��� 2014 DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL PREVIEW | INDIANA SPORTS PAGE Football | iHigh.com

CONTENTS

SPORTS

OTHER

MEDIA

IHIGH LINKS

Home » Football News

2014 DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

July 10, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



THE 2014 DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Dallas Cowboys (1977 - Pres)

HEAD COACH: JASON GARRETT, 29 – 27 AT DALLAS

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: BILL CALLAHAN

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: ROD MARINELLI

PASSING GAME COORDINATOR: SCOTT LINEHAN

POINTS PER GAME: 27.4

RUSHING: 94

PASSING: 247.1

TOTAL OFFENSE: 341.1

DEFENSE POINTS PER GAME: 27.0

RUSHING: 128.5

PASSING: 286.8

TOTAL DEFENSE: 415.3

INTERCEPTIONS: 15

SACKS: 34

TURNOVER MARGIN: +7

Dallas Cowboys (1960 - Pres)

The Dallas Cowboys have been nothing more than a mediocre team since 1996. To prove that point, their record is 136 – 136. That spells average! The 2013 version of the Dallas defense was bad ranking 32nd overall in the NFL, 27th rushing, 30th passing and 26th in points allowed. Making things even worse in the off-season the Cowboys lost two of their best players on defense. Owner Jerry Jones decided he has seen enough and hired another new defensive coordinator, the third in three years.

Dallas' offense starts with quarterback Tony Romo. Romo hasn’t got much help from his running game or the defense. He is coming off back surgery but all indications are he will be ready for training camp. Romo threw for 3828 yards and 31 touchdowns and will be playing for his third offensive coordinator in three seasons. Dallas signed Brandon Weeden in the off-season after spending his first two years in Cleveland. Dallas is running game will belong to DeMarco Murray who rushed for 1121 yards and nine touchdowns. Murray also averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Joining Murray in the Dallas backfield will be Lance Dunbar and rookie Joseph Randle. Dunbar played in only nine games last season because of injuries and Randle saw his development delayed because of surgery on his thumb.

Dallas will continue to count on tight end Jason Witten who continues to be one of the top players at his position. Gavin Escobar was selected by Dallas in the second round in 2013 but has not developed the way the coaching staff had hoped. The Cowboys will also count on James Hanna as a reserve tight end.

Receiver Dez Bryant had a huge year after catching 93 passes for 1233 yards and 13 scores. Bryant may have better numbers this season since he enters a contract year. Dallas selected Terrence Williams in the third round last year and the coaching staff is hoping he will be a nice complement opposite Bryant. Williams had a good season after catching 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns enabling the Cowboys to release receiver Miles Austin. Other receivers looking for playing time will be Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley and fifth-round pick Devin Street.

Dallas’s line was much better in 2013 led by left tackle Tyron Smith. Smith became the first Pro Bowl lineman for the Cowboys since 2010. Travis Frederick has become one of the best centers in the NFL, left guard Ron Leary had a solid first year as a starter and right tackle Doug Free improved his game immensely over 2012. To build more depth Dallas drafted Zach Martin out of Notre Dame with their first overall selection in this year’s draft. Martin is expected to start his career at right guard but will eventually move to right tackle replacing Doug Free.

With the Cowboys defense as bad as it was last year, they decided to release defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the team’s all-time sack leader. Dallas also lost defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who led the team with 11 sacks, who left for Washington as a free agent. Defensive end Anthony Spencer signed a new deal but he underwent microfracture knee surgery and may struggle to regain his old form. George Selvie returns at left end after having seven sacks in 2013. Demarcus Lawrence and free-agent Jeremy Mincey will compete for the other end spot. Defensive tackle Henry Melton was signed as a free agent from Chicago where he had 15 ½ sacks in four years. Nick Hayden will also start at defensive tackle after having 44 tackles and 16 quarterback pressures last season. Dallas is also expecting defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford to bounce back after tearing his Achilles last season.

Though linebacking corps will be manned by middle linebacker Sean Lee, if he can stay healthy. Lee missed five games last year because of injuries to his neck and hamstring. Kyle Wilber has found a new home at strong side linebacker after starting last year at defensive end. The weak side linebacker position belongs to Bruce Carter but Dallas considered him a disappointment last season. The Cowboys secondary was cut to pieces last year giving up 286.8 yards per game which ranked 30th in the NFL. Dallas will count on cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Sterling Moore, Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne. Car struggled last year and Claiborne lost his job to Scandrick last season. Claiborne has a hard time staying healthy missing seven games in the last two seasons and hasn’t shown the ability to be a playmaker. The safety positions will belong to JJ Wilcox, Matt Johnson, Barry Church and Jeff Heath.

Dallas believes they have upgraded their defense enough to make them a playoff contender this season, but we don’t see it. The Cowboys finished 8 – 8 last season missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Head coach Jason Garrett has to be feeling the pressure to keep his job if Dallas doesn’t make a strong run this season.

Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)

2014 DRAFT REVIEW:

 

Zack Martin
1st round, G, Notre Dame

 

This guy will step right in and start at one of the guard spots this year, presumably the right side for Mackenzy Bernadeau, who probably handles the backup roles at both guard and center. There has been talk of Martin returning to his collegiate position of tackle at some point, maybe in Year 2 when he gets stronger and more established in the league. But, he currently has the size and makeup of a guard and that’s probably where he’ll end up for most of his career. 

Demarcus Lawrence
2nd round, DE, Boise State

Unlike most draft classes, there could be more eyes on the second-round pick than the first. What the Cowboys had to give up (a third-round pick) to move up 13 spots in the second and take Lawrence will put some added pressure on him. The fact that he’s replacing DeMarcus Ware’s position and has the same name won’t help matters either. But the Cowboys don’t have a lot of options for a right end and while he might start out on the second team behind the likes of Anthony Spencer or Jeremy Mincey, if Lawrence meets expectations, he’ll take over sooner rather than later.

Anthony Hitchens
4th round, LB, Iowa

Right away, the Cowboys have a plan to play Hitchens as the backup to Sean Lee at middle linebacker. For that specific spot, it could be a big role for Hitchens, considering Lee’s injury history and the fact he’s coming off a neck injury that sidelined him for the last three games in 2013. Considered more a “thumper” linebacker who likes to mix it up and hit, Hitchens could get some work at outside linebacker, but don’t be surprised if he steps right into a MLB role.

Devin Street
5th round, WR, Pittsburgh

The Cowboys were pretty excited to land Street, a player with a third-round grade that they liked enough to move up in the fifth. What the club likes the most about Street is his knowledge of a pro-style offense. He already knows all of the positions, which will give him a big advantage in adjusting to the NFL. He could use a little upper-body strength and that might plague him all year. But his build is similar to Terrance Williams’ last year and they share similar on-field traits in their size and ability to get behind defenders. Street might start out as the fifth receiver, but an injury to Williams or Dez Bryant probably moves him into the No. 2 role.

Ben Gardner
7th round, DE, Stanford

A pectoral injury cut his senior season short and consequently hurt his draft stock. Gardner was a tenacious college player who has a high motor. If that translates well to the NFL, he could garner some playing snaps even as a rookie. The Cowboys have quite a few defensive linemen, so the players who stay healthy and take advantage of limited reps will get the biggest boost. Gardner must shine in fourth quarters of preseason games to stick around.

Will Smith

7th Round, OLB, Texas Tech
Like any player drafted this late, Smith’s primary task to start out will be on special teams. Aside from that, the Cowboys view him as a guy who can add depth and create competition in the linebacker corps during training camp. Smith was a tackling machine at Texas Tech, racking up 120 tackles from the weak side last season. Smith said that the “Will” linebacker spot is his specialty, and if he adapts well he could push Bruce Carter for playing time. We saw this same story play out just last year, when DeVonte Holloman joined the team in a special teams role and finished his rookie season with two starts. It remains to be seen whether Smith can follow suit.


 

Ahmad Dixon
7th Round, S, Baylor

It’s easy to write off anyone drafted just eight spots away from the end of the draft, but the lack of an established starting free safety has to be encouraging for Dixon. The Baylor veteran looks like more of a run-stopper than a ballhawk – he managed just four interceptions, compared to 288 tackles, in three years as a starter for the Bears. But again, it’s not like Dixon’s competition is that steep. The other contenders to start opposite Barry Church are a pair of second-year players in J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath, and a third-year player with no career appearances in Matt Johnson. If there’s one position on the Cowboys’ depth chart where a seventh-round pick could make some serious headway, it’s probably safety. As usual for late picks, special teams duty is a given as well.

 

 

Ken Bishop
7th Round, DT, Northern Illinois
Bishop was among the 30 players who visited the Cowboys back in April and the club was happy to see the lineman fall to them. He could very well end up getting playing time right off the bat. The active defensive tackle made 70 tackles last season, which is somewhat ridiculous considering he played nose guard. The Cowboys valued the lineman from the start, and as the only defensive tackle chosen by the team in the draft, he should get more opportunities than the typical seventh-round pick to stick around. Bishop likely starts out at the 1-technique in this defense, rotating with guys such as Nick Hayden and perhaps Terrell McClain.

Terrance Mitchell
7th Round, CB, Oregon

It didn’t sound like Mitchell realized the interest the Cowboys had in him prior to the draft, but they liked him enough to snag him before someone else could in free agency. The Cowboys’ final pick has some size for his position at 5-11, 192, and some nice stats, starting every game last season and notching five picks for the Ducks. He was clocked among the quickest defensive backs at the NFL Combine in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles. The Cowboys didn’t take another corner in the draft, which gives him a better shot to stick around, but they added a couple as undrafted free agents. Mitchell will need to show off that quickness and some special teams skills early on to earn a permanent spot on the roster.

Dallas Cowboys (1960 - Pres)

SCHEDULE:

 

The Cowboys’ 2014 season will kick off with a bang on Sunday, Sept. 7, as they are set to play host to the San Francisco 49ers from AT&T Stadium.

 

The NFL released its full, 17-week schedule for the entire league on Wednesday evening, highlighted by a renewal of the classic Dallas-San Francisco rivalry during the 3:25 p.m. slot in Week 1. That matchup pits two of the league’s most storied franchises against each other, as the two have combined for 10 Lombardi Trophies.

 

The 49ers have been one of the NFL’s best teams in recent years, as they have reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the past three seasons and the Super Bowl in 2012.

 

Despite their rich history, which includes seven playoff meetings, the Cowboys have never opened a season against the 49ers. The all-time series is split evenly at 16-16-1, with the Cowboys taking the past three games.

 

That’s just the beginning for the Cowboys, as this year’s schedule calls for five different primetime games – not to mention the Week 10 game against Jacksonville in London and the traditional Thanksgiving home game.

 

In an unusual twist, 2014 will actually see Dallas play two Thursday games. The Thanksgiving opponent will be Philadelphia – just the second time the Cowboys and Eagles have played on the holiday. One week later, on Dec. 4, the Cowboys will travel to Chicago to play the Bears on Thursday Night Football.

In addition, the Cowboys will play on Sunday Night Football three times – Sept. 28 vs. New Orleans, Nov. 23 at New York and Dec. 14 at Philadelphia. They also host Washington for Monday Night Football on Oct. 27.

The first half of the season will see the Cowboys spend plenty of time at AT&T Stadium. Six of their first nine games come at home, interrupted by trips to Tennessee in Week 2, St. Louis in Week 3 and Seattle in Week 6.

Conversely, that means a heavy slate of road trips after the team returns from London in Week 10. After the bye week in Week 11, the Cowboys play four of their final six games on the road – including all three division road games. After playing road night games against New York and Philadelphia, the season finale comes Dec. 28 at Washington.

In keeping with league trends, this is the eighth-straight year the Cowboys have finished the season against a division foe. Dallas is 2-5 in its previous seven season finales, including the last three in a row.

This season also marks the first time the Cowboys will host Arizona at AT&T Stadium. The Cardinals travel to face the Cowboys in a noon game on Nov. 2 – one week before the trip to London to face Jacksonville.

Other schedule highlights:

  • Dallas and Houston will face off Oct. 5 at noon. It’s the fourth regular season meeting between the teams since the Texans entered the league in 2002 and the first at AT&T Stadium. The two teams have played seven preseason games.
  • Texas product Andrew Luck will play his first-ever game against the Cowboys on Dec. 21, when the Indianapolis Colts travel to AT&T Stadium for a Week 16 tilt.
  • The Cowboys travel to face the defending champion Seahawks in a Week 6 game on Oct. 12. This is the third time in five years Dallas has played the defending champion – the Cowboys split a pair of games with New York in 2012, and they lost to New Orleans in 2010.
  • 2014 marks the second-straight season the Cowboys will travel to Chicago in the month of December. The Bears thumped the Cowboys, 45-28, in sub-zero temperatures last season on Monday Night Football.
  • The only other Thanksgiving game between the Cowboys and Eagles happened in 1989. The Eagles won, 27-0.

Dallas Cowboys (1977 - Pres)

 

ROSTER:

Active

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
62 Aladenoye, Josh T 6-5 329 23 R Illinois State
5 Bailey, Dan K 6-0 191 26 4 Oklahoma State
79 Bass, Ben DE 6-5 294 24 3 Texas A&M
11 Beasley, Cole WR 5-8 180 25 3 Southern Methodist
16 Benford, Tim WR 5-11 193 24 1 Tennessee Tech
73 Bernadeau, Mackenzy G 6-4 333 28 7 Bentley
66 Bishop, Ken NT 6-0 301 23 R Northern Illinois
14 Boyd, Chris WR 6-4 206 22 R Vanderbilt
88 Bryant, Dez WR 6-2 222 25 5 Oklahoma State
70 Bush, Dartwan DT 6-1 265 22 R Texas Tech
80 Byrd, LaRon WR 6-4 220 24 3 Miami (Fla.)
39 Carr, Brandon CB 6-0 206 28 7 Grand Valley State
54 Carter, Bruce LB 6-2 246 26 4 North Carolina
42 Church, Barry S 6-2 218 26 5 Toledo
24 Claiborne, Morris CB 5-11 190 24 3 LSU
63 Clarke, Brian G 6-2 296 24 R Bloomsburg
44 Clutts, Tyler FB 6-2 254 29 4 Fresno State
76 Coleman, Davon DT 6-2 297 23 R Arizona State
48 Copeland, J.C. FB 5-11 275 22 R Louisiana State
98 Crawford, Tyrone DE 6-4 284 24 3 Boise State
64 Cureton, Andre G 6-5 343 22 R Cincinnati
36 Dixon, Ahmad S 6-0 212 22 R Baylor
25 Dunbar, Lance RB 5-8 188 24 3 North Texas
52 Durant, Justin LB 6-1 228 28 8 Hampton
89 Escobar, Gavin TE 6-6 249 23 2 San Diego State
72 Frederick, Travis C 6-3 311 23 2 Wisconsin
68 Free, Doug T 6-6 325 30 8 Northern Illinois
71 Gardner, Ben DE 6-4 262 23 R Stanford
23 Hamilton, Jakar S 5-11 195 24 2 South Carolina State
7 Hanie, Caleb QB 6-2 222 28 6 Colorado State
84 Hanna, James TE 6-4 250 24 3 Oklahoma
17 Harris, Dwayne WR 5-10 207 26 4 East Carolina
96 Hayden, Nick DT 6-4 301 28 7 Wisconsin
38 Heath, Jeff S 6-1 209 23 2 Saginaw Valley State
59 Hitchens, Anthony LB 6-0 240 22 R Iowa
57 Holloman, DeVonte LB 6-2 242 23 2 South Carolina
37 Johnson, Matt S 6-1 212 24 3 Eastern Washington
6 Jones, Chris P 6-0 197 24 3 Carson-Newman
49 Kreiter, Casey LS 6-1 246 23 R Iowa
91 Ladouceur, L.P. LS 6-5 259 33 10 California
53 Lawrence, Cameron LB 6-2 234 23 2 Mississippi State
90 Lawrence, DeMarcus DE 6-3 251 22 R Boise St.
65 Leary, Ronald G 6-3 318 25 2 Memphis
58 Lemon, Orie LB 6-1 242 26 4 Oklahoma State
28 Malena, Ben RB 5-8 196 22 R Texas A&M
2 Mandell, Cody P 6-2 214 22 R Alabama
70 Martin, Zack G 6-4 305 23 R Notre Dame
55 McClain, Rolando LB 6-4 259 24 4 Alabama
97 McClain, Terrell DT 6-2 293 25 4 South Florida
69 Melton, Henry DT 6-3 295 27 6 Texas
92 Mincey, Jeremy DE 6-4 265 30 7 Florida
30 Mitchell, Terrance CB 5-11 192 22 R Oregon
26 Moore, Sterling CB 5-10 200 24 4 Southern Methodist
71 Morris, Darius T 6-4 320 26 R Temple
29 Murray, DeMarco RB 6-0 219 26 4 Oklahoma
87 Najvar, Jordan TE 6-6 256 23 R Baylor
85 Newsome, Jamar WR 6-1 201 26 1 Central Florida
74 Nwaneri, Uche G 6-3 310 30 8 Purdue
60 Okoye, Amobi DT 6-2 292 27 7 Louisville
18 Orton, Kyle QB 6-4 228 31 10 Purdue
78 Parnell, Jermey T 6-6 307 27 5 Mississippi
35 Patmon, Tyler CB 5-10 179 23 R Oklahoma State
67 Patrick, Ronald G 6-1 318 22 R South Carolina
31 Phillips, Dashaun CB 5-11 181 23 R Tarleton State
21 Randle, Joseph RB 6-0 198 22 2 Oklahoma State
95 Rayford, Caesar DE 6-7 267 28 1 Washington
9 Romo, Tony QB 6-2 236 34 12 Eastern Illinois
55 Sapp, Dontavis LB 6-2 235 22 R Tennessee
32 Scandrick, Orlando CB 5-10 195 27 7 Boise State
99 Selvie, George DE 6-4 270 27 5 South Florida
43 Smith, Keith S 6-0 199 22 R San Jose State
33 Smith, Ryan S 6-0 227 22 R Auburn
77 Smith, Tyron T 6-5 318 23 4 USC
40 Smith, Will LB 6-2 227 22 R Texas Tech
93 Spencer, Anthony DE 6-3 262 30 8 Purdue
15 Street, Devin WR 6-3 190 23 R Pittsburgh
10 Vaughan, Dustin QB 6-5 233 23 R West Texas A&M
13 Washington, L'Damian WR 6-4 188 23 R Missouri
20 Webb, B.W. CB 5-11 178 24 2 William & Mary
3 Weeden, Brandon QB 6-3 220 30 3 Oklahoma State
75 Weems, Darrion T 6-5 320 25 2 Oregon
61 Wetzel, John T 6-7 315 22 1 Boston College
74 Whaley, Chris DT 6-3 272 23 R Texas
51 Wilber, Kyle LB 6-4 250 25 3 Wake Forest
27 Wilcox, J.J. S 6-0 217 23 2 Georgia Southern
34 Williams, Ryan RB 5-9 207 24 2 Virginia Tech
83 Williams, Terrance WR 6-2 200 24 2 Baylor
56 Wilson, Martez DE 6-4 252 25 4 Illinois
46 Windsor, Joe LB 6-0 232 22 R Northern Illinois
82 Witten, Jason TE 6-6 261 32 12 Tennessee

Reserve/Injured

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
74 Green, Tyronne G 6-2 316 28 5 Auburn
50 Lee, Sean LB 6-2 234 27 5 Penn State
60 Pughsley, Jarrod G 6-4 310 23 R Akron

Tags INDIANA SPORTS PAGE • Publisher
Rate This Article
Thanks for rating this article!
Share This Article  
Facebook
Google
» Be the first to leave a comment
Comments (0)

Announcements

Partner


Partner