KEVIN KOWALSKI is a young and developmental prospect whose main immediate future competition for any action at center is PHIL COSTA, who was full-time starter for the first time in 2011. BILL NAGY has a tough road to navigate at the guard position as he has established veterans and young cats to fight in order to stay on the roster.
One of the more interesting offensive linemen on this team is DAVID ARKIN, who didn’t play in his rookie year of 2011. Arkin can play tackle or guard but he is needed much more at guard and there is a chance in the near future that he could be starting at one of the guard spots. KYLE KOSIER is on his way out of Dallas after five years of starting 13 or more games at guard. Arkin may be one of the young players on this roster who may replace him someday.
Costa has to prove that he will improve and that the 2011 season is not the only year that he will be starting at center for this franchise. Kowalski is not nearly ready to unseat him and the Cowboys haven’t signed any veterans to challenge him either.
DOUG FREE just a got a substantial bump in his pay for the 2012 season, and he needs to prove that he is worth it, but Free is a good offensive linemen and with hard work may end up in a Pro Bowl someday. He is not and never will be a perennial Pro Bowler but he has the ability to get there.
Defensive tackle ROB CALLAWAY hasn’t made a blip on the NFL radar yet so he needs a heck of an off season to change that. MACKENZY BERNADEAU was brought in recently to challenge for one of the starting guard spots as last year’s guards MONTRAE HOLLAND and Kosier may be on their way out of Dallas. TYRON SMITH is on his way to big things but even as talented as he is, he still has work to do. He is Dallas’ most talented offensive lineman by far.
JASON WITTEN is looking for his fourth 1,000 yard season in the last six years, as he has been the Cowboys’ go-to guy for a long time. Witten is in the midst of a possible Hall of Fame career.
RAYMOND RADWAY an undrafted rookie last year out of Abilene Christian, is an intriguing talent. He has solid speed, strength, and good hands. Hopefully in the near future the Cowboys can unlock this kid’s potential as a complementary receiver, but like all undrafted and developmental players, he has a tough road to walk down and he has a ways to go in order for the ‘Boys to take him seriously.
DEZ BRYANT is a gifted receiver and playmaker and is on his way to stardom. Thank God, because despite Witten’s stupendous talent, he needs help and Bryant has and will provide that. JOHN PHILLIPS can catch the ball and block for players who carry it, the 2012 season is pivotal to see if he can be a decent No. 2 or 3 tight end; but he isn’t in the class of the possibly vacated tight end MARTELLUS BENNETT.
JAY RATLIFF’s pass rushing skills have tailed off in recent memory and he needs to restore them because he is one of the more vital players in their defensive scheme. J.P. LADOUCEUR has been the Cowboys long snapper seven years. Every time you watch a Cowboy game you hardly, if ever, see him give a bad snap, or hear how he cost the Cowboys points from a blocked punt or missed field goal due to a funky snap.
JOSH BRENT needs a good 2012 season or it could be outs-ville for him. Seeing how cold the NFL is, he could be gone before the season even starts, or during the season. But the Cowboys need depth on the interior of their defensive line especially since they run a 3-4 defense.
It’s sad, with all the hard work and crazy effective seasons that Ware has had over the years (99.5 sacks with an average of 14 sacks per season) that the Cowboys can’t repay him with a Super Bowl ring or even deep trips here and there into the playoffs.
SEAN LISSEMORE has burst off the snap, speed, and a relentless style of play. He is a 4-3 defensive end or tackle and the older he gets, the more important it is that the Cowboys realize that. But he is a work in progress like many of the players on this roster.
Once upon a time it was thought that JASON HATCHER was on his way to possible league-wide respect, but he has underachieved for far too long and he could be playing his last days in Big D. He needs a heck of an off season and/or 2012 season for real.
MARCUS SPEARS is a great competitor and the Cowboys need him tremendously in their defense, even if he doesn’t produce a boatload of sacks like he is capable of. KENYON COLEMAN has been around the bend a few times and the Cowboys need to see if he still has what it takes to help their pass rush in 2012.
By Matthew Robinson