Now that football season is officially over for me, it's time to start the new thread. If the Cowboys keep up their Beckett-like pattern, this year should bring us a playoff season. A lot of things need to go well for that to happen though, so it remains to be seen whether or not they can improve over that 2017 debacle. One thing's for sure, the brain trust in Frisco noticed what set apart their 2016 season and Philadelphia's 2017: defense. All the Cowboys needed to do a year ago was play a little defense and they might have found themselves in the same position as the Eagles. Alas, defense isn't really Jerry Jones' thing, so the lack of defense played a big hand in causing their 2017 season to collapse. There might be cause for optimism on the horizon, with yesterday's news that they hired Kris Richard as defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator and heir apparent for defensive coordinator (it is expected that this will be Rod Marinelli's last season). Our resident Seahawks fans can better explain why Richard was let go but from an outsider's perspective, it would seem Richard is a fantastic hire. It's well-known that Dan Quinn was the architect of Seattle's defense but they didn't really take a step back under Richard until this season was seemingly derailed by injuries and aging key players. Not that this wouldn't be a concern in Dallas - hello, Sean Lee - but one can have reason to hope that Stephen Jones' increased influence would mean that the team will draft better and actually establish a little bit of depth. Or 2018 could be a continuation of the past 20+ years of complete and utter futility.