New LSS Facebook Covers

It’s July 30th, do you know where your football team is? Today the Dallas Cowboys begin Training Camp for the 2012 season in Oxnard, California. For the many fans who reside on the west coast it’s chance to see the ‘Boys practice and sign autographs. For the rest of us it’s the beginning of football season, and we are so glad it’s finally here!

We have exactly two weeks until the first preseason matchup at Oakland, and just over a month until the season kicks off in New York!

In honor of the best season of the year [football season], I have finally taken many of you up on your requests and designed LSS Facebook Covers for everyone to share. I hope to regularly add to the collection but to start off here are 16 original designs for your Facebook timeline. Simply click on the link below and follow the easy instructions.

http://lonestarstruck.com/fbcovers/

For future reference you will be able to easily access the Facebook Covers in the navigation menu under “Custom Graphics”.

I want to be a Dallas Cowboys Geek

I want to be a Cowboys geekFor as long as I can remember, I’ve had the Dallas Cowboys in my life.  My father was a Dallas Cowboys fan, my grandmother was even a Dallas Cowboys fan, but at the time, I was too young to know what that meant.  I remember my grandmother, when asked her name, would always say “Irvin, like Michael Irvin, except no relation.”  I had no idea who he was, the Dallas Cowboys, or any of that.  I didn’t know what it meant to be a Dallas Cowboys fan, I just wore around a giant 88 jersey to school  because it had my last name on it.

Today, that’s going to change.  I have no idea what I’m going to get myself in to, but I’m very excited.  I suppose I’ll formally introduce myself…my name is Jonathan Irvin.  I’m new to the LSS team and I’m in charge primarily of the operations a.k.a. “the geeky stuff.”  Kelly and I are working on something special for the site and I hope you all will like it.  Aside from the teaser I left, I’ll be documenting my journey into the Dallas Cowboys fandom and sharing my perspective from, as Kelly describes it, “a football virgin’s eyes.”

I want to be a Dallas Cowboys geek.  I want to know what you all know and eventually I will make my pilgrimage to my first Dallas Cowboys game.  Oh yeah, I’ll  be writing about that as well.  In any regard, I look forward to get to know you all and learn what it truly means to be a Dallas Cowboys Geek.

An early look at the Cowboys 2012 defense

When it came to the Cowboys defense in 2011 not much could be counted on except for allowing fourth quarter leads to disappear.  There are big changes coming for the defense in 2012 as the Cowboys focused on rebuilding the secondary this off season.

The Cowboys were very aggressive in free agency this off season. Their first signing was cornerback Brandon Carr from Kansas City who will replace Terence Newman who was released. They then signed linebacker Dan Connor from Carolina and safety Brodney Pool from the Jets. Connor looks to do battle with Bruce Carter for other inside linebacker position next to Sean Lee. The Cowboys also decided to franchise Anthony Spencer, who will play the 2012 season without being offered a long term deal. In the draft they went heavy on the defensive side of the ball. In a move that surprised everyone the Cowboys traded up eight spots and grabbed cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU. They also drafted defensive end Tyrone Crawford, linebackers Kyle Wilber and Caleb McSurly to go along with safety Matt Johnson. Time will tell if any of these draft picks will work out, but excitement is high and fans can’t wait to find out.

Looking at the new Cowboys secondary, Brandon Carr and Morris Caliborne take over at the corners. Adding to the depth at cornerback is Mike Jenkins who is trying to come back after off season shoulder surgery. Word out of Cowboys camp is that Jenkins would like to be traded, but Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have made it clear that it’s not an option, at least not right now. Orlando Scandrick returns as the slot corner, but may face some competition from Jenkins once training camp starts if Jenkins is cleared by doctors to practice. The Cowboys were 23rd in passing defense in 2011 and opposing receivers seemed to have their way with the Cowboys on a weekly basis. Hopefully with all the changes to the secondary it will mean better coverage and more success. 

At safety Gerard Sensabaugh comes back after signing a contract extension. At the other safety spot it looks to be a battle with Brodney Pool and Barry Church. The Cowboys are also hoping that fourth round draft pick Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington can add some excitement to the safety position and hopefully develop into a starter.

As with any defense that plays the 3-4 alignment the Cowboys are stocked with linebackers. First and foremost they have DeMarcus Ware who seems to get better and better every season. On the other side is Anthony Spencer, with Victor Butler and Alex Albright as the backups right now. Add in the newest linebacker Kyle Wilber who the Cowboys selected in the fourth round from Wake Forest and looks to contribute this season. Inside will be Sean Lee who had a breakout season in 2011 and has become the team leader. Next to him is anyone’s guess at this point. Bradie James and Keith Brookings are gone and the Cowboys are looking to see who will step up to replace them. Bruce Carter is now fully recovered from knee surgery, but can he get back to where he was in college before the injury? Dan Connor was brought in and would like nothing more than to start alongside Lee who he played with in college at Penn St. Orie Lemon adds depth as well as rookies Caleb McSurdy from Montana and Adrian Hamilton from Prairie View A&M.

Up front is where it should be interesting since there doesn’t look to be many changes compared to 2011. Jay Ratliff will be the man in the middle once again with Josh Brent backing him up. Jason Hatcher will most likely start on one end and as far as the other end it looks to be up in the air right now. Marcus Spears is still in the mix along with Sean Lissemore, Kenyon Coleman and Clifton Geathers. Add in rookie Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and the Cowboys have a lot of competition when it comes to the defensive end position.  

What it comes down to is that the Cowboys secondary has been rebuilt with youth and speed as Carr and Claiborne take over. With an improved secondary hopefully that will also create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the front seven and more turnovers. The defense should benefit from a full training camp learning Rob Ryan’s defense which was not possible last year due to the lockout. The Cowboys believe they have improved the defense and have corrected the issues that hurt them in 2011. Now it’s time to move forward and see if they are right.

Harvey Martin needs to be the next player into the Cowboys Ring of Honor

I’m not sure how Jerry Jones decides on who goes into the Cowboys Ring of Honor, but the fact that Harvey Martin hasn’t been enshrined yet is a huge disloyalty to him. Martin is the best defensive end in Cowboys history and deserves to have his name displayed in Cowboys Stadium with the other great players.

Harvey Martin was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round of the 1973 draft out of East Texas State. Martin became a full time starter at defensive end in 1975 and became one of the most feared players in the NFL. Playing besides players like Randy White, Jethro Pugh and Ed (Too Tall) Jones they formed one of the best defensive units in the league.

Although the NFL didn’t start keeping track of player sacks until 1982, the Cowboys have their own record books and show Harvey Martin having a total of 114 sacks in his eleven seasons with the Cowboys. Martin is still the Cowboys sack leader, but DeMarcus Ware is closing in fast with 99.5 sacks going into the 2012 season. Martin was the Cowboys sack leader for seven of his eleven seasons with his career high coming in 1977 when he recorded 23 sacks in only 14 games.

In his rookie season of 1973 he only played on passing downs as a pass rushing specialist. Even in his limited playing time he still led the Cowboys with nine sacks. After his record 23 sacks in 1977, he followed that with 16 sacks in 1978, 10 in 1979, 12 in 1980, 10 in 1981, 8 in the strike shortened 1982 season and he finished his career with only 2 in 1983.

Some of the honors Harvey Martin received in his career were four Pro Bowl selections in 1976-79. He was a first team All-Pro selection on 1977, as well as second team All-Pro selection in 1976, 1979 and 1982. In 1977, which was his best season with the Cowboys he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Martin was also selected to the NFL 1970’s All Decade Team.

In Super Bowl XII, Martin along with Randy White and Ed (Too Tall) Jones dominated the Broncos and harassed both Craig Morton and Norris Weese all game. Martin had two of the Cowboys four sacks in the game to go along with constant defensive pressure. For his efforts Martin was named the game’s Co-MVP along with Randy White as the Cowboys beat the Broncos 27-10 to earn the teams second Super Bowl Championship.

Twenty nine years have passed since Martin retired in 1983. That is too many years to wait to see Harvey Martin’s name in the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Unfortunately if the time ever comes that Martin is put into the Ring of Honor, he won’t be able to enjoy his enshrinement. Martin passed away on December 24, 2001at the young age of 51. By his side when he died was best friend and teammate Drew Pearson.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know how Jerry Jones determines who goes into the Cowboys Ring of Honor, but I think he needs to give special consideration to making Harvey Martin a member. No disrespect to Larry Allen and Charles Haley, but I don’t think they should have even been a thought for the Ring of Honor before Martin. Although Martin is no longer with us he deserves to be honored by the Cowboys organization, an honor that is well past due for a player who gave so much to the Cowboys. I hope that Jerry Jones does the right thing and make Harvey Martin the next player that goes into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

An early look at the Cowboys 2012 offense

Let’s take a look at the Cowboys offense as we start getting closer to training camp. There are changes mostly to the offensive line, but will those changes make a difference? Let’s hope so because with improvement from the offensive line means the rest of the offense will start producing more.

Since the end of the 2011 season the focus has been to correct the offensive line issues. It’s been blamed for the running game not being effective and for Tony Romo running for his life. In the last year the Cowboys have said goodbye to older veterans Kyle Kosier, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode. In their places are the younger Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Phil Costa, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings, David Arkin, Bill Nagy, Kevin Kowalski and Ronald Leary.

Whatever the starting five turn out to be they are going to be counted on to get the Cowboys offense to the next level. Tyron Smith and Doug Free will be the starting tackles as they swap spots from last season. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings who were signed through free agency will most likely be the guards considering the contracts they signed during the off season, but Bernadeau is still recovering from off season surgery on his hip. Chances are that Phil Costa will remain at center, but will face competition in camp from Kevin Kowalski and Bill Nagy.   

After so much work to rebuild the offensive line let’s hope that all the right moves were made. With an improved offensive line it will only help the running game of DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner, with newly signed fullback Lawrence Vickers leading them. Of course with an effective running game it will open up the passing game for Tony Romo to find Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and whoever the third receiver ends up being. The Cowboys offense lost a lot of production when Laurent Robinson decided to leave through free agency and will be hard to replace. The Cowboys have a nice mix of receivers who will be fighting it out for that third spot. Players like Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway, Cole Beasley and fifth round pick Danny Coale from Virginia Tech. Don’t rule out the Cowboys looking for a solid veteran as the season gets closer to fill that third receiver spot either.

The Cowboys offense has a mix of youth and experience that can only benefit the team.  Maybe some of the Cowboys undrafted free agents will also find a place on this team, like guard Ronald Leary, which will only add to the depth that is so important to any team. The Cowboys also improved the backup quarterback position with the signing of veteran Kyle Orton. He could be considered one of the best backups in the league, if not the best.

Looking at the Cowboys offense on paper there is excitement that they can be one of the top units in the NFL this season, depending on how well the offensive line plays. Time will tell whether or not the Cowboys have done enough this off season to improve, but hopes are once again high that the Cowboys have the pieces in place to get to that next level.

 

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones No Longer On Fire, NFL Still Feeling Heat

Hi Cowboy fans, good news for Jerry Jones.

A class action lawsuit filed against the NFL and the Cowboys over the 1,250 Super Bowl seats that were deemed unsafe before Super Bowl XLV has taken a turn.

According to sources, charges have been dropped against Jerry Jones and the Cowboys over the fiasco that left thousands of people outside, missing part of the game, and 400 didn’t get in at all, even though they had a ticket. The lawsuit will still continue against the NFL.

The fans are seeking $5 million from the NFL, which does not include recouping their losses from the tickets and legal fees. Apparently, the Cowboys and the NFL knew about the temporary bleacher seats being inadequate weeks before the big game. The Cowboys notified the NFL days before the game, but the fans didn’t find out about the fiasco until they were already inside.

Honestly, the Cowboys did no wrong here and all they could do was inform the NFL officials which they did as soon as they became aware of the the problem.

Even though the fans were compensated, the lawsuit claims it was not enough, because the NFL breached their contract with the ticket holders. Over 2500 fans were delayed seeing the start of the game, and they were offered face value for their tickets. Of the 400 people who didn’t get a seat, they were offered $2400 plus a ticket to the next season’s Super Bowl, along with airfare and a four-night hotel stay. They could have also chosen a check for $5000 along with their expenses being covered.

This was a dark day for the NFL and the Cowboys, but at least Dallas fans can relax that their rich owner is in the clear, for now.

If the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs, he might have traded a lawsuit for a Super Bowl ring. We may not agree with everything Jones does, but nobody could argue his thirst for another Cowboys championship and I respect him for that. He wants one so bad he might just trade his soul for another ring, but hopefully it don’t copme to that. 🙂

I like our chances this season a lot and with NFL odds makers listing “America’s Team” at +2500 to take the title, the Cowboys might not be a bad bet to bring home the title.

Lets Go Cowboys!

Dallas Cowboys Week 1 Preview

The Cowboys get the honor of helping to kick off the 2012 NFL season, as they will travel to the Meadowlands to face the Giants. New York opened as favorites, and the Cowboys will try and get some form of revenge from their 2011 collapse. Dallas lost out on their chance at the playoffs, largely in part to the eventual Super Bowl champs. NFL odds favor the Giants at -3, with a total of 47 points. Will the Cowboys ruin the Giants ring ceremony?

The Cowboys lost one of their main weapons from last season, as Laurent Robinson moved onto the Jaguars. Now it will be Dez Bryant’s turn to step up for the Dallas offense. Bryant is arguably the most physically gifted talent in the entire league, but his first two NFL seasons have been lackluster. If he can take over the game, he, Miles Austin and Jason Witten will have a field day against the Giants’ secondary.

The Giants also saw some of their main offensive talent leave after the Super Bowl win, so they won’t be the same team we saw in 2011. If the Cowboys can protect Tony Romo from the Giants main threat; their pass rush, Dallas stands a very good chance of winning this opening game. Dallas has improved a lot in their secondary, and with Eli Manning likely throwing the ball 50 times in this game, Dallas’ pass defense will have to be at its’ best if they want to win this game.

Another Cowboy that will need to have a good game is young running back DeMarco Murray. If Murray can set up the run against the Giants’ weak linebacking core, the pass will open wide for the Cowboys. I give Dallas a great chance at upsetting New York in this opening game.

Wide Receiver Will Be Exciting Training Camp Battle

In several weeks, the Cowboys will have an opportunity to shape the most competitive roster they have had in several years. The last time they had a chance at fielding a 53-man roster this solid was back in 2008, when several veteran free agent signings (Adam Jones, Zach Thomas, Tank Johnson), along with an extremely successful draft, padded the roster.

The Cowboys are in a similar situation this year, with a good mix of veterans and young talent at almost every position.

One of those positions is wide receiver. Behind the two Pro Bowl-caliber starters is a lengthy mix of unproven, yet intriguing players who will be battling for at least two additional spots at wide receiver. However, depending on how they all perform, I can see the Cowboys going with as many as six wide receivers on the final roster. With that, let’s take a closer look at the depth of the receiving corps.

 

Kevin Ogletree

Since 2009, Ogletree has hung around near the bottom of the receiving depth chart, several times stepping in as the third receiver. Unfortunately for Ogletree, this will be a training camp where “hanging around” is simply not going to secure a spot on the roster. Ogletree’s inconsistent play has frequently caught criticism, and he will need to prove without a shadow of a doubt that he is worthy of a spot behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin if he is going to stay on the roster this year. Though he is more seasoned on special teams than the other candidates, I believe this is finally the year that Ogletree gets bumped off the roster by younger, hungrier talent.

 

Cole Beasley

Since signing with the Cowboys as a rookie free agent, Beasley has made some big waves. He has shown flashes of brilliance as a slot receiver in rookie mini-camp and OTAs, frequently displaying a knack for finding seams in the defense. Though he does not have great size (5-8, 182), the ability he has shown to make tough catches in traffic may separate him from his competition. He frequently draws comparisons to Wes Welker, and what a find he would be if he performs at even half the level of Welker. This is the player I will keep tabs on come training camp.

 

Dwayne Harris

Harris has had a slow start to his career since being drafted in the midst of the lockout last year.  He initially made the 53-man roster, but was cut during the season and re-signed to the practice squad. This year however, with the help of an offseason, Harris has become more familiar with the offense, a facet of his game that was severely lacking in his inaugural year. He showed ability last preseason as a slot receiver, and should show improvement this year with more familiarity of the system.

 

Andre Holmes

No player on the Cowboys roster has been hyped more this offseason than Andre Holmes. Like Dwayne Harris, Holmes had little impact last year, spending most of the year on the practice squad. Holmes flashed some ability in minicamp, gaining praise and mention from Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones as a viable option as a #3 receiver. Holmes certainly has the size (6-5, 208) that is coveted in this league, and it will be interesting to see if he can use his physical gifts to put himself at the top of the list for backup receiver.

 

Danny Coale

Coale was drafted in the fifth round this year specifically to compete for the #3 receiver spot. He didn’t have much chance to display his abilities, breaking his foot on the first day of rookie minicamp. Hopes are still high that he will be back in time for training camp, but it obviously depends on how well he has recovered. Coale has excellent hands, speed, and route-running ability, all of which are essential for the role the Cowboys hope he can play. Like Beasley, Coale is also compared to Wes Welker in terms of style, and I think he will make the roster due largely to his fifth round draft status.

 

Raymond Radway

Radway showed exceptional upside in training camp and the preseason last year, before breaking his leg on the last play of the last preseason game. It’s safe to say Radway was in position to make the 53-man roster before his injury. Radway is a tall, lanky receiver at 6-3, and his ability to make the 53 will hinge largely on how well he has recovered from his broken leg. I think he could make the roster as a 4th or 5th option.

 

Saalim Hakim

Hakim will have an extremely hard time making the 53 in an extremely crowded receiving corps battle this year. He does have a few things going for him, however. He is the younger brother of Az-Zahir Hakim, who flourished as Kurt Warner’s 3rd wide receiver in the days of the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Though he has never played a significant amount of football at any level, he possesses blazing speed and the ability to be a special teams contributor. Hakim could be loosely compared to a player on the current roster, Teddy Williams. Both possess speed that cannot be taught, and extreme raw ability to play receiver. Like Williams, Hakim will have to show he can contribute on special teams to have a shot to make the team. If he doesn’t, the Cowboys will certainly try their hardest to sneak him onto the practice squad.

 

 

Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning, It’s not all about the stats

Here we go again! It’s time for Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning. The experts like Ron Jaworski have Romo ranked as the 10th best QB in the NFL. He has not ranked the top five yet, but Manning will do no worse than number five on his list. The NFLN recently completed their list of the top 100 players as voted by the players and Romo is ranked 91st and Manning is ranked 31st. What bothered me most about the top 100 players is that Romo was 91st and Tim Tebow was 95th. In my opinion that means players believe there is not much difference between Romo and Tebow, which I would completely disagree with. When it comes to Romo and Manning the comparison has gone on for a while now. Do titles mean everything? Do great stats make a difference? Down by five with a minute and a half to go who do you want with the ball? Romo has the better stats compared to Manning to this point in his career, but Manning has the hardware to go along with his MVPs. I guess it all depends on how each person wants to look at things when it comes to ranking players.

Let me make one thing clear. This is not a Romo bashing article. I wrote an article a few months back that many people took the wrong way and thought I was bashing him when I was not. I was having a little fun with my analogy in the article while also trying to make a point about Romo the quarterback. First and foremost I’m a Cowboys fan and want nothing more the for them to do great things every season, but at the same time I consider myself a writer and I try to have an open mind when it comes to discussions like these. There is no denying that Romo and Manning are both excellent QBs, but it’s also a fact that Manning has come up big more times than Romo in recent seasons.

Tony Romo puts up some really good numbers almost every season. He is exciting to watch and seems to make things happen at times. He also seems to come up short in big games up to this point in his career. I understand about his 102.5 QB rating in 2011 compared to Eli Manning’s 92.9 QB rating. I understand that Romo threw more TD passes (31) than Manning (29) and less interceptions. But when the stats are put aside it’s Manning who is the one who rises up in big games when things are on the line. Sitting at 6-6 in 2011, Manning won three out of the last four games to win the NFC East, which included two wins over the Cowboys. With the Cowboys sitting at 7-5 in 2011, Romo could have sealed the first meeting against the Giants as well as the division title, but ended up over throwing a wide open Miles Austin at the end of the game. Did Austin lose the ball in the lights of Cowboys Stadium? I see little evidence in watching the replay that will make me believe that. Getting back to the stats, Romo and Manning’s 2011 numbers are very similar.

2011 Romo Manning
Pass Attempts 522 589
Pass Completions 346 359
Completion Percentage 66.3 61
Total Yards 4184 4933
Touchdowns 31 29
Interceptions 10 16
Rating 102.5 92.9

When it comes to the Cowboys and Giants offensive units, both had their struggles last season. They both had a hard time establishing the running game with the Cowboys finishing 18th and the Giants finishing dead last in the league. In total offense the Giants ranked 8th and the Cowboys ranked 11th in the league. Actually, if you look at the offensive numbers in almost every category both teams were very close to each other. So it’s not like one team had a major advantage over the other.

Offense Cowboys Giants
Total Yards Gained 6008 6161
Yards Per Game 375.5 385.1
Total Passing Yards 4201 4734
Passing Yards Per Game 262.6 295.9
Total Rushing Yards 1807 1427
Rushing Yards Per Game 112.9 89.2
Points Scored 369 394
Points Scored Per Game 23.1 24.6

There will also be the argument that the Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2011 and that worked against Romo getting the job done. It’s very true that the Cowboys defense lost some games last season as well as putting them in some difficult situations. But just as both offenses were similar, so were the defensive units for the Cowboys and Giants. In many ways the Giants defense was actually worse than the Cowboys. The Cowboys ended the season ranked 14th and the Giants ranked 27th in the league.

Defense Cowboys Giants
Total Yards Allowed 5491 6022
Yards Per Game Allowed 343.2 376.4
Total Passing Yards Allowed 3906 4082
Passing Yards Per Game Allowed 244.1 255.1
Total Rushing Yards Allowed 1585 1940
Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed 99.1 121.3
Points Scored Against 347 400
Points Allowed Per Game 21.7 25

I can write about all the stats in the world when it comes to Tony Romo and Eli Manning as well as both teams until both of my hands cramp up and fall off, but it’s not really going to make any difference. Each fan base is loyal to their QB for the most part and will defend him to the end. When all the numbers are set aside and you look at both Romo and Manning as they are right now, Manning has to come before Romo as far as getting the job done. When Giants fans are watching Manning in a big spot they have no reason to believe that he won’t get the job done because he has done it time and time again recently. When most Cowboys fans are watching Romo in a big spot they are hoping he will get the job done, and at the same time praying that he won’t make that mistake that seems to have followed him up to this point in his career. I believe that is the bottom line between Romo and Manning. Up to this point one has got the job done when needed and the other has not. It’s not always about numbers and stats. It’s also not always about the number of championships. It’s about being able to lift yourself and your team to that next level when things are on the line.

As a Cowboys fan I can only hope that Romo gets to where Manning is currently and that is a championship QB. Until he starts to rise up and win as the games get bigger during the season he will continue to look up at Manning on the QB charts. Can Romo elevate himself to elite status? Only time will tell, but until then perception is reality and the when it comes to Tony Romo the perception is that he is not a big game QB.

Will Upgraded Secondary Prove To Be Just What The Cowboys Needed?

 

Morris Claiborne: Just what the doctor ordered?

Are the Cowboys going to be a profitable team to back with your free NFL football picks? We give you an update on how things are shaping up for Dallas.

The Cowboys suffered another late-season collapse in 2011.

They got off to a fast start as they were 7-4 after Week 12, and that included a hard-fought 27-24 road win over the San Francisco 49ers.

However, the wheels completely fell off over the last month of the season. Dallas lost four of their last five, including both games against the eventual champion New York Giants.

A significant reason for the collapse was a god awful secondary which was torched week after week.

The Cowboys did an excellent job at addressing that need over the offseason, though. They went out and got Brandon Carr and then drafted Morris Claiborne and those two will immediately step in and start.

A fully functioning secondary will help the Cowboys defend the pass, with DeMarcus Ware still wrecking havoc closer to the line.

Offensively, those that were injured, namely Tony Romo and DeMarco Murrary, are back and if they remain healthy Dallas is going to be a dangerous team offensively. Dez Bryant, who also dealt with injury problems in an excellent first season, and Miles Austin form a deadly receiving duo for Romo to work with.

Murray was spectacular in his rookie campaign last season, recording 5.5 yards per carry, and he’ll be sharing duties with Felix Jones, another explosive back.

The theme is a common one: the Cowboys have one of the most talented rosters around, but it seems they always fail to fulfill expectations whenever that’s the case.

Is this season going to be different? Will everything finally fall into place? It’s about time Dallas returned to the fold.