5 Pieces the Dallas Cowboys Still Need in Order to Be a True Contender

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5 Pieces the Dallas Cowboys Still Need in Order to Be a True Contender
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are not only the epitome of mediocrity, but they have also managed to add "inconsistent" and "dumb" to their list of desirable traits. We know all about the injuries to players like Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church, but this team is simply not yet ready to contend. It's not what Cowboys fans want to hear, but it's time for the plain truth.

No matter what their record will wind up being at season's end, everybody will blame Tony Romo in some form or fashion for the 2012 season.

That debate needs to be tabled. He's had to carry this team in spite of a poor offensive line and a non-existent running game. Sure he's not having his best year, but he's still a quality quarterback.

The Cowboys will need to figure out a long-term plan at quarterback, whether Romo is part of it or not. However, there are just too many other needs this team has to address just to be in contention. Romo is under contract, and to think he won't be here next year is foolish. On the bright side, the Cowboys do have some nice pieces to their existing puzzle in the form of Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray and Tyron Smith.

Unfortunately, it's not enough, and even those cornerstone players have all been hit with injuries this year. So what areas of the roster are holding this team back from contention? Is it right across the board? A few areas? Many areas?

The correct answer is that the Cowboys need to find good football players, and that should be a yearly goal. This team needs better players in every area, but I believe you have to start somewhere and be realistic about the expectations. This team needs to become a contender, and it needs to happen now.

To become a contender, the Cowboys are going to need some additional pieces to a current puzzle that is incomplete. Here are the five pieces that will get them there.    

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