As I scroll through the current roster of the Dallas Cowboys, I can not help but be excited for the upcoming season. The Boys are certainly among the leagues best on paper. Although this does not translate into anything until the pads come on in late July, here are three strengths that will make the Cowboys great.
1. Linebacking Corps
This is certainly the strength of this Cowboys team. The Cowboys have three sure-fire starters returning in Akin Ayodele, Bradie James, and Demarcus Ware. An interesting battle to watch in training camp will be the outside linebacker position opposite Demarcus Ware. Although Wade Phillips has already stated that Greg Ellis is his starting linebacker, look for Anthony Spencer to make a push for the starting job, and extensive playing time. Also do not rule out Bobby Carpenter and Kevin Burnett in the middle. Both make great depth behind the starting middle linebackers, but look for both to push for more playing time. Wade Phillip’s aggressive 3-4 scheme will allow this group to apply pressure and take pressure off a ridiculed secondary.
2. Running Back
This position is also a great strength for Dallas. Julius Jones will return as the starting running back, and entering a contract year, will be hungrier than ever. Behind Jones is a very versatile back in Marion Barber. Although some believe that Barber should be the starter, both backs thrive on the 2-back system. Look for Barber to get 10-15 carries a game as a change-up back. Also do not rule out Tyson Thompson, who is returning from a season ending leg injury suffered early last year. I believe this unit will take pressure off of Tony Romo, and open up a passing game filled with savvy receivers.
Yes, you read correctly, secondary. This group of players has been scrutinized in the past couple years for giving up big plays and not making enough plays. However, that will change this year. The X-factor in this group of players is free-agent signee Ken Hamlin. Hamlin will win the free safety job and free up Roy Williams to move into the box and make plays. Hamlin is a ball-hawk and will patrol center-field in the secondary. His addition, along with an improved pass rush, will take pressure off of the secondary. Also returning are a group of veteran cornerbacks, who have been intact for several years now. Terence Newman is an all-pro, and one of the premier corners in this league. Solid play by Anthony Henry will be key for the secondary this year. Do not forget about Aaron Glenn, a reliable veteran who will man the nickel corner spot again this season.