The Dallas Cowboys haven’t reached the Super Bowl since winning last time in 1995, and they haven’t made it to the NFC Championship since then.
This marked a new era for the organization when they entered the 2020 season under head coach Mike McCarthy, who replaced Jason Garrett after he was fired at the end of last year.
Dallas finished the 2019 8-8 season and consequently missed the playoffs after having appeared in the driver’s seat at NFC East, all despite boasting a league No. 1 violation.
For Jeff Reinebold, it’s time for one of the NFL-level franchises to translate his talent pool to success on the ground once again.
“Complementary football, it’s something we talk about as coaches all the time,” Reinebold said. “Your offense must play well so that your defense can play well and special teams must complement both sides of the ball. That is an area that was not played well by Cowboys last year.
“They have spikes where they look like they will be a team that will reach the playoffs and make a deep run and then have spikes where they play without interest. They really go up and down.
“I am often criticized as a cowboy hater and that is not the case. I really respect this organization but the cowboy for me for the last 20 years is ‘all hats and no cows’, as they say in Texas.
“It’s like that beautiful shining car, you go to a Porsche dealer and he gives you 9/11 and he put a Volkswagen engine in it and it really is like that.”
The Cowboys reinforced their offense again in the NFL Draft by picking the wide recipient of the Oklahoma CeeDee Lamb with the overall pick No. 17, adding the newly extended Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and the running star back Ezekiel Elliott.
Central Wisconsin, Tyler Biadasz was designed as a potential long-term replacement for retired Travis Frederick, while cornerback Trevon Diggs filled the gap left by free agent Byron Jones and tackling defense Neville Gallimore arrived as another large body on the front lines.
“If you only see what they have done in the offseason, you will say this team is ready to take over the division,” Reinebold added. “But they have to do it and that’s always a problem with the Cowboys.
“In Texas they say ‘he is all hat and there are no cows’ which means he is all showing and cannot give. I think this will be a team that will have real high expectations entering this season.
“This is a soccer team that is too talented not to playoff. They have done a good job on paper in the offseason. Now can they put all the drama, all the ‘American Team’ things behind them and just play soccer.”
Cowboys have their quarterback franchise at Dak Prescott, with the two parties still negotiating a profitable new long-term deal for the fourth round of 2016.
Prescott came second with a passing yard (4,902) and fourth through touchdown (30) in the league last year, but continued to split opinions.
“Their violations ended in second place after graduating in the league, I don’t know why he received the criticism he received, I really didn’t,” admitted Reinebold.
“Obviously when you are a Cowboy midfielder, you will always be compared to Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, but I think he is one of the best young midfielders in the league.”
Prescott was assigned the previous exclusive offseason franchise tag, which was reported to be worth around $ 31 million.
“I think he proves he can win in many different ways,” Reinebold added. “As Kirk Cousins said, ‘the label is your friend’ so just do your job, take care of your business.
“This is a child who has been through a lot of chaos in his personal life and he handles himself very well, I think.”
On the defense the Cowboys lost Robert Quinn’s final defense to the Chicago Bears during a free agent, but managed to steal it when they recruited Utah DE Bradley Anae in the fifth round.
He and Gallimore followed the veteran free agent handling Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy through the door, while outside midfielder DeMarcus Lawrence remained an integral component.
Leighton third-year linebacker Vander Esch meanwhile suggested he fully recover from the neck surgery he underwent at the end of last year.
“This will be an interesting transition to see how this works because this is a philosophical transition that will take place,” Reinebold continued. “Mike Nolan, the new defense coordinator, is a man who has a very large 3-4 background.
“In the past with (Rod) Marinelli it was all 4-3. One of the first things they did was out and they got the size. You get Dontari Poe which is 350 lbs and six foot-three and McCoy next to you. You are now big.”
Nolan will also have Aldon Smith ready to help after the defensive end is restored by the league following an unlimited suspension for violating the league’s personal behavior and substance abuse policy.
Smith, who was recruited No. 7 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, has not played in the NFL since 2015.
“I remember when I met Aldon Smith at the 49ers facility and I wasn’t very impressed with the big people because I had been around them for a long time, but he was different,” Reinebold said.
“He’s a different cat. If he can manage his life, I pray for him, because he’s a very talented football player.”
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