Mac Engel

The state of the Cowboys comes down to hope or fear

The health of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant gives Cowboys fans hope for 2016.
The health of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant gives Cowboys fans hope for 2016. AP

Staring at a giant swath of pricey real estate that once was Hollywood Park race track that will be the future home of the LA Rams, whose venue may dwarf our $1.3 billion AT&T Stadium, the question of perspective has seldom been so prevalent.

This development will be the new home of what will be the “best” stadium in the NFL and American entertainment.

The fear is that this could bump off JerryWorld as the top venue in the U.S., and steal away some of the premier events and A-listers that we take for granted will show up in Arlington. The hope is JerryWorld will retain its stature.

Hope and fear are choices and dictate how you view a situation — whether it be the state of America, your own home, or your favorite football team.

For instance, are we, as presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump proclaims, in a terrible time beset by crime and hopelessness underscored by an unemployment rate he estimates nears 40 percent? Or are we, as President Barack Obama protests, trending upward with opportunity and hope in abundance for all?

Do you fear a defense that has the potential to run up Cowboys deficits by dozens and dozens of points before halftime? Or do you believe that, with the return of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and the arrival of Ezekiel Elliott, these Cowboys will make America’s Team Great Again?

As the Dallas Cowboys landed in Southern California to begin their 2016 training camp, there are hard choices as a fan. Unlike supporters of the Patriots, Seahawks or Packers, there is no clear path for Cowboys believers.

When it comes to the Cowboys, it’s always better to say “I’m With Her.” No, not Hillary — Charlotte Jones Anderson. To say “I’m With Him” when the “him” is Jerry can make you want to move to Canada. The easy solution is to build a wall around your heart, while insisting the Eagles pay for it, and today create your own 2017 NFL Draft board.

The solutions and best-case scenarios are frightening, and God knows there is plenty of reason to be skeptical of our appointed local pro football leaders who sell hope at a premium price and for 20 years have delivered an inferior product.

But this is the one time of year that, as a Cowboys fan, to believe in Hope, Change and all other far-fetched rhetoric. If you can’t believe in it right now, don’t boo — just don’t watch.

Having seen how the Cowboys have handled the recent NFL suspensions of their latest crew of Drug Dogs — Rolando McClain, Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence — there is no reason to believe Jerry is going to change.

Jerry gonna Jerry. We are better off accepting that rather than thinking he will change. His unwillingness, or inability, to change how he views risk and risk-cases like Ro and Gregory, and so many others, are in his DNA. Never forget Jerry desperately wanted Johnny Manziel.

Jerry’s inability to change does not mean, however, the 2016 Cowboys are doomed.

If you are willing to embrace hope, the Cowboys will compete for the horrid NFC East title and return to the playoffs for the second time in the Jason Garrett era.

There are few offenses in the NFL that should be as proficient as the Cowboys.

Romo is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Dez is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The offensive line is the best in the NFL. Elliott should be one of the best running backs in the NFL.

Kicker Dan Bailey is one of the best in the NFL.

Using the model that made the 2014 Cowboys so successful, as long as the Cowboys have a lead they can win.

If they get any lead, preferably of the seven-point variety, their opponents will need to pass. Teams that throw it more tend to put the ball in more vulnerable spots, thus giving the chance for the Cowboys to force turnovers.

The Cowboys forced 31 turnovers in 2014; that was ninth-best in the league. Last season, the defense forced a league-worst 11 turnovers.

Just going by names, the 2015 defense should have been better, but it was always playing from behind.

That group in ’14 had an interested Rolando McClain, but no Sean Lee. This group will have Lee, no Ro, but safety Byron Jones and a healthy Orlando Scandrick.

No, don’t ask me to name any of the defensive linemen other than Tyrone Crawford. All you need to know is one of the Cowboys “better” D-linemen is British.

And these Cowboys will also have the benefit of playing a last-place schedule, as well as the group of weaklings from the NFC East.

It’s easy to be consumed by fear, thanks to the liberal-scum media.

The defense might be just that bad. They are just one Romo injury away from the Kellen Moore era. If Dez isn’t Dez, then it’s up to Terrance Williams, and nobody wants that — especially Terrance Williams.

Given the past 20 years of futility, it’s easy to be cynical about the Cowboys. No one can blame you if you dismiss Cowboys’ optimism. It is the easier, and the more sane, solution.

Yes, it’s safe to say we’d all prefer to say “I’m With Her” and it be Charlotte, but we are stuck with The Boss so we need to make the best of it because we’re all in this together.

As training camp begins and healthy players abound, it is time for Hope because maybe it will Change and the Cowboys will make America’s Team Great Again.

(Please note regardless of this season’s outcome this is not an endorsement for Jerry Jones as General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys).

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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