In 2007, the Cowboys were Super Bowl bound, supposedly.
2008 was going to be "their year," or not so much.
Now with 2009 here, Dallas needs to get somewhere. A division title, a playoff win, and a game in February.
Cowboys fans are starting to run out of patience with Tony Romo. He is a solid quarterback who shows signs of greatness. But in the next moment can make a bone-headed play that can cost dearly.
Romo has solid receivers and good enough blocking, if they can stay healthy, to have a solid year from start to finish. It is the finish that's haunted Romo and the Cowboys the past two seasons.
Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. A backfield with depth and different roles and strengths for each back is something not many teams can boast. If they Cowboys can stay healthy at the position, unlike 2008, a balanced offense could see numbers go up for everyone.
No more T.O. Terrell Owens is an amazing receiver, no one can refute that. He is big, he can run and he can catch. But he can also cause unnecessary drama and problems for whatever locker room he is in.
When the Cowboys were winning you didn't hear too much from Owens, but when they were losing his voice was heard in the locker room, and not by teammates in order to guide or pump them up, but to coaches complaining or to the media, complaining.
The Cowboys don't have T.O. to blame for a lack of team unity this year. So it will either happen, or there is another problem in there.
Roy Williams, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Isaiah Stanback, just to name a few, are the targets Romo does have in 2009. With receivers, and a tight end, who can catch, run and block the Cowboys offense should be in full force.
Going into the 2008 season the Cowboys had three players on the team who had been suspended by the league. Adam Jones, Tank Johnson and Owens. Going into the 2009 season Dallas will have none. Don't get me wrong, all three of those players had a positive impact on the team. But all three were carefully scrutinized throughout the year and not always for what they were doing on the field. There are three distractions gone that could help the Cowboys focus on game day.
The defense, and the secondary especially, will be the focus of the Cowboys for success in 2009. The offense is built to put up points, but the defense has allowed points to be put up by the opposition.
The defensive line and linebackers are solid, the questions come in the secondary. Roy Williams is gone, and there is a lot of youth back there. It could mean unseen talent, or big plays for opponents.
The Cowboys missed the 2008 playoffs because of bad tackling at the end of the game against Baltimore, and just getting obliterated in Philadelphia. They need to close 2009 strong to make it to the playoffs, but getting there isn’t enough.
Dallas has not won a playoff game since 1996. That is not acceptable anymore. The team went through extreme diversity in the early 2000s, but now the quarterback position is not a question and there are players on the team ready to play.
For 2009 to be a success the Cowboys don’t need to declare themselves champions by mid-season. They need to get to the playoffs, get a win, and maybe play for the title.
2009, here they come, America’s Team, your Dallas Cowboys.