We are more than two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams stare at mini-camps, OTAs and more, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Next up are the Dallas Cowboys.
No, we aren’t retiring the jersey number of longtime quarterback Tony Romo. He’s off to the TV booth with CBS after stepping down from the game. Actually, it’s the fact that the Dallas Cowboys won nine more games in ’16 than it did the previous year. Such a turnaround is tied for third in NFL history. Jason Garrett’s club won the NFC East with a 13-3 record. This was one season after finishing in the division basement with a 4-12 mark. Of course, it helps when you have a reliable running game and one starting quarterback in rookie Dak Prescott. In 2015, Garrett’s club used four different starters behind center.
One season earlier, there was instability and lack of execution when it came to the offense. Hence, Romo was limited to four starts. All told, these were some of the reasons the Cowboys finished tied with the Tennessee Titans with a league-high 33 turnovers. Enter an efficient Prescott , who earned 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. There was also rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and that talent-laden offensive front. Only Super Bowl LI-bound New England Patriots (11) and Atlanta Falcons (11) and the 12-4 Oakland Raiders (14) turned over the ball fewer times than the NFC East champion Cowboys (15).
Why drive when you can fly? That’s the best way to describe opponents facing the defense of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Yes, the club allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league. But part of that success was based on the fact that only six teams in the NFL gave up more yards through the air. Rod Marinelli’s defensive unit surrendered only 34 offensive touchdowns. But 25 of those visits to the end zone came through the air. In the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers threw for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns (1 interception). And the NFC’s No. 1 seed was sent home via a 34-31 loss.