FRISCO - The 2022 NFL offseason is winding down, with time to take a breath to review what was accomplished ... and in the case of Sports Illustrated's top writers as they examine the Dallas Cowboys, what wasn't accomplished.
Via Albert Breer and Connor Orr, "Here are some key questions and answers from both of us as we recharge the battery in anticipation of the marathon football season starting a few weeks from now'' ... with a focus on two Cowboys mentions in two areas of "NFL winners vs. losers'' ...
Which team didn’t do enough this offseason and could struggle this season?
Breer: The Patriots. You might be surprised to hear that—but I look at the attrition in the coaching staff (especially losing Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas to coach the Raiders), and an offensive group around Mac Jones that still seems to need a quarterback to elevate it (like Tom Brady could), rather than manage it (like Mac Jones can), and I feel like I’m waiting for Bill Belichick to pull another rabbit out of his hat. Toss in a completely remade linebacker group, and an issue at corner, and I have a lot of questions.
Orr: The Cowboys. I’m surprised, somewhat, that the Cowboys did not punch the accelerator this offseason. After watching both the Rams and Buccaneers take home Lombardi trophies in consecutive years, it’s obvious the formula is amassing a talent glut so significant that no other team can compete. The Cowboys’ young core is rounding into their collective athletic prime. Supplement them with a little more than Dante Fowler.
And one more Cowboys mention before our boots-on-the-ground reaction ...
The free agent move I liked the most was …
Breer: The Bengals signing La’el Collins. I like it in part because it happened after they brought in linemen Alex Cappa and Ted Karras—which showed they were willing to go over the top to fix the issue in front of Joe Burrow, one that probably cost the franchise its first Lombardi. Collins is different from anyone Cincinnati had last year, and because he played for Bengals line coach Frank Pollack in Dallas, he arrives as a known commodity. That he’s been a part of elite lines in the past is the icing on the cake.
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Our takes: The SI national guys aren't "wrong.'' Most Cowboys fans agree with the "accelerator'' take, but they should at least be armed with Dallas' philosophy here, which is to keep the roster and the cap balanced while chasing annual success.
That doesn't make the philosophy right - but we might argue a bit with the insistence that the Rams' way and the Bucs' way is "obviously THE WAY.''
Background is also required to understand why Dallas gave away Collins, a talented mainstay in a good offensive line who never quite handled himself here with maturity and professionalism.
For the record, we've wrestled with some of the same issues Breer and Orr discuss here. Who needs "balance'' when a signing of Anthony Barr or Von Miller or Bobby Wagner might be a put-you-over-the-top move? Why is displeasure with the behavior of Collins (and, for that matter, of Amari Cooper) suddenly a big deal?
In the end, it's OK to rip the Cowboys for their offseason as long as we know the reasons. And it's fascinating to see the New England Patriots bunched in here, as we're quite certain that Bill Belichick has his reasons.
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