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    Will the Cowboys Have Another Disappointing Season? 5 Reasons for Pessimism Ahead of NFL Training Camp

    Despite being 36-15 over the last three seasons, the Dallas Cowboys are being viewed with justifiable pessimism heading into 2024.

    There aren’t many teams in professional sports that could win over 70% of games in three seasons and still feel utterly deflated heading into a new year. However, that’s what many Dallas Cowboys fans feel like heading into 2024 after yet another playoff disaster.

    While there are some reasons to be optimistic about the Cowboys‘ roster, pessimism is certainly justified as training camp approaches.

    5 Reasons To Be Pesimistic About the Cowboys This Season

    Cowboys Nation has seemingly reached the “show me, don’t tell me” portion of fandom for this current team, and who could blame them? A team that seemingly has the ability to play lights out on any given Sunday has continuously fallen short when it’s mattered most, particularly in the playoffs.

    While it’s not all bad, and there are certainly reasons to be optimistic about this team heading into the 2024 season, the reasons for pessimism, perhaps more than ever, feel understood.

    Lame Duck Situation at Important Spots

    Heading into 2024, there’s not much for assurances about key figures’ futures right now. Head coach Mike McCarthy is in the last year of his deal, new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is only signed to a one-year contract, and quarterback Dak Prescott still remains unsigned beyond this year.

    While the Prescott situation may be sorted out before the season starts, neither McCarthy nor Zimmer is getting much in the way of guarantees beyond the fact that they have 2024 to prove it. Some people thrive in those environments; others, simply do not.

    It remains to be seen how Dallas’ season unfolds this year, but there’s a realistic possibility that it could have an entirely new coaching staff — and perhaps quarterback — heading into 2025.

    All of those unknowns add a tremendous amount of pressure to an already pivotal season. With no real stability to lean on, feeling nervous about this upcoming season and what it means for the future feels understandable.

    False ‘All-In’ Hopes

    Many Cowboys fans had hoped that after yet another embarrassing end-of-season exit, this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back in regards to the front office springing into action. They thought they were getting it too when owner Jerry Jones uttered his now famous “all-in” line early in the offseason.

    With hopes of Dallas perhaps being more aggressive in free agency, understanding that its championship window may be right now, it simply didn’t come. There was no all-in to be heard of; in fact, for a team that is usually quiet in free agency, the Cowboys were somehow even less active than usual.

    MORE: 5 Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Cowboys Entering 2024

    Far more talent left than was brought in, and with only one real substantial outside free agent piece to speak of added, the declaration of “all-in,” which was once viewed as a rallying cry, quickly became the joke of the offseason.

    There was nothing all-in about Dallas’ offseason. And while fans were looking for anything to cling on to for hope following the Wild Card loss, they left empty-handed once again, hoping for more, with that feeling carrying over to the new season.

    Dependent on Inexperienced Players

    When you don’t sign outside free agents, let your role players walk, and prioritize the draft above anything else, inexperienced players become your lifeblood. Such is the case for the Cowboys as they head into a crucial year for the franchise, and once again, will be looking to second-year players and rookies to pick up the slack.

    To give credit where it’s due, the Cowboys, at times, have been exceptional at this. However, 2023 was not a banner year for this strategy, as there was nearly no impact from that entire class.

    Yet, with the attention now turning to 2024 with a new class in the building, it will be up to the rookies and the class of yesteryear to help get this proud franchise over the 28-year NFC Championship Game hump.

    If everything goes right, the Cowboys will have cheap talent making plays for them, further proving they have this strategy under control. But the reality is that in order to supplant the talent they lost while also closing the gap on other teams around them that added to try and get better this offseason, it will take near-perfect development from them all.

    It’s asking a lot of guys who haven’t proven a thing yet. And while the Cowboys are certainly loaded at the top with premier talent, it takes all 53 men on the roster to build a champion.

    New Scheme Will Take Getting Used To

    Zimmer is being hailed as a breath of fresh air this season. While Dan Quinn was loved and admired during his time in Dallas, most agreed it was time for a change heading into 2024.

    That change, and specifically how the players respond to it, will be crucial to Dallas’ success this season. Zimmer is a vastly different coach in both style and scheme than Quinn was. The challenge now becomes getting everybody on the same page to execute at the highest level possible to compete. Easier said than done.

    Growing pains should be expected, but how quickly they mesh, buy in, and produce will be key into how this season turns out in Dallas. There is reasonable optimism for what Zimmer can bring, but can he do enough in one year to make this season any different from the 28 that came before?

    Need To See It To Believe It

    The last point of pessimism is more like a vibe check for the fan base. Every season you see nationally across the NFL world that “this could be the year for the Cowboys” stuff down your throat. And while many fans want to believe it, and even say it themselves, it feels like the majority of the fan base is in a “show me, don’t tell me” mode at this point.

    Why would any fan who has seen the way this offseason has unfolded, coupled with the way the season ended on the field last year, feel overly optimistic this season?

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    Is it hope? That’s fine if it is, but at the end of the day, this franchise has lost the ability to be trusted to get the job done when it counts. In fact, the Cowboys are on the opposite side of that, where many just expect the worst to occur.

    Any pessimism around the Cowboys heading into 2024 is completely justified, and it doesn’t make you less of a fan for thinking that. You can still love, cheer, and hope your team does well while having well-earned reservations that they can.

    Dallas will need to win games when it counts if it wants to regain the trust of the fan base, and that’s just the bottom line.

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