But it’s always important to stay grounded.
Today, we’re going over three things that could make for a disappointing season in Big D. We’re going to disclude injuries to key players because that’s a risk for all 32 NFL teams every year.
Wide receivers drop the ball
That can be taken literally and figuratively.
Two of the Cowboys’ top three wide receivers left Dallas this offseason. Amari Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Browns and Cedrick Wilson signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency.
Now, the top of the WR depth chart consists of CeeDee Lamb (no worries there), and Michael Gallup, who may miss the first few weeks of the season recovering from his ACL tear in week 17 last year.
After that, the Cowboys have Jalen Tolbert, their third round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft. Battling with Tolbert for the WR3 spot is James Washington, a veteran entering his fifth year as a pro. Previously, he was a depth piece for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rounding out the fifth spot is Noah Brown, who has been in Dallas since being drafted in the seventh round in 2017. Brown’s best season came in 2021 when he caught 16 passes for 184 yards. This season, he’ll likely get the most playing time of his career if he can perform.
The overall lack of proven players at wide receiver is concerning. Especially early on if Gallup is out.
Mike McCarthy announced that Tony Pollard will get playing time at slot receiver. That way, Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott can get ample playing time without taking snaps from either player. But the move by McCarthy is also a way to cover for the lack of depth at WR.
Mike McCarthy gets fired mid-season
The Cowboys have some tough games in the first half of the season. They kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by the Cincinnati Bengals. A few weeks later they play consecutive road games against the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. Then, after a week nine bye, the Cowboys travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers.
If things have gone off the rails by that point, it’s not crazy to think McCarthy could be out of a job. Outside of questionable play-calling and clock management at points last season, Dallas was also the most penalized team in the NFL in 2021 and had the second-most penalty yardage. Poor preparation and penalties always fall back on the coaches.
If penalties remain an issue in early weeks of this season and the Cowboys aren’t winning games, we could likely see Dan Quinn or Kellen Moore take over head coaching duties.
Another year, another postseason flop
The Cowboys are notorious for choking in the postseason, and 2021 was a prime example. A great regular season, 12-5 record and NFC East champions. But in the Wild Card Round, Dallas puts up only 17 points at home in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Here are some more facts that further drive home how bad Dallas has been in the playoffs in the last 25+ years:
- The Cowboys haven’t made the NFC Championship game since 1995 season
- Only two teams have active NFC Championship game droughts longer than the Cowboys: the Detroit Lions (last appeared in 1991) and the Washington Commanders (last appeared in 1991)
- The other 13 NFC teams have each made an NFC Championship game appearance twice since the Cowboys have been there
Yeah, it’s that bad. Even if Dallas has a successful season and clinches a playoff berth, fans will be holding their breaths until they finally see sustained success in the postseason.