The offseason is finally getting to the part where the players and coaches get back to the gridiron, but that doesn't mean nothing has happened since the Dallas Cowboys finished their 8-8 season in 2011.
The 'Boys have been busy since then, with four names already earning the title of winners and losers. Let's take a look at who those four individuals are.
The 2011 offseason was handicapped due to the NFL lockout, which ultimately lead to confusion between the new defensive coordinator and his players. Now, with OTAs, minicamps and, of course, training camp, Ryan should be able to get his players minds' wrapped around his playbook.
While X's and O's might be easier on the defensive side for Dallas, the talent level on the unit has also skyrocketed since last year. Former Kansas City Chief Brandon Carr, LSU product Morris Claiborne and one-time New York Jet Brodney Pool have joined the secondary for America's Team.
Once regarded as the weakest link on Dallas' squad, an offseason full of Ryan's teaching should lead to a formidable defense for the Cowboys in 2012.
The defensive coordinator took a few moments to chat with the Amarillo Globe News about the defense, stating:
“You want to be best right off the bat, and you want to be multiple, that’s what I like to do."
Speaking of all those offseason moves, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has once again put the spotlight on his team, and rightfully so. Dallas will open the season against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the league's first Wednesday game since 1948, and Jones has people talking more about his 8-8 team than the champs.
With Carr and Pool added among others acquired in free agency, along with the big draft move up to get Claiborne, many see this team as a perennial Super Bowl threat once again. Jones has a plethora of talent lined up in his secondary and all over his offensive skill positions, leading to the belief that maybe this is the Cowboys' year to party like it's 1995 again.
Unfortunately for cornerback Mike Jenkins, all this talk of revamping the secondary has left him without a starting gig and perhaps the fourth spot on the roster in terms of playing time.
Teammate Orlando Scandrick was signed to an extension last season and has been the team's nickle corner for some time now while Claiborne and Carr are already slated as the starting two.
Jenkins has asked for a trade on a few occasions, and there were rumblings the 'Boys were trying to move him at the NFL draft, but now all talk is about keeping the former Pro Bowl selection.
The team has since made it clear it will not trade the cornerback and Jenkins appears stuck on the Cowboys until next year when he will become an unrestricted free agent. No. 21 has reported to the team however, which means he's at least going to play out his contract without issues.
It hasn't been an enjoyable offseason for the third-string quarterback. America's Team brought in the likes of veteran Kyle Orton to become the new No. 2 behind starter Tony Romo, once again sending a message they don't think McGee can handle being the backup.
Orton sat out of the most recent team minicamp due to a lingering hamstring injury, which gave the Texas A&M product a time to shine; which he reportedly did nothing with.
The No. 3 quarterback couldn't punch it in from the red zone during 11-on-11 drills, had no touch on his deep ball and looked flustered overall. Head coach Jason Garrett said all the right things regarding his quarterback to Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, stating:
I think Stephen did a good job handling some of the different things that didn’t go quite so well for him, and he made the right decision with the ball and handled the situation well.
While Garrett may be sticking up for McGee publicly, Rudy Carpenter has been brought in by the team to compete for the No. 3 quarterback spot with the former draft pick. McGee will need to have a stellar offseason and impress his coaching staff if he wishes to find himself on the 53-man roster come September.