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Donning The Kool-Aid Goggles To Look At The Cowboys

We've become used to doom and gloom about the Star, but this season, it is really hard to find the dark cloud. Just for the thought of what might be, let's focus on the Blue and Silver lining.

A little old fashioned flag waving.
A little old fashioned flag waving.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier, Dave Halprin looked at the level of risk involved in the offseason moves of the Dallas Cowboys. And One Cool Customer considered what positions are lacking in competition looking forward to training camp. Although we are proud to be a site composed of fans of the team here at Blogging The Boys, we also strive to maintain a level of objectivity about the team. The long years of struggle since the glory days of the early nineties have made that something of an ingrained habit, and we follow a team in a media market that has no problem with severely critiquing any bad move it makes (unlike in some other markets where writers for major outlets clearly exhibit their support of their local team.)

Well, for a while, let's just forget all that, grab a big ol' pitcher of the blue Kool-Aid, and ask ourselves: What if Jerry Jones and his brain trust got it mostly, or even just maybe all, right this year?

If they have, something scary could be coming out of Valley Ranch.

Let's look at some of the facets of this.

Tony Romo may be in the best part of his career. Yes, he's 35. But he had arguably the best year of his career in 2014, and there were no signs that he had lost any of the Romodini magic that at times elevate his game to the sublime. And, thanks to a terrible event in Louisiana, one of the top offensive line prospects became available for Jerry Jones and company to work some masterful salesmanship on, leaving Romo with the giddy prospect of lining up behind a line composed of four first-round caliber talents and one wily veteran (whether that veteran be Ronald Leary or, most likely, Doug Free). With Scott Linehan calling the offense and the time he is likely to have in the pocket, Romo may be carving defenses like Michelangelo shaping the Madonna of Bruges.

Maybe the running game won't miss a beat. The biggest complaint everyone keeps hitting on about the draft is the big dead horse - uh, failure to draft a running back to help replace DeMarco Murray. There are, however, some out there who don't believe that Murray was the be all and end all of the running game.

If, from the current group of backs or a possible pickup near or after the start of training camp, the Cowboys find a runner or runners who can feed behind that talent-laden offensive line, the run-first offensive strategy will just keep on keeping on. And with Romo working the pass game, it could become a matter of having to pick their poison for opposing defenses, much as it was in 2014. How sad . . . for them.

Rod Marinelli may be rubbing his hands together and laughing evilly. The defensive coordinator loves him some rushmen. And in his second year as DC, and third with the team, he has been given a group that makes what he had to work with in the past pale in comparison. The team made it clear improving the pass rush was job one when they signed talented-but-troubled free agent Greg Hardy. Then they upped the ante by drafting the also troubled but very promising Randy Gregory, and added insurance pick Ryan Russell. And instead of a bunch of aging, declining players, the defensive end and tackle positions are full of players who look like they are on the rise. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Jack Crawford, Ben Gardner, and Chris Whaley all look to be improving. In the first of a series at the mothership looking at the defensive tackle position, and why the Cowboys did not elect to use a draft pick on that spot, Bryan Broaddus examines another such player, Ken Bishop.

Bishop spent the first six weeks on the 53-man roster last year, playing in two games before going to the practice squad for the final six. However, Bishop was reinstated for the Green Bay game in the playoffs and posted three tackles, including one for a loss.

Marinelli sometimes worked wonders with very little raw material. Now we may see what he will do with some real athletes in his arsenal.

Linebacker depth at last? The depth question has been a problem all over the Dallas roster, and linebacker has been one of the positions most affected. Now, the team has both Sean Lee and Rolando McClain healthy and ready to benefit from full offseason and preseason preparation, plus versatile Anthony Hitchens, rookies Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha, and a selection of veterans signed as free agents. Given the chance of injury at the position, you cannot have too much depth, but at least the Cowboys look to have a chance at adequacy.

The secondary may be better, too. The Cowboys invested their first-round pick in Byron Jones, who is insanely athletic. They appear to have their best veteran, Orlando Scandrick, back on board. Brandon Carr was playing better late in the season. And there is even a chance that the team may see a largely healthy Morris Claiborne and finally get some good return on the extra draft pick they invested to trade up for him. The safety position is still a bit iffy, as OCC noted, but it is hard to fix everything at once in the salary cap era. And more pressure from those rushmen should take some of the pressure off the defensive backs.

Reports of discord seem greatly exaggerated. As mentioned, the mini-holdout by Scandrick is over. And despite repeated attempts to play it up, the reports of tension between the team and Dez Bryant over a new contract seem to have as much credibility as the fabled WalMart video. Bryant has been seen repeatedly at Valley Ranch and has made nothing but positive statements about how he expects to contribute to the team this season, even if he is forced to settle for playing for a measly $12.8 million while putting off a long term deal another year.

This totals up to the ultimate best case scenario for Dallas, but just imagine. If this all comes together and the team is blessed with just average health, there will be a Blue and Silver juggernaut rolling through the league and into the playoffs. Even if not all of these turn out, having three or four of these things work will likely mean that the Cowboys will be improved from the squad that won the NFC East and a first round playoff game. Given how close they came in the season ending game against the Green Bay Packers, that should lead to very good things.

Before last season, Cowboys fans were seen to be rampantly optimistic if they just predicted the team wouldn't suck. This year, being optimistic means a bit more. Namely, Fear. The. Star.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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