Usually when you are evaluating a player’s rookie season, the analysis ends with something like, “…but he has plenty of room to improve.” That statement doesn’t ring true for either of the Dallas Cowboys’ young stars.
As a matter of fact, it’s gonna be nearly impossible to repeat, much less improve on 5.1 yards per carry if you are Ezekiel Elliott. Especially, considering you top that off with 1,631 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
For Dak, it’s that daunting 104.9 QB rating. That will be looming over his head all season especially if he throws more than four interceptions.
Dallas fans are saying these two performed at this level because they are cool, calm, collected, and have ice in their veins. Everyone else knows though, that even though Matt Ryan deserved it, the Cowboys Offensive-Line were the true league MVP. Being successful behind them is like sitting atop the walls of a fortress reigning down arrows on your enemies and claiming to be brave.
The truth of the matter is, maturity comes by learning from your mistakes. It’s impossible for a muscle to grow unless it’s broken down first. These two had very little to learn from in 2016 and it will start to show next season when they try to live up to expectations.
The other angle you could take is that they are already mature and just naturally that good. There are two very strong reasons why I don’t believe this theory though.
- The Giants beat them twice before any other team did. That indicates to me that they can be figured out. Also, that seems to prove that it is more of a style thing than skill.
- After playing a very solid season, they looked incredibly rusty after a bye week in the first round of the playoffs and were completely outmatched by one of the most banged up defenses in the league.
So, unfortunately for the Cowboys soon to be sophomores, there seems to be nowhere to go but down. Especially in a city that will be expecting them to improve as a team and outdo their individual performances.
There will be times during next season where these two will show flashes of their old selves. However, now that teams have ample tape to study, I expect them to stumble under the weight of it shell.