These Are The 10 Musts

Morgan must step in, and this is no different from last year when I placed that pressure on Antonio Bryant. Morgan has worked hard in the off-season, and he must become a more consistent receiver - consistent with his routes and consistent catching the ball. If that happens, he then makes Johnson and Glenn even more dangerous.

  1. Henson Or Not: Look, this Cowboys team has lived a charmed life the past two years. Quincy Carter started every game at quarterback in 2003. Vinny Testaverde, the quarterback dinosaur, started 15 of 16 games last year and played in all 16. That is nearly unheard of, especially in back-to-back seasons. Check this out: Troy Aikman started all 16 games in just the 1995 and 1997 seasons, and no one had done so again until Carter did in 2003. And prior to that 1995 season, you would have to go back to 1983 - no kidding - to find that last time a Cowboys quarterback (Danny White) had started all 16 games. So I'm telling you, Drew Henson must be ready this year - not only to play, but to succeed. The percentages would be seriously against Bledsoe starting all 16 games, and that doesn't have anything to do with Bledsoe checking in at 33 years old. Backup quarterbacks are vital to a team's success in the NFL, and you only need ask Bledsoe, right, about that 2001 season in New England.
  1. Let's Go, James: For his own good, and the good of this Cowboys defense in need of linebackers to step up while switching to the 3-4, Bradie James had better become a player this year - his Parcells' Line of Demarcation third. With the undersized Dat Nguyen at one of the inside linebacker spots, the Cowboys need a physical LB at the other. James, at 6-2, 245, with great speed for a linebacker, has the potential to be that guy. But he first must win the battle for the starting job with the likes of Scott Shanle, Ryan Fowler and Keith O'Neil. He has the talent, and I'm guessing playing inside is a tad more simple than the more difficult weak-side spot in the 4-3, what with all the coverages, that he struggled at last year. Definitely a must.
  1. Safety Man: OK, OK, don't rush me. I'm getting to free safety. Remember, the Cowboys covered themselves by signing veteran Izell Reese, who has more than 30 games of NFL starting experience. And Lynn Scott has started games. But to me, if the Cowboys are to flourish at this position, then Keith Davis must prove he's a player - that he is more than a special teams guy. Davis would add some pizzazz to the position. He has a certain flair for making plays, and from what little I've seen, is one of those guys who ends up where the ball is. Now with that, though, you might also get some heart-stopping moments. But if a guy is making plays, then you can qualify those miscues. A playmaker back there instead of a mere safety net might complete this defense.
  1. Jones & Co.?: The Cowboys can rejoice they have Julius Jones, but let's remember, this kid needs some help. He can't do it all alone. They don't use the fullback for many carries, and they don't even have Richie Anderson around as the veteran catch-all. So that means someone must step up as the backup running back, and really, it doesn't matter if that guy is rookie Marion Barber, veteran Anthony Thomas, comeback candidate Erik Bickerstaff or long shot Tyson Thompson. Somebody must prove capable enough to take some of the burden off Jones. He can't be expected to run the ball 30 times a game as he did during that three-game stretch last year. And I don't mean finding a back to come in on third down. Nope, not at all. Heck, I want Jones on the field on third downs. Just someone capable of handling a series here or a series there to keep the kid's carries to the low- to mid-20's a game.
  1. Many Happy Returns: Not a return for a touchdown last year. And really, if you discount the weird onside kick Randal Williams returned for a touchdown in 2003, the Cowboys had nary a true return for a touchdown that year either. And they must find one of each this year in the return game, a kick-off returner and a punt return. Hey, it's OK if he's one in the same, but they don't have a proven guy - just a lot of guys. Remember, ReShard Lee returned the kicks
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