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Offensive line questions

Nick Eatman looks at the offensive line and sees the same thing we all see, the great unknown. Will Flozell Adams be all the way back by the start of the season? Can Kyle Kosier replace the big man, Larry Allen? Is Marco Rivera finally going to pay off on that big contract from last year? Will Jason Fabini win the starting job at RT and settle things down, or will Rob Petitti show he can handle it? How will the annual Al Johnson/Andre Gurode battle end this year?

So many questions, and no sure answers anywhere to be seen. The Cowboys season hangs in the balance, even with all the offensive firepower and what looks to be a dominating defense, if Bledsoe is flat on his back and Julius is running into walls; we'll miss the playoffs again.

On the flip-side, if this line can gel together and do a credible job, then the Cowboys could be one of the elite in 2006.

Eatman also highlights some of the lesser known guys.

Marc Colombo might be the wild card in this whole mix, considering the former Chicago first-round pick should be healthier than he's been since midway through his 2002 rookie season when he suffered the career-threatening knee injury. Even if Fabini ends up starting, the Cowboys very well could have two quality backups with experience in Colombo and Petitti.

If Fabini and Adams can man the starting spots and Colombo and Petitti can provide solid back-up, we shouldn't have a repeat of last year.  In the middle things are dicey, too.

Kosier likely steps right into the starting left guard position. But if second-year veteran Stephen Peterman is ever going to step up and compete, it needs to be this year. Peterman, a third-round pick in 2004, missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL and only played in one game last season, and at that on special teams.

And after Peterman at backup guard, Gurode would be the next best candidate, although Parcells has been impressed with second-year guard Cory Procter's improved strength.

Then at center, the Cowboys should once again enter training camp with Johnson and Gurode battling for the starting job. Johnson eventually won the job last season and started all 16 games. Gurode gives the Cowboys more size up front, but Johnson is more consistent at making the line calls and limiting his mistakes.

Mickey Spags writes a love-letter to Bobby Carpenter.

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