The Changing Faces of the Dallas Cowboys: How It Will Affect the NFC East

In the 2010 regular season for the Dallas Cowboys, it was first a season of downs as Wade Phillips and the Cowboys lost six straight games and subsequently fired by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shortly thereafter.  Then in came the interim head coach Jason Garrett promoted from offensive coordinator mid-season to head the team.  The Dallas Cowboys offense woke up, and the defense did as well.  They proceeded to play spoilers afterwards, playing generally competitively, even without their quarterbacks Jon Kitna or Tony Romo in their last game against the Philadelphia Eagles.  In the past couple of weeks, quarterback Tony Romo is feeling better, and the coaching staff has new hires.  These new hires should change the complexion of the team and affect the rivals in the NFC East.

During the past five seasons, the Dallas Cowboys defense has always been either the 8th or 9th ranked overall defense, but this season they fell to 23rd overall, near the bottom of the league. Even when their offense was strong with Tony Romo at the helm, their offense has always found ways to implode at the most inopportune time under former head coach Wade Phillips.

Most importantly, Rob Ryan, Rex Ryan’s brother employed by the New York Jets, has become the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.  This should help at least restore the defense from this season’s dismal showing into the top 10 defenses overall.  If Rob Ryan is any reflection of Rex, this will become a troublesome defense for quarterbacks and opposing offensive lines to deal with.  According to Rob, “the more you hit the quarterback, the better you’re going to do.”  The New York Jets defense can uphold that remark.  With DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James and Terence Newman at his disposal, any configuration close to the current Jets defense will create havoc for offensive lines.

The promotion of Jason Garrett’s brother, John Garrett, as tight end coach/passing-game coordinator should be beneficial to tight ends Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett and assist quarterback Tony Romo for next season.  If Garrett can assist in development of the offense, it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.  If talent can be developed and the complex routes ensue, it will give the NFC East and the rest of the league fits.

But time is still early, and the next season has yet to begin.  Whether the collective bargaining agreement is resolved by March or not, Jason Garrett realizes he is on a short leash with owner Jerry Jones.  Garrett closed the season with a win over the formerly third-seeded, playoff-bound Philadelphia Eagles 14-13 with third option quarterback Stephen McGee.  Now that Tony Romo is healthy, Jason Garrett and the Cowboys are poised to be better in the upcoming season.  The changes in the offense and the defense could add many wrinkles in the NFC East and the rest of the league.

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