By Shawn Lealos
Jerry Jones catches a lot of flak when it comes to how he runs the Dallas Cowboys. This really comes to light on draft day when critics seem to criticize Jones almost more than any other team owner when it comes to who he drafts. When he chose Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft, people never questioned his talent, but they always questioned whether the Cowboys were reaching for a player with off field issues.
In 2011, the Cowboys drafted injury prone DeMarco Murray in the third round, while selecting an offensive tackle named Tyron Smith in the first round. In 2013, critics roundly criticized Dallas for selecting Travis Frederick with their first round pick, claiming that the Cowboys overreached for the player.
In 2014, the Cowboys spent their first round pick on Zack Martin when some thought they should have drafted a backup quarterback named Johnny Manziel. That is not even to mention the criticism that Jones has received for standing by quarterback Tony Romo.
On Tuesday, the NFL named their Pro Bowl teams for this season and the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys ranked second for the total number of players chosen. Only the Denver Broncos had more, but the Cowboys lead the NFL in total amount of offensive players chosen for this year’s Pro Bowl.
All five of the aforementioned high draft picks are headed to the NFL Pro Bowl this year, along with Tony Romo. While the Cowboys faced doubters when stocking their offensive line with first round draft picks, they have all three of those first rounders headed to the Pro Bowl as the Cowboys have what some consider the best offensive line in the NFL.
This is Tony Romo’s fourth trip to the Pro Bowl. As with last season, the players chosen were simply based on talent and were not broken up by the AFC and NFC.
It is a huge turnaround for the Dallas Cowboys this season, and these six players led the way. With Frederick, Smith and Martin leading the blocking attack, DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,745) and is tied with Marshawn Lynch for touchdowns (12). Dez Bryant ranks in the Top 10 for receptions and receiving yards and leads the NFL in touchdowns (14). Tony Romo surpassed Aaron Rodgers last weekend and now leads the NFL in passer rating (114.4), with 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.
The Dallas Cowboys have made it to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. They are there because of an offense that ranks eighth in the NFL and second in their rushing attack. Their defense, which ranked as one of the worst in NFL history in 2013, ranks 16th in the NFL this season, and their improvement is all because of the Cowboys’ balanced offense that controls the clock.
People have criticized Jerry Jones for a long time for his management of the Dallas Cowboys. Looking at this year’s Pro Bowl roster, and the Cowboys playoff position, it is beginning to seem that he knew what he was doing all along.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.