The Dallas Cowboys have had an interesting off-season thus far; they allowed some big-time contributors walk out the door, most of the players they signed were their own and saw Doug Free and Tony Romo retire. Instead of playing with free agent dollars, the team continued the trend of drafting replacements for those lost.
While this is optimal for building the franchise, has it left the Cowboys a little thin on leaders? Free, Romo, Barry Church and Brandon Carr have left a void with the team. You might not have liked the way they performed all the time, but Free was a major voice the offensive linemen’s room, and the same can be said for Carr and Church in the secondary.
Leadership cannot be calculated in statistics or by analyzing a player’s worth to a team. Collectively, the loss of these men will be felt around the Cowboys. Players will need to step up and take on more of a leadership role in their absence.
The good news is, the team has plenty of people capable of doing that. The offensive line has Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, who are all qualified to take on a bigger role in Free’s absence. Frederick feels like the best fit to step up and be the voice for the offensive line. He’s already a top communicator making the line calls on gameday, he is the logical choice. It’s no knock on the elder statesman Smith, but he appears to be more of a leader by example, a valuable role as well.
Orlando Scandrick can do the same at cornerback, especially with his fiery personality. Byron Jones’ time has come to be the leader at safety.
The biggest void to fill always comes at quarterback, where Romo led for years. However, it’s also the easiest replacement. Dak Prescott proved last season that he is a natural born leader and he had already taken over the team in Romo’s absence. Players gravitate towards Prescott and they believe in him, something that usually takes a few years in the NFL. Prescott has a great gift to rally players and is wise beyond his playing experience.
Dallas, despite losing many of their strongest personalities in the locker room, is not hurting for leaders. There is still Jason Witten, Sean Lee, even Dez Bryant and more. There also plenty of players capable of picking up the slack for the men they lost in the off-season.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi