Aikman: Cowboys are close to a playoff run, but here is what they need
Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman spoke to 1310 The Ticket this past week. Some highlights:
As you watch the playoffs and study the teams, how far away are the Cowboys in comparison to those teams and from making their own run in the playoffs?
Yea, I don’t think they’re that far off. I think that they’re more talented than the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle was 7-9, I understand that, within their division. But they beat a pretty good team against New Orleans and New Orleans has their holes defensively. I have this discussion with a number of people locally that cover the Cowboys and that are around the team a lot and I think there’s a notion here in Dallas that, well, because there is name recognition with a lot of these players that then, around the league, that assumes that they’re good players.
And I think there is some truth to that, but this is a talented team; I don’t think there is a coach in football that wouldn’t mind taking over this team and as they are with the existing players and going out and seeing what he can do with them. Now, they need to address the offensive line: those guys are getting a little bit older and bring in one or two more quality guys there. They got to address they safety position and some other things but that’s not unlike any of these teams. Whoever goes on to win the Super Bowl, there’s going to be areas that have to be addressed.
And right now, looking at the playoff teams, for instance, we had New England in the preseason and over the years, this team went from early in [Tom] Brady’s career, they were a running football team. Then they went to the passing offense in ’07 when they went undefeated and put up the huge numbers and Brady had 50 touchdowns or whatever it was. And then, this year, they drafted two young tight ends, rookies, and they let [Randy] Moss go; [Wes] Welker was coming off knee injury; they had a bunch of young players on the defensive side of the ball; and everybody there in New England, locally, was saying this was a transitional year for the Patriots, they’re not going to be as good and they got to re-identify themselves as to what they’re going to be. They go 14-2.
And so, the only point that I make is that there’s a lot of things that go into winning football games and the Cowboys are plenty talented enough to go out and win a lot of football games.
And it all starts with the quarterback. If you have a good quarterback and good coach, you can go far in this league. Do you agree?
Yea, I think you got to have both. I’ve always believed you got to have good players and you got to have good coaching. One without the other isn’t going to get it done but the place where you got to start is you got to start at quarterback. And all of the teams that are going to go on and do great things this year are going to have a quarterback that’s really good and has played well. And if you don’t have that, you’re not going to be very consistent, you’re kind of holding your breath each and every week and then you don’t know what direction you’re going with the rest of your personnel and what you’re going to be regarded as, as an offense. So, the fact that the Cowboys have Tony Romo and everyone believes he’s a franchise guy – I certainly believe that – it’s a great place to start and there are some other good, young players on this team: Dez Bryant coming back from his injury and of course, Jason Witten being a part of that. And on the defensive side of the ball: DeMarcus Ware , Jay Ratliff, those are pretty solid pieces to build any team around. And some teams have won with a lot less, I know that.