(Football season is finally approaching. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 25. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com has previewed the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2019. This is the final entry.)
FRISCO, Texas – The offseason is history. It's time for training camp and the Cowboys' pursuit of a special season.
Will this wind up being a "Super" season? Time will tell. But the goal for all 32 teams is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. The Cowboys are no different.
So, based on their success last year and their work in the offseason, is this a "Super Bowl or bust" roster? That's the final installment in our 20 Questions series.
David Helman: Even when you're a legitimate Super Bowl contender, getting there is so much easier said than done. Ask the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs if they were "Super Bowl or bust" last year. It's hard to place those expectations on a team when so much has to go right. But I'll do my best not to cop out of this question. The Dallas Cowboys are absolutely one of the three or four most talented teams in the NFC. There's no reason why they can't be playing in the final game of the season. And with the amount of hefty contracts they're about to pay out, they'd be smart to make that push sooner rather than later. I don't know if that means they'll make the Super Bowl, but I will say this: If this season doesn't result in the Cowboys winning multiple playoff games for the first time since the 1995 season, it will be a complete disappointment.
Bryan Broaddus: From top to bottom this roster is one of the best in the league on paper, but what you do on paper and how you play are two different things. The front office/coaches have to feel as if they have put together one that could compete for one of the top two spots in the conference. The schedule does them no favors, but I thought they played a tougher one in 2016 and managed to win 13 games with a rookie quarterback/running back. So in my opinion this current roster is just as talented and more experienced. With those lofty expectations comes the pressure on everyone involved to deliver. Not only is there pressure on Jason Garrett but this roster as well. Garrett's job will likely not depend on him winning a Super Bowl, but let's not forget what happened two seasons ago in Philadelphia with their talented roster. If things fall right, this squad could have a run similar to what we saw with the Eagles that season, which would take a great deal of pressure off the entire operation.
Rob Phillips: I have no doubt this team, to a man, will be disappointed if they don't get there. That tells you a lot. Now, as I said in our previous entry, you need a lot of luck – particularly in the injury department – to get that far. But the 2019 Cowboys return 20 of 22 starters from a team that reached the NFC divisional round in 2018. Travis Frederick and Jason Witten are back. They added Robert Quinn to the pass rush. And, that 3-5 start last season might have been the best thing that happened to the young guys. The experience they got battling back from that midseason hole was invaluable. The schedule on paper is much tougher this year. But they expect to be better than last season. I agree.
Lindsay Draper: It seems utterly ridiculous to say, "Well, they lost the divisional round last year, so obviously, an NFC Championship would do it." But it's pretty clear that this team – not far off from last year – is stacked with talent. Super Bowl or bust seems a bit unrealistic, since every season brings about unforeseen challenges. But I'd absolutely say that this team is definitely in the midst of a championship 'window' right now.
Mickey Spagnola: This is a pretty darn good roster, and probably a lot better than most people outside these walls think. The Cowboys' offense was pretty strong the second half of last season, scoring at least 27 points in five of the final eight games, and winning two of the three they didn't. And the offense basically returns intact, likely four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick and 11-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten the only potential new starters, along with the addition of highly-regarded veteran receiver Randall Cobb as the third receiver. The defense last season finished seventh in the NFL, highest finish since No. 1 in 2003. And to think, Leighton Vander Esch now has a year of experience. Linebacker Sean Lee begins the season healthy, figuring to start on the strong side. Byron Jones will have a full season at corner under his belt. Same with Xavier Woods as a starting free safety. And depth on the D-Line should be much improved with the addition of Robert Quinn, Trysten Hill, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington and a full year of starting experience for Antwaun Woods. And though the Cowboys did get beat in the second round of the playoffs, the loss was to the NFC champion Rams. So absolutely, this is a roster capable of advancing to the Super Bowl. But saying the season is a "bust" if they don't ultimately get there is a tad harsh. That would mean in the end, 30 teams will have busted by Feb. 2, 2020. Still, don't be afraid to expect much more from this team than last year.