2007 season recap
Peaking too early: The Cowboys went into last season with high hopes in coach Wade Phillips' first season, but they were not expected to post the best regular season in franchise history, necessarily. They got off to a scorching start and wound up doing just that, finishing 13-3. They struggled down the stretch, however, and were upset at home by the Giants, 21-17, in the divisional round.
Key camp questions
Will Adam Jones stay focused and earn reinstatement?
He has dropped the "Pacman" from his name and used this offseason to rehabilitate his image. He convinced the Cowboys to trade a fourth-round pick for him and he persuaded Commissioner Roger Goodell to allow him to practice with his new teammates in Dallas, while he serves a suspension for violating the conduct policy. The real test, though, will come when he goes to training camp. If he can be on his best behavior and prove to Goodell and his teammates that he is indeed a changed man, he may have his suspension lifted and provide the Cowboys with yet another playmaker on defense and special teams.
What is the status of Terry Glenn?
A contractual conflict between Glenn and the Cowboys has put the team in a bind. Said executive vice-president Stephen Jones to NFL.com columnist Thomas George about Glenn, "We had a situation last year that no team in this league would find acceptable to just move forward on like it didn't happen." Jones is referring to the team paying Glenn $5 million despite the fact that a knee injury limited him to just four plays. Jones wants Glenn to sign a $500,000 waiver as insurance in case Glenn's surgically repaired knee breaks down again, but Glenn has refused to sign the waiver. Until this matter is resolved, Glenn's status will be a major camp question mark. He is the only proven receiver behind starters Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton. If there is no resolution, the Cowboys need one of their young wideouts to shine in camp and seize the job.
Can the team stay focused amid all the distractions?
There are typically more eyeballs on "America's Team" than probably any other squad in the NFL, but this year the attention figures to reach new heights. The club is considered a favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and the acquisitions of Adam Jones and veteran LB Zach Thomas have put an even brighter spotlight on the Cowboys. Add to that mix the presence of HBO's Hard Knocks which will document Dallas' camp for the second time and there will be no shortage of distractions. Whether the players can zero in on preparing for the season despite the incessant media coverage remains to be seen.
Key position battle
Anthony Henry vs. Adam Jones vs. Mike Jenkins: Henry had one of his best seasons as a pro last season, grabbing a career-high six interceptions, scoring a touchdown and finishing with 13 passes defensed in only 10 starts. Despite those numbers, the Cowboys still felt the need to bring in Jones and the rookie first-round pick Jenkins. With one of the game's best corners on the other side in Terence Newman, Henry knows the newcomers will battling him for a starting spot. He told the *Star-Telegram* that he would be open to a move to safety if the team decided it wanted to start Jones or Jenkins. This team is well established at almost every position and the starting corner spot opposite Newman may be the only one up for grabs in training camp. With teams likely to avoid throwing at Newman, whichever player wins the job will likely be put to the test early and often next season.
RB Felix Jones: Former starter Julius Jones is in Seattle and Marion Barber takes over the lead role in the Cowboys backfield. Barber is not experienced as a feature back, however, and Jones will be counted on to be a productive change-of-pace back in relief of Barber.
Player on the spot
S Roy Williams: Williams was once one of the most popular players on the team. His hard-hitting, big-play style was a hit with fans and media alike and he became a mainstay in the Pro Bowl. After struggling some last season in new coach Wade Phillips' scheme, though, he is suddenly on the spot. An offseason in which he questioned his role and skipped some OTAs only made the situation more tense. Williams is under pressure to show he can adapt to Phillips' schemes in training camp and improve his coverage skills.
QB Tony Romo: Had it not been for Tom Brady's record-setting season, Romo would have been fantasy football's most valuable player in 2007. The Cowboys retained Jason Garrett and held the offense mostly intact, so Romo should find continued success. He'll be a first- or second-round pick in most drafts.