Going into Sunday night’s opening game against the New York Jets, there are a lot of questions hanging over the Dallas Cowboys after last season’s disappointment. Each week I will bring you the players and things I will be looking for going into every game this season!
Tony Romo: Romo was having one of his best seasons last year before it was ended prematurely due to a collarbone injury. He returns this season with a chip on his shoulder and a must win attitude. Romo has two very good wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. And of course there’s Mr. Reliable, Jason Witten. With his offensive weapons returning, there is no excuse this season for him not to win…and win a lot. I do not believe Romo’s job is in jeopardy but the time for the Cowboys is now. And Romo needs to be the guy to lead them. I am looking for Romo to come out of the gate fast this season and for him and his Boys to have a big year.
Dez Bryant: Last year’s 1st round draft pick showed signs of becoming the superstar the Cowboys hope he would be last season prior to Romo’s season-ending injury. This offseason has been one to forget for Bryant as he has had his share of legal troubles. And many in the Cowboy nation are questioning if he is even worth the headache. Bryant has the chance to come out this season and make himself the number one guy on the depth chart. I am looking for Dez to take that next step in becoming an elite wideout. I expect big things from Bryant this season. He has looked good in the pre-season and I think he has a chance to have a breakout year.
The Offensive Line: The offensive line that the Boys had last season is no more. And this could be a very scary thing considering that you have a Quaterback returning from injury. All eyes will be on Tyron Smith, the 1st round pick out of USC. If he’s healthy and able to play, I see Smith holding his own. However the entire line will have their hands full with the Jets defense! I am looking for this young offensive line’s to protect Romo and give Felix Jones some nice holes to run through. I am not going to lie. I do not really know what to expect from this line but I hope come Monday morning they have opened my eyes…in a good way.
Felix Jones: Marion Barber is gone and it is officially Jones who is the big man in the back field. Jones has been impressive when healthy and if he can stay healthy I think he should have no problem being a great running back. What I am looking for, besides Jones just staying healthy, is can he handle the starting job and the pressure that comes with it. This is now his job and he has to run like a starter every game. He can no longer take games off. He is going to need to be a strong blocker for Romo and produce big runs to take the pressure off the passing game. I think Jones can handle the job. I just hope he doesn’t prove me wrong!
The Entire Secondary: Going into the draft one of the Cowboys big issues was the secondary. Going into Week 1, I believe that is still the Cowboys’ biggest issue. Their starting corner back, Terrance Newman, is hurt. So is 3rd year corner back Mike Jenkins. And they were both Pro Bowl caliber players for the Boys just a couple seasons ago. The secondary scares the living hell out of me!!! Yes, I know Mark Sanchez is not the greatest quarterback in the league. But he may look like it after Sunday night. I am looking for the secondary to eliminate the big plays and to force teams to run the ball. The Cowboys are better against the run. The secondary is the biggest question mark and the main thing I will be looking at.
Rob Ryan: He came in and started to talk the talk. (which I loved by the way) But can he back that up with a good defense? We know Ryan has the weapons in DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James. But can he get the guys that under achieved last season to play well too? For now, Ryan’s job is not on the line. But a lot is expected of him and Ryan needs his guys to produce results on the field. And I am looking for a good performance from the Cowboys’ defense on Sunday night. I believe they can be a defense that is among the best and most feared in the league.
Sean Lee: Can he be the guy he showed glimpses of last season? When Lee played last season, he was not amazing. But he was what the Cowboys needed him to be. And that was good enough to get the job done. The biggest issue and the thing I am looking for is can Lee stay healthy for 16 games?
After all that being said, the guy I am looking forward to seeing the most is Jason Garrett! He has shown this offseason that he will not just be a Jerry Jones “yes” man. Garrett has made his message clear by making some big cuts this season. He has made big stands and proved that this is his team. This means if they fail, so does he! I think Garrett is the perfect guy for the job but now he has to prove it!! This is his team and now it is time to put a winner back on the field!