The focus of much speculation by bloggers and sports beat writers has focused largely on how the Cowboys can improve their ailing defense before September rolls around…and rightly so. However, a quick look at the roster going into training camp reveals that there is a good bit to ponder on the offensive side of the ball as well. First off, we have to wonder just how good the Cowboys offensive line will be in 2014.
Early projects indicate that Dallas will field one of the youngest offensive lines in the league. Unquestionably, the Cowboys have adopted a philosophy dubbed, “Romo friendly” of late. In three of the past four college drafts they have chosen to fortify the front line and give said million dollar QB more time to make magic happen and stay off his backside. Two of the three, tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick, have proven their metal already.
The selection of guard Zack Martin out of Notre Dame in the first round of the 2014 draft will hopefully bring stability to the Dallas running attack, and thereby take more pressure off Romo and his surgically repaired back. While it would be a far reach to compare the crew of Smith, Frederick, Martin, Ronald Leary, Mackenzy Bernadeau and veteran Doug Free with “The Great Wall of Dallas,” at least the Cowboys seem to be well on their way to establishing a formidable front for the future, but only time and weekly injury reports will tell.
Barring injury it is safe to say that Tony Romo will be in the backfield when the Cowboys face the San Francisco 49ers on September 7th, in AT&T Stadium. The question looming in the Cowboys signal calling ranks is concerning just who will be holding the clipboard as the Dallas second stringer. It is a safe bet that Dallas will not go into the 2014 campaign with more than three quarterbacks on their roster. With the signing of Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie the logical conclusion is that league veteran Kyle Orton may be on his way out of Big D. While his performance in Romo’s stead in the 2013 season finale against the Eagles was admirable for most of the contest another late interception…this time thrown by Orton…spelled an early winter vacation for the ‘Boys and has left this member of Cowboys Nation wondering if he is worth price of his hefty contract.
Perhaps the biggest question mark on the offensive roster going into 2014 is who will fill the spot vacated by the Miles Austin at wideout. A good guess would be that Terrance Williams will join Dez Bryant in the starting positions, with rookie Devin Street, Dwayne Harris and possibly even Cole Beasley battling it out for the third spot. Having a good stable of wide receivers is always a good thing and here’s hoping the Cowboys share the wealth in terms of spreading the ball…Dez tantrums be darned!
In the Cowboys’ backfield, DeMarco Murray is always a question mark, not in terms of ability to produce, but in whether he can make it through a season without being bitten by the injury bug. With that in mind, aside from bringing in Martin on the O-Line, Dallas is also apparently ready to bring a fullback into the mix. As of this writing, fullbacks Tyler Clutts and J.C. Copeland were on the Dallas roster. We all remember the glory days when Moose (Johnston) calls iminated throughout old Texas Stadium. It will be interesting to see if the addition of either Clutts or Copeland will have an impact on the Dallas ground attack.
While Jason Witten has become the runner-up only to Romo in the face of the franchise category, it is no secret that he isn’t getting any younger. With a plethora of tight ends to choose from in Dallas, it will be interesting to find out who impresses when training camp arrives. Although it seems unlikely that either Gavin Escobar or James Hanna is the heir apparent to Witten, it wouldn’t surprise this Cowboys fan if both made the 53 man squad.
Whoever is wearing the Star come September, I’m just hoping that they can break the 8-8 curse in 2014.