Are we counting on too many players to step up this year?

I still haven't settled on what I think the Cowboys record might be in 2009.  Of course, I realize it's a futile exercise, but it passes the time in the offseason.  Going through the various possibilities, it occurred to me that to actually meet our expectations, the Cowboys will have a number of players with a question mark overcome whatever's been holding them back uptil this point and reach their potential.

And I'm not even talking about the rookies. I'm looking at those that have been on the team since last year and are being counted on to make the leap.  I think this factors in immensely when we think about how good we can actually be this season.  But it also worries me because it's hard to imagine that every player will make the jump.

So let's go ahead and take a look at them.

Miles Austin -- So much has been made of his injury history AND his ability to stretch the field.  Austin always had the physical gift and showed flashes of putting it all together last year, which is the reason why we're really hoping he's for real. 

Isaiah Stanback -- Another WR that's had a severely injury-plagued career.  The athletic ability is unquestionable, so is the fact that he hasn't been able to harness it due to injury or the handicap of transitioning from QB.  Nonetheless, it's been two years, roster spots are valuable, and the Cowboys just drafted 12 rookies.

Roy Williams -- You'd think he was a proven commodity.  But the perfect storm accompanied Williams' arrival in Dallas resulting in an atrocious second half of the season.  Now, with the loss of T.O., Williams is being asked to step up in the offense.

Felix Jones -- We know what he can do.  But can he do it for a full season?  He's only on this list because his ceiling is ridiculous.

Anthony Spencer --In light of Ellis' release, Spencer now becomes the bookend to Ware.  With two years under his belt and an almost guaranteed starting job come Game 1, the pressure is on for the former first-round pick.

Junior Siavii -- As backup NT, Siavii is going to have to do enough to make sure Ratliff does not tire by season's end.  Consider that the Cowboys completely ignored the NT question in the draft; they must have great faith in Siavii's ability to man the position.

Gerald Sensabaugh -- To be fair, I don't know much about his play to judge him.  But this has been a sore issue so long that Sensabaugh is going to have to make a difference.  In comparison to his predecessor, he already looks to be an improvement.

Bobby Carpenter -- Obligatory name on every "Is This His Year?" list.


The Cowboys are counting all these players to be significant contributors next season.  Most of them don't have the track record to predict whether they will take positive steps forward.  A lot of how our season unfolds depends on how and when these Cowboys become more confident in their play.

Will they all make it?  Or is it even that important of a factor in our success?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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