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"I Believe We're Going to be the Best Offensive Line in the NFL"

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When Jerry Jones introduced new Cowboys' guard Marco Rivera yesterday, he could have stressed Rivera's four consecutive Pro Bowls. He also could have stressed Rivera's power and durability.

Instead, Jones repeatedly emphasized the nine-year veteran's leadership skills. The new Cowboy wasted no time in assuming the captaincy of the offensive line, telling the assembled press, "I'm glad to have the pressure on me... If the season started tomorrow, I'd be ready to go."

Rivera cited his extensive game preparation and attention to technique as his strengths. He said his linemates in Green Bay were inspired by his work ethic and subsequently improved their own. He suggested that he could do the same for the young linemen Al Johnson and Torrin Tucker who will play alongside him.

Jones, Bill Parcells and the rest of the Cowboys brass are probably hoping that Rivera's work ethic will rub off on the veterans too. Though Flozell Adams and Larry Allen have each attended the last two Pro Bowls, both have shown inconsistent play in that time.

Rivera's friendship with Allen played a role in his decision to join the Cowboys. Rivera mentioned discussions he had with Allen in Honolulu where, "I asked him what the Cowboys were about, what coach Parcells was about?" Allen asked him to remember the Cowboys when free agency started.

Rivera did, coming to Dallas Wednesday afternoon and signing a day later. But the Cowboys were not the only team on his mind. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Detroit Lions entered the bidding, prompting the Cowboys to give Rivera a $9 million signing bonus, one of the highest payouts to a guard.

Jones had no regrets about Rivera's contract, insisting that Rivera would not only upgrade his position, but all the positions on the line.

-- Jones endorsed right tackle Torrin Tucker, saying the team probably played him too early. Jones also said there are no current plans to pursue a right tackle in free agency.

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