Cowboys Make Changes for the Better

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is showing going through rookie mini camp drills.  — by Josiah Williams
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is showing going through rookie mini camp drills.  — by Josiah Williams

Dallas Cowboy fans need some cheering up. They have witnessed Dez Bryant be released and watched Jason Witten retire. Rap legend, Tupac Shakur, had a song called “Keep your head up.” At some point in the song, he said was “trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.” That's exactly what the Dallas Cowboys have had to do with their current roster.

Unlike other teams with tons of cap space, the Cowboys haven't been able to spend much for several years now. Instead of cashing in on the best free agents available, they have had to work be careful with their money and look for bargain deals. Additionally, the NFL Draft is essentially a time to roll the dice on rookies who cost less than veterans on the market.

Dallas was smart to hold on to their second-round pick in exchange for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. According to Ian Rapport, the Cowboys “balked at the idea” of giving up the 50th overall pick in the second round. Seattle wanted a little bit more than a 3rd round pick. Instead, they opted to draft University of Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams.

Why would they give up a pick in the second round when they have had so much success there? In the 2017 draft , the Cowboys drafted cornerback Chidobe Awuzie in the second round. He didn't play every game in the first year but once he was placed as a starting corner, he began shutting down one side of the field.

In the 2016 draft, Jaylon Smith who would have been a top 5 pick before getting injured) has become a risk worth taking and there is no doubt he will continue to make plays. In the 2015 draft, one could argue Randy Gregory was a mistake. Not because of his talent but his problems off the field and getting suspended time and time again.

However, most notably, in 2014, Demarcus Lawrence was drafted and had the most sacks in the NFL this past season. It's a smart move not trade so much of your future players for a big name player. Earl Thomas is a great player, but if the Cowboys thought they were one player away from the super bowl, they would have pulled the trigger.

Instead of trading for Thomas, they hired his former defensive coordinator, Kris Richard. While he is won't be on the field, he will begin to reshape the defense into a great one. Richard Sherman had nothing but high praise for him. “He goes over basically every scenario you can be put in in a game and he prepares us for that. You're rarely ever surprised going into a ballgame by a formation or a play that they're going to run.”

Dallas chose to focus on making more changes to the coaching staff than adding star players. Who can blame them? Last season, one could argue the coaching staff dropped the ball when facing adversity. Look at the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and how he handles misfortune. When Tom Brady was suspended for four games, the Pats still managed to go 3-1.

When Ezekiel Elliot was suspended for 6 games in the 2017 regular season, the Cowboys lost three straight games and didn't get another win until week 13. Tyron Smith, the best tackle in the NFL goes down and the coaching staff doesn't adjust well at all.

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn was teeing off on back up tackle Chaz Green all game long. Not enough adjustment was made throughout the game. The right thing to do would have been to either bench him or have a running back chip. The staff waits too long to make changes. How long can you watch yourself bleed before action is taken to stop it?

Consider the red-hot Boston Celtics. They added Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in the offseason. When they were both lost for the season due to injury, Brad Stevens led this team to the Eastern Conference Finals with young players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier.

In a similar process, the Cowboys are doing the right thing by continuing to develop the team through the draft, make cost-efficient trades, and improve the young core already in place. The difference is the lacking coaching and success. They need to coach better. Getting big names doesn't always get the job done.