As usual, the Cowboys enter the 2010 season with high expectations. They were finally able to win a playoff game last season, and with the Super Bowl being held in Dallas, they hope to become the first team to play in the Super Bowl at home.
In order for them to do this, the players must perform up to their potential, five players in particular.
Alan Ball enters his fourth year in the NFL in 2010, but it will be his first as a starter.
He was, however, exceptional when he started three games last season due to Ken Hamlin's injury.
The first concern I have about Ball is how he will fare playing significant minutes in all sixteen games, especially when teams will game plan against his weaknesses.
The second concern I have is whether or not he will be able to prevent the deep ball, which has haunted the Cowboys defensive backs for years.
He must perform well for the Cowboys defense to be successful in keeping teams out of the end zone.
Romo achieved a great feat last season in leading the Cowboys to a playoff victory. It was the first of his career. By doing so, he removed a giant hump off of his back.
That being said, the expectations are as high as ever for Romo.
He is coming off of the best season of his career and will now have his best receiving corps.
Romo has all the tools in place to be successful this season. All he needs to do is focus and not let the media get in his head and he should be fine.
The Cowboys offensive line is clearly the biggest question mark for the team coming into this season; and the biggest question mark for that offensive line is how Doug Free will perform as the starting Left Tackle.
Jerry Jones received a lot of criticism when he traded up for Dez Bryant instead of drafting a much needed lineman.
Personally, I think Free will settle in fine, and at worst, perform to the same quality as Flozell Adams did last season.
One advantage to having Free is that he will undoubtedly commit fewer penalties than Adams. It'll be nice knowing that the leading penalty getter in the NFL won't have a star on his helmet next year.
Roy Williams has been a complete bust since he got to Dallas.
In the two years he has played for the Cowboys, he has averaged just over two catches a game and has been notorious for dropping passes.
On top of that, he has complained and caused trouble in the locker room. He is like Terrell Owens without the production.
The Cowboys put a target on his back when they drafted Dez Bryant. They also sent a clear message: start performing or you will be replaced.
If he does not start performing, he will likely be dropped to third string by the end of the season.
The key to Barber performing next season will be his ability to stay healthy. He has constantly been hurt ever since he became the starting back in 2008.
Barber's running style leaves him very injury prone, which is why he should be moved to a third down and late game back, letting Felix Jones and Tashard Choice handle the load early.
Barber was reportedly ten pounds lighter at the Cowboys OTA's, making him faster than ever.
If Barber is attempting to keep his starting job by losing weight, transforming into more of a finesse back, he may ultimately become even more injury prone due to his lighter frame.
Let's hope it is the first option.