Season Preview: Dallas Cowboys Weaknesses

Derek MajorCorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

IRVING, TX - DECEMBER 14:  Wide receiver Patrick Crayton #84 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his touchdown with Miles Austin #19 and Marc Colombo #75 in the second quarter at Texas Stadium on December 14, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Cowboys have solid starters at almost every position, but there are two glaring holes on this team: Wide Receiver and Safety. While there is depth at both positions, youth and inexperience are also huge factors.

Wide Receiver

Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton lead a group that has almost no experience behind them.

Miles Austin has had flashes of brilliance in his three years in the league but still has only 18 career receptions and three touchdowns. Sam Hurd has 21 career receptions and Isiah Stanback spent most of last season injured and is still considered a project at this point.

The Cowboys used only one draft pick at this position, getting Oklahoma's Manuel Johnson in the seventh round. However, Johnson's career hasn't started well, as it was reported that he wasn't in shape during the Cowboys rookie mini camp.  

The Cowboys are going to go with this group for at least this season, with the mindset that Quarterback Tony Romo can get these guys the ball now that Terrell Owens is no longer with the team and their running game will be successful.


The Cowboys have one starter, Ken Hamiln, who was a pro-bowler two years ago and was solid last season with 74 tackles, from the Free Safety position. After Hamlin, youth again becomes an issue.

Gerald Sensabaugh is most likely to start opposite Ken Hamlin. Sensabaugh spent the last four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and, except for 2007—when he only played two games—Sensabaugh has played in all 16 games in the other three seasons. Last season Sensabaugh racked up 70 tackles and four interceptions from the Strong Safety position.

After Sensabaugh, Pat Watkins has the most experience but missed more than half the season last year with shoulder problems. Watkins has also underachieved in his three seasons with the Cowboys, even getting demoted in his rookie season by former Coach Bill Parcells. Because of this, he needs to have a great training camp to show coaches that he's ready to play.

Courtney Brown has played in limited action in the past two seasons but has a good chance to make a run at playing time if he can have another good training camp.

The long shots include DeAngelo Smith, who was drafted in the fifth round out of Cincinnati, and Michael Hamlin, who was also drafted in the fifth round, out of Clemson. These two won't see much time except on special teams but could become a great tandem in the future. 

Hamlin and Sensabaugh will most likely start in the Cowboy's defensive backfield. They're both experienced and should do well, but if one of them gets injured, as many of the Cowboy's safeties did last season, it could be trouble.


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