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Pat Kirwan has a story out on QB’s who are presumably headed to their first 16-game season as the starter. These are guys, like Tony Romo, who for whatever reasons, are now expected to be the man. It’s pretty interesting stuff, but the best part came towards the end.

The Rex Grossman Award for leading his team to the Super Bowl in his first 16-game season.
I don't really like any of this year's candidates, but I will go with Tony Romo.

I’ll take a back-handed compliment over no compliment at all.

Adam Schein wins the most creative attempt at a subject to write about in the NFL offseason award. This column is about NFL players with the last name Jones. Next week it’s going to be about guys with the last name Dagunduro – my pet cat Ola gets his own article, sweet.

But he did bring up Julius.

Julius Jones
It's a huge season for the Dallas running back. He's going into a contract year with a lot to prove. Jones has been outspoken this spring and summer, describing how elated he is to be freed of Bill Parcells. He told us how a weight has been lifted from him with the new coaching staff in place. And Cowboys teammates, ranging from Tony Romo to Marcus Spears to Bradie James to Kevin Burnett to Marc Columbo, all say they noticed a different player during mini-camp. I've always believed in Jones' talent and think the running back will have a big season in 2007. But, it's one thing to talk in the off-season and be happy to be rid of a future Hall of Fame coach. Now Jones has to back it up.

Tony Romo enjoys some down time back in Wisconsin.

I read this when it came out last week, but didn’t comment on it. Since it’s a slow news cycle, I thought I’d throw it out there. Clark Judge ranked the top 5 players (plus the next best) at each position on offense, while Pete Prisco did the same for the defenses.

A couple of Cowboys made the list.

DeMarcus Ware, OLB.

2. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas: Now that Wade Phillips is in Dallas, Ware might be the next Merriman waiting to happen. He's an outstanding pass rusher who plays the run well, can shift to pass coverage easily and who has terrific back-side pursuit. He's more of a complete player but isn't at Merriman's level as a pass rusher.

He came in second to Merriman; this year will be interesting to watch in comparing the two.

Terence Newman, CB.

4. Terence Newman, Dallas: When you watch the Cowboys, the first thing you notice is opponents trying to exploit Anthony Henry. That speaks to their respect for Newman, who can fly and match up with any receiver -– either on the outside or in the slot. Hey, he once was matched with Atlanta tight end Alge Crumpler. Newman is an outstanding athlete who's unafraid to play the run.

Meanwhile, Prisco barely gives us a mention on the offense.  

Andre Gurode, C.

Next best: Andre Gurode, Dallas -- He is a tough, quick player who helps key the Dallas run game. He can also play guard in a pinch.

I thought the biggest error was not even listing Jason Witten among the top 6 tight ends.

Jeff Pearlman is the author of some pretty great sports books, and he’s currently working on a bio of the 90’s Cowboys. Somehow, I don’t think there will be a lack of material. Given the 90's Cowboys combination of winning teams, out-sized personalities and some debauchery that would’ve made Caligula proud, it should be interesting. Anyway, he’s keeping a blog about the process over on his MySpace page and sent me an email requesting that I link to it. So here’s the link.

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