For two years the Cowboys' pass defense has failed them. The unit ranked 28th in yards allowed per attempt in 2010 and 24th in 2011. At the same time, NFL offenses have evolved at a rapid pace.
Three quarterbacks threw for 5,000 yards in 2011, a clear signal to the Cowboys that it was time to blow up the defensive backfield and start over.
"We're in a passing league," Jerry Jones said. "It's no secret we're reworking our secondary. We've done some reworking to coaching, we've done some reworking to the players that are involved."
Gone are secondary coaches Dave Campo and Brett Maxie, as well as left cornerback stalwart Terence Newman, starting strong safety Abe Elam and reserve cornerbacks Alan Ball and Frank Walker.
The Cowboys have imported Jerome Henderson as the secondary coach from Cleveland and added Joe Baker, previously of Tampa Bay, as his assistant.
On the first full day of free agency they doled out a $50 million contract to Kansas City's Brandon Carr and later inked safety Brodney Pool from the Jets.
On Thursday the Cowboys traded up to land the first defensive player taken in the NFL Draft, cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU.
The cornerback position has been especially static over the last three years, but suddenly the snowglobe has been turned over.
"I think it's great," slot corner Orlando Scandrick said. "Obviously we didn't get it done here last year. Hopefully we can get it done this year. There's going to be a lot of competition, so we'll see where it goes."
Only Scandrick and safety Gerald Sensabaugh have long-term security with the club, as both signed five-year extensions with the team last summer. Amid all the change, though, no one can feel totally safe.
"I've never been in this position before, and I don't really know what their plans are for this year," Scandrick said. "Nothing's guaranteed. There's no guarantee I'm going to be here. They just traded up eight spots to get Morris Claiborne, so I don't know, I can only control what I can control."