The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East in 2018. With Ezekiel Elliott leading the way, the Cowboys returned to the playoffs with a 10-win season. After winning a playoff game against the Seahawks, the Cowboys bowed out against the Rams.
Moving into 2019, the Cowboys have been heavily involved in the spotlight as Ezekiel Elliott is threatening to hold out into the season. With the Cowboys fulfilling the role as America’s team, here is the look of the criticism that plagues the organization.
#1: The Cowboys cannot win without Ezekiel Elliott.
With Elliott potentially holding out, many analysts and fans have criticized the Cowboys for being too nonchalant in their attempts to appease Elliott. Many people believe the Cowboys would suffer mightily without Elliott. However, Dallas has improved in all other facets over the past couple seasons. With the passing game and defense looking to play at a high-level, the loss of Elliott would not be catastrophic to the Cowboys. It would certainly hurt their chances of winning the Super Bowl, but the Cowboys would still be a good team with or without Elliot. They are a likely playoff team even if Elliott were to miss part of the season. If Elliott holds out for the entire season, the Cowboys are unlikely to win the division, but they would likely stand at the top of the NFC Wild Card pile.
#2: Dak Prescott is not a good quarterback.
Prescott has done everything right in the NFL. He has yet to miss a start, he does not throw many interceptions, and he has led the Cowboys to the playoffs in two of three seasons. Prescott, while not the flashiest of quarterbacks, can complete the task of being an NFL quarterback consistently. There are better quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Cowboys should be happy to have a high-level player like Dak Prescott. Moving forward, Prescott should build stronger chemistry with wide receiver Amari Cooper and tight Jason Witten, who unretired in the off-season.
#3: Jason Garrett is not a good coach.
Garrett is not a terrible coach, but he consistently is not recognized as one of the top 10 or 15 coaches in the NFL. Garrett seems to be on a very short leash in Dallas as he gets short extensions when the Cowboys do well. The hot seat will not appear in Dallas unless the Cowboys have a terrible season, so Garrett should be employed for the next few seasons by Dallas. There are better coaches in the NFL than Garrett, but the cowboys can be thankful that they have had minimal coaching turnover in the past decade.
Verdict: He is not top ten, but he is not a bad coach.
The Cowboys season hinges on Ezekiel Elliott and his potential hold out. The Cowboys are talented enough to make the playoffs without the services of Elliott, but he is their key to getting to the Super Bowl. The likes of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and a strong offensive line should enable the Cowboys to have regular success with or without No. 21.
Verdict with Elliott: 11 wins, Wild Card berth
Verdict without Elliott: 10 wins, Wild Card berth