The Cowboys are still so fatally flawed despite having the NFC’s best team on paper

the cowboys are still so fatally flawed despite having the nfc’s best team on paper

Mike McCarthy tries to explain something to Dak Prescott before a 2022 Cowboys game.

This is the online version of our daily newsletter, The Morning Win. Subscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning. Here’s Robert Zeglinski.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

The Dallas Cowboys, in March, look like an absolute juggernaut.

Before I go any further, just to reiterate: Dallas looks like a powerhouse … in March.

While everyone in this year’s NFL free agency period threw around money and massive contracts willy-nilly, the Cowboys played the open market game from afar. As such, they made two very savvy moves you might have missed. (Oh, and they let ex-tight end Dalton Schultz make the worst blunder.)

For the low price of two fifth-round draft picks and a sixth-rounder (seriously, though, what the heck?), the Cowboys acquired cornerback Stephon Gilmore and receiver Brandin Cooks in two separate trades. While both are in their early 30s and likely past their primes, Gilmore and Cooks remain two of the better players at their respective positions.

On a good day, they can still play like absolute stars!

This means that for the cost of three low-end draft prospects who likely would have never amounted to anything in the NFL, the already talented Cowboys filled in their two arguable biggest needs on paper: a CB2 to Trevon Diggs, and a WR2 to CeeDee Lamb.

It’s kind of bonkers if you think about it.

With the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles hemorrhaging core pieces, and the San Francisco 49ers continuing to toy around at quarterback, it seems pretty clear the Cowboys now have the conference’s best team.

That’s right. More than most overhyped years, the now-complete Cowboys have no excuse but to make a deep postseason run and plow through the NFC en route to Super Bowl 58. They have everything!

A great offensive line. A dynamite, multifaceted running back in Tony Pollard. An incredible pass rush led by Micah Parsons. Stellar skill playmakers on both sides of the ball. This team has no flaws … on paper.

Oh, come on, you knew there was a variation of “but” coming.

The Cowboys do look awesome right now, but their issue in recent years hasn’t been a talented roster. Nor will it be what inevitably sinks them in January 2024. Despite the Cowboys’ free agent trade savviness, what holds them back are still Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys can load up all they want. They can have no true weaknesses and throw a kitchen sink at their opponents every week. But this team will go nowhere when it matters until McCarthy and Prescott address their respective trademark playoff short-circuiting. Head coach and quarterback are the two worst places to have self-combust in the playoffs. Dallas might have the league’s worst combination in that regard.

And it isn’t particularly close.

So let Gilmore and Cooks help the Cowboys enjoy some good times in the regular season with 12-14 wins. They probably will! Because when the calendar shifts to January, McCarthy and Prescott together give me zero reasons to trust this bumbling organization.

Quick Hits: Explaining THAT Mavericks play … March Madness Sweet 16 picks … and more.

the cowboys are still so fatally flawed despite having the nfc’s best team on paper

Tim Heitman/Getty Images

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