny more than a gripe.

People just haven't wrapped their minds with the adjustments from the shortened preseason, an extra game, and not having seen the starters because of it.
 

duro420

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Maybe don't take Gregory leaving so personal. It's not like his decision was personal. Could be he felt possible this was what he had to do to be playing for a real contender in Jan football.
 
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