The team had high expectations going into the 2010 season, but they badly underperformed. Some of that can be attributed to the injuries, but a lack of passion plagued the Cowboys early in the season. The team didn’t play well in the beginning of the season, which led to Wade Phillips being fired. Jason Garrett seemed to get them to play with more intensity, and I think he’ll be a solid head coach moving forward.
Tony Romo missed the last 10 games of the season due to injury, but he will be back as the face of the franchise next season. The Cowboys don’t have much of a chance if he isn’t the starter, so they need to find him some better protection for next season.
The running back position is by far the deepest on the team, with three legitimate contributors. Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice are one of the best groups of running backs in the NFL.
Miles Austin had a down year last year, but he is still one of the better receivers in the league. Dez Bryant is a future star, and he will most likely be the full time starter this coming season, especially if Roy Williams isn’t brought back. Jason Witten is arguably the best tight end in the game, and backup Martellus Bennett looks like he is finally starting to fulfill his potential.
The offensive line struggled as a unit, and you could see some changes heading into next season. Doug Free is solid at left tackle, but Marc Colombo will probably be replaced as the starter in 2011. Leonard Davis and Kyle Kosier also seemed to regress last year, although they both are adequate starters who could be back next year. Andre Gurode made the pro bowl last season, but I don’t think he is still a pro bowl caliber player.
The defensive line has some question marks as we approach the 2011 draft. Igor Olshansky is currently the only quality defensive end on the roster, but I would think that the Cowboys would bring back at least one of their current free agents. Stephen Bowen is the most likely to be back, as he had a solid year last year. Jay Ratliff is one of the best nose tackles in the game, despite his less than ideal size.
The outside linebacker combination of Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware is one of the best in the league. They will continue to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks next season. Keith Brooking and Bradie James are both adequate starters, but look for Sean Lee to get some more playing time. He is a future starter in the middle of the Cowboy’s defense.
The secondary is a weak spot, especially at the safety position. Neither Alan Ball nor Gerald Sensabaugh looked very impressive last season, and both of them could be replaced in the starting lineup. The trio of Mike Jenkins, Terrance Newman, and Orlando Scandrick give the Cowboys a lot of talent at the cornerback position. However, Scandrick and Jenkins struggled last year, and they must bounce back in 2011.