The old and trustworthy guys have come through for the Cowboys this year - DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Tony Romo - but it's fair to say the team would not be atop the NFC East at this point without a few breakout stars.
Guys like DeMarco Murray, Laurent Robinson and Sean Lee have come from lowered expectations to propel the club to where it is now. Jason Garrett always preaches improvement, on both an individual and a team level, and so the Cowboys will be expecting more players to make a push in coming weeks.
Asked on Tuesday who else he was waiting for or hoping could break out for the stretch run and hopefully the playoffs, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' first thought was a player who missed the first half of the season, the Cowboys' second-round pick.
"I'd like to see Bruce Carter," Jones said. "I'd like to see him continue to improve. That could be a plus and he's got time to continue to improve. So it's principly the young guys."
After rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL suffered a year ago, Carter has shown up nicely several times on special teams in recent weeks, and the hope is that he could become a contributor on defensive subpackages by the end of the year.
Carter does have something in common with Murray, Robinson and Lee, as each of whom were high draft picks who are currently living up to the billing - Robinson and Murray coming in the third round, and Lee in the second. Jones went on to cite another player with a high pedigree when thinking about which players could offer a turbo boost for the remainder of the season.
"We're of course just excited about the continued improvement that we're having from (Tyron) Smith," Jones said. "He's continuing to get better at right tackle. Those guys are two that come to my mind, and then you've got veteran players who have a chance to get a better feel for what, let's say, Rob Ryan is doing on defense. And so they become better because they just have a better feel for the scheme."