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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: How The Cowboys Can Win It All in 2015

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Latest Cowboys headlines: How the Cowboys can improve on 2014; How the Cowboys discovered their identity; Chances of re-signing Rolando McClain.

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Why Cowboys could win it all in 2015 | Jon Machota, DMN
In a chat with fans on Friday, and explains why the Cowboys could be even more successful in 2015.

This season was all about showing that the franchise is heading in the right direction. They had an offense good enough to win a Super Bowl. They did not have a defense good enough to get the job done. Even if they find a way to get by Green Bay, I don't know that the defense continues to hold it together against Seattle and New England with injuries to guys like Rolando, Hitchens and Melton. Add some talent to the defense and there's still enough gas in the tank for the aging veterans like Romo and Witten next season.

How Cowboys can reach title game - Shreveport Times
This article argues that in addition to the more obvious things the Cowboys need to do (acquire some pressure, protect Romo) to get into next year's NFC Championship game next year, two "forgotten" players could make the difference - if they play up to the potential the Cowboys once saw in them.

The Cowboys were one play from a chance to play for a spot in the Super Bowl without significant contributions from linebacker Sean Lee (ACL injury in OTAs) and former LSU star Morris Claiborne (patellar tendon injury during the first month of this season).

Those players must be on the field in 2015. If Lee sheds his oft-injured label and Claiborne displays any of the talent that led Jones to trade up to the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys could be in business.

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Why Cowboys' framework for winning finally bore fruit in 2014 | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin traces the Cowboys success back to February 2013, when Jones announced he wanted Garrett to become a "walk-around" head coach. The move initially backfired when Bill Callahan's West Coast style proved a disconnect with Garrett's Coryell-style system, and Monte Kiffin's disconnected with everything. But installing Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan as Garrett's lieutenants changed that.

The new arrangement appealed to Garrett. His offensive philosophy was compatible with Linehan’s, and he shared Marinelli’s belief that a defense’s top priority is to create takeaways.

By using a wider lens to assess the overall landscape of the team, Garrett also developed a winning formula that positively affected the entire operation. Throughout the season, the Cowboys aimed to control the ball in order to reduce the exposure of the defense. It was a brilliant strategy that carried the Cowboys to a 13-5 record and their first NFC East title since 2009.

Under Linehan, the offense led the league in time of possession, averaged more rushing yards than 30 teams and produced the second-most points in the NFL. Marinelli’s bunch, meanwhile, was on the field for fewer plays than 27 defenses and forced more turnovers than all but one club.

A new Cowboys identity sprang from ashes of opening defeat - Clarence Hill, Star Telegram
Hill traces the success of the 2014 season to the blowout loss to the 49ers on opening day.

But a tipping point for the Cowboys came during the opening onslaught in the form of running back DeMarco Murray, who had 22 carries for 118 yards. The Cowboys switched their offensive identity from pass-happy to a ball-control, ground-oriented attack, paving the way for a six-game winning streak.

Murray would set an NFL record with eight games of at least 100 yards to open the season, and a successful blueprint was born.

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Bigger priorty: Defensive line or secondary? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer answers a Twitter question about which defensive unit should be addressed with the higher priority.

If we believe Jerry Jones, then it's the defensive line and that falls in line with what I'm thinking. I've said this before but a pass rush makes a secondary; a secondary does not make a pass rush. The Cowboys have to find help. In Tyrone Crawford, Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence, they have decent pieces. They need a lot more. Every team can use a DeMarcus Ware in his prime type, but there's not a lot of those guys to go around.

So for now they need to throw numbers at the position and hope three guys can do what Ware used to do. I think you'll see them lean defensively in the draft for sure, with the line at the top of the list. But I wouldn't look for them to spend a bunch of money on a free agent.

Cowboys want to re-sign Rolando McClain - Tim Cowlishaw, DMN
In a chat with fans on Thursday, Cowlishaw puts the chances the Cowboys re-sign McClain at "72.5%", but also says Bruce Carter likely won't get re-signed.

The Cowboys want to Rolando McClain although his occasional inability to get on the field or almost ever practice is something of a concern. The interesting thing -- and maybe advantage to Cowboys -- is that they have 3 LBs who are free agents (Carter, McClain, Durant) and a lot of depth at the position with Hitchens, Wilber, Sean Lee in place. They don't have to keep them all but I would say they would like to keep them all but one. I think there is a good chance they lose Carter, he's going to get paid.

Cowboys evaluations: Who exceeded expectations? Who must improve? | David Moore, DMN
Moore works through the entire roster to identify the over- and underachievers.