NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp: Depth Chart Predictions

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Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart

Dallas Cowboys

The story of the 2012 season was filled with highs and lows for the Dallas Cowboys, who missed an opportunity to clinch the NFC East title and fell to 8-8 with a loss to the Washington Redskins in the regular-season finale.

The Cowboys have finished each of the last two seasons with an 8-8 record. In some cities, this sort of mediocrity would be acceptable, but not in Big D. Expectations, like everything else in Texas, are big. The Cowboys didn’t make any major moves during the offseason leaving plenty of question marks at various spots on the roster.

The overriding theme is the intransigence of owner/general manager Jerry Jones. It is almost universally believed that the Cowboys would be better off with an experienced football man at the helm. Jones reasserted this belief with another draft day blunder. Jones drafted Wisconsin center, Travis Fredrick in the first round, when most had Fredrick as a third-round pick. Jones could have used his first-round pick to sure up the cowboys oft-injured defensive line. The draft wasn’t all bad, wide out Terrence Williams shows promise and last year’s draft gem Maurice Claiborne will no doubt show improvement this year.

Maybe Jones is right, the Cowboys No. 1 problem last year wasn’t Romo, coaching or the defense. Injuries ravaged the Cowboys. However, the boys have always had a systemic leadership issue, players know that the buck doesn’t stop with the head coach, thus they don’t respect (or even fear) the coach as they should, and accountability goes out of the window.

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Tony Romo
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QB1: Tony Romo QB2: Kyle Orton

Obviously, when you sign your quarterback to a 100-million-dollar contract, he is the foundation upon which your team is built on. The problem is that there are cracks in this foundation. Will this finally be the season where Tony Romo sheds the “choker” label? If Romo gets injured, the 'Boys have a solid backup in Kyle Orton, but if Orton plays anything more than a fill in role for a game or two, the Cowboys’ season is over.

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Running Backs

DeMarco Murray
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RB1: Demarco Murray RB2: Joseph Randle RB3: Phillip Tanner RB4: Lance Dunbar FB:1 Lawrence Vickers

If he could stay healthy, Murray has a chance to be an elite running back, however, "if" is the biggest word in the English language. Murray has missed nine games during his first two seasons. Rookie Joseph Randle will serve as an insurance policy, but he'll also steal carries from Murray as the 'Boys brass will attempt to limit Murray’s injury risk.

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Wide Recievers And Tight Ends

Dez Bryant
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WR1: Dez Bryant WR2: Miles Austin WR3: Terrence Williams WR4: Cole Beasley WR5: Dwayne Harris TE1: Jason Witten TE2: Gavin Escobar TE3: James Hanna

After last year's breakout season, all signs point to Dez Bryant establishing himself as an elite No. 1 receiver. Obviously, Witten is Romo’s safety valve, but the 'Boys need Miles Austin to stay on the field, or rookie Terrence Williams could overtake him and give the Cowboys another down field threat.

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Offensive Line

Travis Fredrick
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LT1: Tyron Smith LT2: Darrion Weems LG1: Nate Livings LG2: Ronald Leary C1:Travis Fredrick C2: Phil Costa RG1: Mackenzy Bernadeau RG2: David Arkin RT1: Doug Free RT2: Jermey Parnell

The oft-maligned unit is generally the scapegoat for the Cowboys offensive woes (with good reason usually). During the offseason, Jones was able to restructure Doug Free’s contract and move him to right tackle, and draft Wisconsin center Travis Fredrick. The question is, will it be enough?

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Defensive Line

Demarcus Ware
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LDE1: DeMarcus Ware LDE2: Ikponmwosa Igbinosun LDT1: Jay Ratliff LDT2: Sean Lissemore RDT1: Jason Hatcher RDT2: Rob Callaway RDE: Anthony Spencer RDE2: Kyle Wilber

The change in defensive philosophies also brings with it a formation change, the boys will switch to a 4-3, which means Ware and Spencer will both lineup as a 4-3 D-ends for the first time since college.

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Sean Lee, Bruce Carter
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WILL LB1: Bruce Carter WILL LB2: Ernie Sims MIKE LB1: Sean Lee MIKE LB2: Caleb McSurdy SAM LB1: Justin Durant SAMLB2: Alex Albright

The heart of the Cowboys defense lies here, Lee was outstanding before his injury last year and Carter drew comparisons to a young Ray Lewis before he too was bitten by the injury bug. If they can stay healthy (reoccurring theme anyone), they will be among the league’s elite linebacking corps.

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Brandon Carr
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Corners CB1: Brandon Carr CB2: Morris Claiborne CB3: Orlando Scandrick(slot corner) Safeties SS1: Barry Church SS2: Danny McCray FS1: Will Allen FS2: J.J. Wilcox

Two seasons ago, the Cowboys were in desperate need of help in the defensive backfield. To his credit, Jones moved up in the draft to acquire Morris Claiborne and signed Kansas city Chiefs standout Brandon Carr.

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Special Teams

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PK: Dan Bailey P: Chris Jones PR: Dez Bryant KR: Dwyane Harris, Lance Dunbar LS: L.P. LaDouceur