NFL Preview: Dallas Cowboys

Head Coach: Wade Phillips
Offensive Coordinator: Jason Garrett
Defensive Coordinator: N/A
Special Teams Coordinator: Joe DeCamillis
President/CEO: Jerry Jones

Offensive Starters (Projected)
QB: Tony Romo
HB: Marion Barber
FB: Deon Anderson
WR: Miles Austin
WR: Roy Williams
LT: Doug Free
LG: Montrae Holland
RG: Leonard Davis
C: Andre Gurode
RT: Robert Brewster
TE: Jason Witten

Defensive Starters (Projected)
DE: Igor Olshansky
DE: Jason Hatcher
DT: Jay Ratliff
LB: Bradie James
LB: Anthony Spencer
LB: DeMarcus Ware
LB: Keith Brooking
CB: Terence Newman
CB: Mike Jenkins
FS: Alan Ball
SS: Barry Church

Special Teams
K: David Buehler
P: Mat McBriar

Schedule:

@ Washington
Chicago
@ Houston
BYE
Tennessee
@ Minnesota
N.Y. Giants
Jacksonville
@ Green Bay
@ N.Y. Giants
Detroit
New Orleans
@ Indianapolis
Philadelphia
Washington
@ Arizona
@ Philadelphia

Position Battles:

The main position battle lies at the wide receiver position, between Dez Bryant and Roy Williams. Williams, who has not lived up to expectations since he was traded to Dallas from the Lions, is currently listed as the starting wide receiver alongside Miles Austin. However, the young rookie Bryant shows some major promise, and could wind up overtaking Williams if Williams continues to disappoint. It would not surprise me in the least to see Wade Phillips bench Williams if he does not see improvement in Williams’ numbers, so we could be looking at a very early start for Bryant. One must also wonder how diminished the role of Patrick Crayton will be with whatever direction Phillips decides to go. Also, it is tough to determine an actual starter at the halfback position…Marion Barber is the starter, but Tashard Choice and Felix Jones will also get their share of carries as well.

Rookies to Watch:

Again, Dez Bryant comes up, as he oozes of potential, arguably more so than any other rookie of the 2010 class. Whether or not he becomes a starter in 2010 remains to be seen, but it will still be interesting to see how Dallas uses a player of his talents, whether it be on special teams, 5 receiver sets, or even on simple, basic plays.

Season Expectations:

Jerry Jones has long been known as an owner who expects results, and his high standards are just as notorious. With a team that looks this promising on paper, one can only imagine how high he will be setting the standard this year. Whether or not the Cowboys can reach that standard…is another story entirely. Tony Romo continues to improve as a quarterback, which will help their cause, but he also has a breakout receiver in Miles Austin, an underachiever in Roy Williams, a veteran in Patrick Crayton, and a blue chipper in Dez Bryant. The Cowboys’ O-line is the only questionable thing in my eyes, as I do not know if they can hold their blocks long enough to keep Romo protected to throw to any of these many options. This, in turn, may affect the Cowboys greatly, because it also hurts their running game. Sure, Felix Jones has playmaking ability, and Marion Barber can still smash a D-line, but what good does either do when the defenders are in the backfield quicker than the big uglies at the buffet??? However, every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the Cowboys have it in their defense. DeMarcus Ware is still a monster in the pass rush department, and the secondary is quite respectable. All in all, the Cowboys have an interesting road ahead of them, with a difficult schedule and a high standard to meet.

My Projected Record: 8-8

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