I have been thinking of the new starters for the Cowboys in 2012 on offense and defense and I am beginning to get really excited.
On defense there are probably no new starters on the d-line. Maybe the rookie from Boise gets some PT but I don't believe there is an improvement there initially. However, the linebackers will improve with Connor and a healthy Bruce Carter. The secondary, which folks agree along with the truly offensive line was the most putrid group last year, will be much improved. Cornerback will look nothing the same, safety moves sideways unless Church or Johnson get more play. Johnson looks like he could be what the defense really needs, so I am optimistic there.
On offense, the quarterback situation is improved with a fresh veteran backup and a healthy focused Romo. Running back will be better, Jones is slimmer, Murray is healthy and we have a fullback who will really help. Wide receivers are healthier, Dez might know his routes better and there is no reason to believe that they won't be at least as good as last year. Tight ends are close, probably degraded with the loss of Bennett as a blocker but the fullback might even that out. The offensive line should be better. And it could be that it is entirely new. The tackles swap, two new guards in free agency and every other young lineman should be stronger. It is hard for me to believe that they won't improve.
Special teams will probably be slightly worse because of the loss of McBriar. Other than that we have a chance to be really good. I like Bailey with another year of work, and I love the loss of Buehler... Buehler?... Buehler? because it gives the roster another body.
So, I see major improvement in:
Defensive linebackers and secondary
Regular improvement in:
Quarterback, Running back, and truly offensive line
Staying the same at:
Defensive line and wide receiver
And a slight down turn at:
Tight end and special teams.
I say the team as a whole is much improved. I am very excited to see the 2012 Dallas Cowboys.