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Revisiting the Cowboys Title Blueprint

Dez Bryant

In the mid-’90’s, then Packers general manager Ron Wolf was asked by a disgruntled fan when Green Bay would finally beat the Dallas Cowboys?  Wolf had built the team into a contender, but they lost seven consecutive games to Dallas between ’93 and ’96.  Three of those losses came in the playoffs.  Coincidentally, all seven games were played in Dallas, leading to toxic levels of paranoia among the Cheeseheads.  The anti-Packer conspiracy theories they hatched were incredible. Wolf gave the fan some tough love, noting that his team’s breakdown of talent showed that the Cowboys then had more players among the NFL’s top 100 than any other club.  That was especially true on offense, where eight members of the ’95 team were voted to the Pro Bowl. Two of the three omitted, fullback Daryl Johnston and right tackle Erik Williams, had made the Pro Bowl in previous years. The Packers might be closing, but they were simply outgunned.  Wolf refused to pump up his fan with false hope. We’ve come a long way from those heady days, but the Cowboys appear to have rediscovered that blueprint.  The team’s brass hasn’t finished the job, but it’s again following the ’90s offense-first plan. Let’s use’s current Top 100 list as a barometer.  The network is rolling out the list in slow time, filling the summer months. It’s reached the early 50s, and already four Cowboys players have made the list, all from the offense.  Tight end Jason Witten, running back DeMarco Murray, left tackle Tyron Smith and quarterback Tony Romo have been tapped.  There’s every reason to expect that Dez Bryant will appear in the top 50.  That’s five top players on the offensive side of the ball. And that list could grow in the near future. If center Travis Frederick continues on his rookie performance curve, he could reach the Pro Bowl next February and crash 2015’s top 100.  If top draftee Zach Martin provides a return on investment comparable to Smith’s and Frederick’s, the line could return to the level of those gilded ’90s units. Six or seven potential Pro Bowlers on offense hearkens back to the title years. It also shows the Dallas Cowboys have finally committed to taking its strongest unit and building it up first.  It’s a solid step towards contention.  The defense will require a lot more upgrades, but having a new Cadillac offense suggests the waiting should be entertaining, if nothing else. Next: How far does the defense have to improve to be “contender caliber?”

Rafael Vela
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for
Rafael Vela

  • Mandmeisterx

    Trading away premium picks doesn’t help their cause.

    • McShrek

      And there is study to document just that approach…….trading premium picks is sheer lunacy unless a team is one player from legit contention… a Charles Haley type talent missing from a defense