Anyone who tells you they expected to the Cowboys to win 13 games, including a playoff game, in 2014 when the season began is a liar. Now, what do the Cowboys have to do to repeat their success in 2015?
What to do: Re-sign Rolando McClain
Heading into the 2014 season, the Cowboys' defense was expected to be just as bad, if not worse, than the 2013 unit that was historically bad and the worst defense in the NFL. Somehow, the Cowboys put a defense on the field that finished in the middle of the pack of NFL defenses, which with their offense is more than enough to be successful.
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A big reason for the doubt entering the season was the fact they had lost middle linebacker Sean Lee for the season in OTAs with a torn ACL, and they'd of course lost Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware to free agency. In all honesty, you would've been hard pressed to find a worse linebacking corps in the league than the Cowboys, at that point.
Of course, it ended up probably being the strength of the defense throughout the season and a big reason for that was the play of Rolando McClain, an admitted head case who had retired and dealt with all sorts of off-the-field issues before he'd even reached the age of being in his athletic prime.
McClain, who is just 25, rediscovered his love for the game and put together a great year, showing why he was a star at Alabama and a high draft pick.
He has the makings of a star and is supremely talented and athletic, and he showed it with a great season that ended on a sour note with him battling illness and two concussions in as many weeks in the Cowboys' final two games.
Now, McClain is a free agent after he was brought in on a low-risk, one-year deal. The risk more than paid off, and now the Cowboys have to decide if they want him back. The health issues at the end of the year might help the Cowboys in negotiations, and he's still a bit of a character risk. So it's a distinct possibility that McClain could be re-signed to a club-friendly deal, which would be huge considering Lee's uncertainty heading into next year. If both are healthy, then look out.
Previous to-do items: Draft defense