A year ago at this time I was pegging the Dallas Cowboys for the "Super Bowl." Last time we saw them however - 44-6 losers in Philly on Dec. 28 - it was "or bust."
Coming off 2008's 9-7 disaster, the Cowboys have shedded from their roster the leading receiver (Terrell Owens), second-best pass rusher (Greg Ellis), two best special-teams players (Keith Davis and Kevin Burnett) and the second-leading tackler (Zach Thomas). When the Cowboys open training camp in preparation for their 50th season Wednesday afternoon in San Antonio, the hype will be gone.
How about the hope?
HBO's Hard Knocks won't be at The Alamodome, but I will. And this is where you come in.
These are the angles and stories I have on my list to track at camp. Feel free to add, subtract or validate. I'll be there for two weeks, so plenty of time to fulfill every wish list.
*Tony Romo-friendly. No T.O. No Jessica. No more excuses.
*Martellus Bennett: Can Marty B mature?
*Will Jason Garrett emphasize a running game based around Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice?
*Was Roy Williams worth it?
*Can Anthony Spencer take pressure off DeMarcus Ware?
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*Bobby Carpenter's still here? Serioulsy?
*Orlando Scandrick or Mike Jenkins: One will start at cornerback.
*Can a 62-year-old lame duck named Wade Phillips really changed his stripes into a more demanding, disciplined breed of cat?
*Entering camp I've got the Cowboys 9-7 and the third-best team in the NFC East behind the Giants and Eagles.