Dallas Cowboys Vacancies: Team Captains Wanted

Jason Witten and Tony Romo discussing captainly things.

Like most NFL teams, the Cowboys traditionally announce their team captains on or very close to opening weekend. This is usually something that is done without much fanfare, and in past years, the names have held little surprise as the captains were usually chosen from among the teams most visible players.

But this year could be different. Two team captains, Marion Barber and Sam Hurd, have left the Cowboys and created vacancies. Additionally, a lot of other veterans have left the team. Players like Marc Colombo, who may not have held the title, but who was a significant locker room presence and de facto captain of the offensive line. And finally, Jason Garrett will also have some ideas about who he wants to see in that leadership role.

In 2009, the Cowboys had five team captains and increased that number to seven in 2010. Who will be the captains this year, and will we see some of the younger guys step up?

Here are the team captains for the last two seasons. Note that the special teams captain in 2009 changed on a weekly basis.

2010 2009
Team Unit Team Captains Team Captains
Offense Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Marion Barber Tony Romo, Jason Witten
Defense Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware, Keith Brooking Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware
Special Teams Sam Hurd n.a.

When Romo organized the effort to set up the player-only workouts earlier this year, he leaned heavily on what he described as the "group leaders" to get everybody within their unit to show up for the OTAs. These veteran players were Marc Colombo, Jason Witten, Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman and Miles Austin.

Romo spoke to each of these players during the early phase of the lockout in an effort to get attendance up for the OTAs:

"They were there every day. When the group leader is there, it's hard for the second, third, fourth and fifth guy not to."

And Jason Garrett is likely to lean heavily on which ever players he chooses as his captains. Albert Breer from NFL.com writes that Garrett is giving players ownership, and leaning on his leaders to push the message:

"He really puts a lot on the leaders to set the bar," said one Cowboys veteran. "But we don't have to police everyone, because everyone knows the structure and expectations. He's calling us all out to do our jobs and lead."

Who would you like to see step up as team captain this year?

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