After a week in Oxnard – yes, I’m back here in our lovely triple-digit clime – I think I have a pretty good handle on the Cowboys’ flow chart.
Somehow I missed you-know-who’s appearance, but I did manage to eyeball 10 Cowboys the franchise can’t even dream of a Super Bowl without:
10. Wade Phillips – Take this same talent coached by the insufferable Bill Parcells and you’d have a stressed-out group fighting for the playoffs. Under cool-hand Wade, playing in the Super Bowl is a modest reality.
9. Marion Barber – Not if, but when he gets hurt this year, the Cowboys will have to start handing the ball to rookies Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.
8. Jason Witten – Hard to calculate just how much Tony Romo’s security blanket opens up things for Terrell Owens, so I wont’ try. Okay I’ll try. How about, a bunch?
7. Ken Hamlin – His solid play at safety allows the Cowboys to slowly set Roy Williams out to pasture and not rush along Patrick Watkins before he’s ready.
6. Pacman Jones – If camp is any indication of his talent and temperament, he indeed is going to be the second coming of Deion. Teams yearn for ball-hawking cornerbacks who double as breakaway kick returners.
5. Flozell Adams – False starts notwithstanding, he almost flawlessly protects Romo’s precious backside.
4. Nick Folk – All the sudden we’re taking a sixth-round pick for granted, but it was only two seasons ago that we experienced – courtesy of Mike Vanderjagt -- how a wobbly kicker can implode a football team.
3. DeMarcus Ware – Take away his pass-rush pressure and suddenly Terence Newman isn’t such a super cover corner.
2. Terrell Owens – Without him the Cowboys have no go-to weapon, much less no swagger. How’d you like Patrick Crayton as your No. 1 receiver, flanked by Sam Hurd and Miles Austin? Yikes. Considering the successful halfway house Jerry Jones has constructed, can the signing of this guy be imminent?
1. Tony Romo – I know, duh. But if he goes down, you’ll be treated to a backup quarterback (Brad Johnson) who can’t throw the ball through one of those Homecoming signs. Anytime this guy is an upgrade, you’re in trouble. – Richie Whitt