The 2024 offseason has suddenly arrived, perhaps much sooner than the Cowboys were expecting.
Just like that, the focus now shifts towards next year, with free agency beginning in March, followed by the NFL Draft in April.
Before we take a deep dive into the next steps for this team, let's take a look back to the 2023 season, with a monthly recap of what went right and wrong for the Cowboys.
Today, let's conclude with the month of January.
Employee of the Month: Umm… Jake Ferguson? It's hard to give anyone this title considering the only game that really counted was the playoff loss to the Packers and no one had that great of a game. Ferguson took advantage of the Packers' soft-zone defense in the second half and caught three touchdowns, just the second player in franchise history to catch three in a playoff game.
They Looked Like Contenders When: This has to be something from the Washington game. The Cowboys were able to not only put away the Commanders in the second half and cruise to a 28-point win, but that set them up as the No. 2 seed and a chance to have two home games. A matchup against the inexperienced Packers with a quarterback who had never started a playoff game seemed to be a perfect match for a Cowboys team that was 8-0 at home. At that moment, yes, the Cowboys looked like contenders with their best chance to "contend" in years.
Reaching for the Panic Button When: Even down 20-0 to the Packers late in the second quarter, all hope wasn't lost. A touchdown before the half, coupled with getting the ball to start the third was at least reason for hope. But when Dak Prescott threw an interception to Darnell Savage coming out of the 2-minute warning, the Packers went up 27-0 and there was no climbing out of that hole. At that point, there was no reason to even panic because a comeback wasn't in the cards.
Something to Remember: When the regular season ended in Washington, the Cowboys finished with the NFL leaders in 13 different categories. Whether it was the team scoring the most points per game, or CeeDee Lamb leading in receptions, Dak with the most TD passes, Aubrey with the most points scored or Bland with the most interceptions, it's worth pointing out that the Cowboys indeed had a good season with a lot of individual playmakers that will be coming back. While the season ended with a major disappointment, it shouldn't be overlooked that there is plenty of talent still on the team and enough to build around.
Something to Forget: The Cowboys' run defense was absolutely not good enough at times during the season and it showed up again in the playoffs. The Packers were able to establish a running game behind Aaron Jones that kept the Cowboys on their heels the entire day. There were only six losses by the team all season, but gave up an average of 166.8 yards per game in the losses. In the 12 wins, the Cowboys gave up just 89.3 yards per game in the wins. Maybe this should also fall into the "remember" category so the Cowboys can make sure and address this in the offseason.