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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Welcome To The Offseason

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Jason Garrett is proud of the Cowboys' fight to end; Changes are coming for staff and players; The offseason has officially started.

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Jason Garrett proud of Dallas Cowboys' fight to end - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer writes that the finality of a playoff loss is always crushing, and adds this quote from Garrett's post-game press conference.

"When things don't work out for you, there's a lot of different emotions that go into it -- anger, disgust, all those things are a part of it. But I'm just so proud of this group and the fight they demonstrated week in and week out, play in and play out throughout this ballgame. Unfortunately we came up short [but] we walk out of this locker room head held high, shoulders back. It's a helluva football team."

Cowboys left with talk of what wasn't - Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN Dallas
At the end of the day, the season ends early for 31 teams in the league. But JJT provides some forward-looking perspective.

[The Cowboys] were proud of their performance this season and against a team that went 8-0 at home and destroyed opponents in Lambeau Field. Still, they were disappointed with the outcome. That said, this didn't feel so much like the end of a season as the beginning of the best stretch of Cowboys football since the glory days of the 1990s.

These Cowboys tied for the NFL lead with 12 wins and won NFC East for the first time since 2009. If Dallas had beaten Green Bay, no doubt existed within the locker room that the team could win the NFC Championship Game in Seattle, where they beat the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season.

Garrett: Loss not on officials - NFL.com
The Cowboys were on the wrong end of a controversial call in Sunday's loss to the Packers, but Jason Garrett stressed it didn't decide the game.

"Let me make it really clear: This game wasn't about officiating, "Garrett said. "We had 60 minutes, we had an opportunity to come up here and win a ballgame and at the end of the day, we didn't get that job done."

A disappointed Jerry Jones thought this team could have broken the 19-year Super Bowl drought | The Star Telegram
Jerry Jones says the loss to the Packers is among his biggest disappointments as Cowboys owner, particularly because he felt this Cowboys team had a chance to win the Super Bowl.

"It would be right there," Jones said of his most devastating losses. "This would be right there on three or four handfuls of games. We have a team here that had a chance to compete for the championship. I think we are right now good enough to compete with the eventual Super Bowl winner and win the ball game. And that hurts."

Cowboys Welcomed Home As Heroes | NBC 5 DFW
It wasn't exactly a ticker-tape parade, but Cowboys fans gathered at DFW International Airport last night to welcome the team home Sunday night, and NBC 5 covered that reception in a short video.

Cowboys’ Tony Romo played Sunday despite torn ligaments in finger | Rainer Sabin, DMN
This is something that is likely going to get lost in all the hoopla over the playoff exit: Tony Romo had an injury to his left ring finger, which he suspects could be some torn ligaments. Romo suffered the injury last week.

"You just get up and keep playing," Romo said. "Everybody goes through it. Bunch of little stuff that’s just normal."

Sturm: It should have been a catch; but here’s what else lost the game for Cowboys | Dallas Morning News
Sturm echoes a popular sentiment among Cowboys fans: sure it should have been a catch, but the Cowboys could have won the game earlier. Biggest move for the Cowboys next year?

They absolutely must add pass rush talent because perhaps the story of the game beyond the officiating controversy would have to be Rodgers’ gimpy body sacked only once and Romo sacked four times on 13 fewer pass attempts. Rodgers: One sack in 36 attempts. Romo: Four sacks on 23 attempts. In a game like this, the ability for Rodgers to keep plays alive and survive in the pocket would seem to indicate the Cowboys could use some more butt-kickers in the defensive line.

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Jerry Jones Discusses Contract Situations; Garrett Extension "At The Top Of Your List" | David Helman, DC.com
Most of the coaching staff need new deals if they are to stay in Dallas, Helman writes. Jerry Jones said those discussions will begin immediately, starting with an extension for Garrett:

"I know it’s certainly one of the orders of the day, beginning right this minute," Jones said of Garrett’s contract. "We’re through playing. That’s usually when that steps up and gets at the top of your list."

"In general, this staff is one that you’d like to keep going, with a lot of other things influencing your ability to keep a staff together, especially since you’re dealing with about 23 of them," Jones said.

What’s next for Cowboys? Jerry Jones says changes are coming | Jon Machota, DMN
In addition to their coaching staff, the Cowboys will be taking a close look at their roster in the coming days and weeks.

"We have about a 30 percent turnover every year," Jerry Jones said. "What is the core? Who is the core? That’s a part of what we’ll be doing. We’ve had more numbers of players play a key role in our success this year than I had thought we would when we started this season."

Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray weigh in on their future with Cowboys | Brandon George, DMN
"Weigh in" here means they didn't say anything about their future, though Dez Bryant did add this:

"We’re still the [expletive] truth and don’t ever forget it."

Dallas Cowboys under contract for next season, free agents who could possibly walk | DMN
Want a primer on which players are free agents? The DMN offers the entire roster list from Spotrac.com for your convenience, neatly sorted into players under contract, restricted free agents, and unrestricted free agents.

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2015 NFL Draft order: Dallas Cowboys pick at No. 27 - SBNation.com
The updated selection order following the divisional round has the Cowboys with the 27th pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

2015 NFL Mock Draft, updated for Divisional Round results - CBSSports.com
One of the first mocks with the updated draft order has the Cowboys beefing up the defensive line:

27. Dallas Cowboys – DE Owamgbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
With Demarcus Lawrence penciled in at left defensive end for the Cowboys moving forward, this pick might be used to find the right defensive end of the future in Dallas. Odighizuwa is tough to pronounce and he's also tough to block as both a rusher and run stopper.