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LUKE ROLING CHICAGO, IL:Every year there is someone picking the Cowboys to go to the Super Bowl when, in fact, they just aren't there yet. I was impressed by the offseason this year and I think we finally have a year where we can be truly optimistic. Your thoughts?
Rob: I promise I'm not trying to counter your optimism with pessimism. But even though every team's goal is the Super Bowl, I think we need to keep in perspective that this franchise hasn't advanced past the second round since 1995. I agree they appear to have upgraded a couple of spots. They need to look at the season in stages, starting with winning the NFC East for the first time since 2009. It's still the toughest division in football, and their "third-place" schedule looks very difficult on paper. Win the East (nine, 10 victories?) and they're in the playoffs with a chance like 11 other teams. Beyond that, let's wait.
Josh: I agree with you that the offseason appears to have been pretty productive. If nothing else, they've turned their biggest weakness, the secondary, into what we think will be a strength. They've done some things to try to help the offensive line, too. But just keep in mind that the rest of the league had an offseason, too, and probably feel like they've improved. We'll just have to wait and see. You can be optimistic, but probably cautiously so.
TIMOTHY CODDINGTON RESTON, VA The Cowboys could use a return specialist. Do you think Dwayne Harris can fill that role and do you think he has a good shot at being the third or fourth receiver?
Rob:The third and fourth receiver spots are still completely up for grabs, and Harris is still in that mix. I'm not sure he showed enough explosiveness on kick or punt returns last year, but he's still an option because I don't believe they really want Dez Bryant or Morris Claiborne back there full-time. Maybe Felix Jones will settle back into a complementary back/kick returner role when he gets healthy. But Harris' return experience does help his chances of making the team.
Josh: For all the time we spend talking about the third wide receiver job being wide open, know that the fourth spot is even more so. You'd like that guy to be a big special teams contributor, either in the return game or kick coverage. I don't know that we've seen Harris look dynamic in either respect, but maybe he just needs more opportunities. He'll have plenty of them between now and the final cuts, but his spot is far from secure.