Cowboys season in review: The good, the bad ....

Posted Sunday, Jan. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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What went right

Receiver Dez Bryant finally lived up to expectations as a former No. 1 pick and could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Anthony Spencer also had a career year at linebacker, and tight end Jason Witten proved to be an inspiration after starting the season with a lacerated spleen and ending with the most catches by a tight end in NFL history.

Cornerback Brandon Carr lived up to Jason Garrett's description of being the right kind of player and person the Cowboys want in the locker room with his play on the field and his handling of tragic deaths in Kansas City and Dallas.

As a team, the Cowboys bought into Garrett's message of one game at a time, one play at a time and kept battling through on-field adversity and off-the-field tragedy.

What went wrong

Everything starts and ends with quarterback Tony Romo, and one season after having a career best 31-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, he matched a career high with 19 interceptions. He was hampered by a poor running game and poor line play, forcing him to do too much. Romo's bad decision-making was a huge disappointment.

The running game was woeful at best, totaling the fewest yards per game in franchise history. Injuries on defense decimated what appeared to be a promising unit.

Six starters were lost for the season, and that doesn't include linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who played the last half of the season with shoulder, hamstring and elbow injuries that limited his effectiveness.

Team needs

1. Defensive linemen

Nose tackle Jay Ratliff played in only six games and saw his sacks decline for a fourth consecutive season. He is aging, declining and likely in the doghouse after his run-in with Jerry Jones.

Ratliff's backup, Josh Brent, is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge. Finding a nose tackle is paramount.

The Cowboys also need upgrades at defensive end, where Kenyon Coleman is unlikely to return and Marcus Spears could be aged out.

2. Center/guard

The Cowboys spent last off-season looking to upgrade the guard position and ended up with the disappointing play of Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings.

They also have no answers at center with Phil Costa and Kevin Kowalski, both being question marks because of their play and recent surgeries.

The Cowboys should draft an interior lineman in the top three rounds.

3. Running back

Felix Jones is likely not returning. And with DeMarco Murray's penchant for finding his way on the injury list every season, the Cowboys need to bring in a capable and durable running back to share the load and possibly serve as a starter if necessary.

4. Pass-rush linebacker

The biggest decision of the off-season will be on linebacker Anthony Spencer. If the Cowboys can't re-sign him and don't put the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year -- guaranteeing him more than $10 million -- then they need to find his replacement.

He was the team's best pass rusher at the end of the season with DeMarcus Ware wearing down.

5. Quarterback

The Cowboys are not going to replace to Tony Romo at quarterback in 2013. But it is time for them to start thinking about his replacement.

Drafting a quarterback and developing him for the future should finally be a priority for owner Jerry Jones.

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Friday, August 22Full Scoreboard
Baltimore1Final | Box
Chicago Cubs «4
Houston1Bottom 7th | Box
Cleveland1@theBallpark | TV: CSN-HOU, STO
Chicago WSox3Bottom 6th | Box
NY Yankees3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, MY9
St. Louis4Top 7th | Box
Philadelphia5@theBallpark | TV: FSN-MW, NBC 10
San Francisco4Bottom 7th | Box
Washington2@theBallpark | TV: MLB Net, CSN-BA, MASN
Tampa Bay7Top 7th | Box
Toronto0@theBallpark | TV: Sun Sports, SNET
Seattle0Bottom 6th | Box
Boston0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, NESN
Atlanta1Top 7th | Box
Cincinnati0@theBallpark | TV: MLB Net, FSN-S, FSN-OH
Kansas City4Bottom 4th | Box
Texas1@theBallpark | TV: FSN-KC, TXA-21
Pittsburgh4Top 4th | Box
Milwaukee2@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-WI
Detroit1Bottom 3rd | Box
Minnesota6@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, FSN-N
Miami2Bottom 2nd | Box
Colorado0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-FL, ROOT-RM
San Diego 8/22 9:40 PM ET
Arizona TV: FSN-SD, FSN-AZ
LA Angels 8/22 10:05 PM ET
Oakland TV: FSN-W, CSN-CA
NY Mets 8/22 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: SNY, SportsNet LA
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Friday, August 22Full Scoreboard
No games today
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Week 4Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Pittsburgh21Final | Box
Philadelphia «31
Friday
Jacksonville63rd Qtr 13:38 | Box
Detroit7TV: WXYZ7
Carolina03rd Qtr 12:19 | Box
New England13TV: Panthers TV, WBZ
NY Giants7 Half Time | Box
NY Jets10TV: CBS 2
Oakland72nd Qtr 7:41 | Box
Green Bay14TV: CBS
Chicago 10:00 PM ET
Seattle TV: NFL Net, FOX32, Q13FOX
Saturday
Tampa Bay 4:30 PM ET
Buffalo TV: NFL Network, WFLA
Tennessee 7:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: WKRN, CW69
Dallas 7:00 PM ET
Miami TV: KTVT, CBS11, CBS4
Washington 7:30 PM ET
Baltimore TV: NBC4, CSN-DC, WBAL
St. Louis 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: WKYC
New Orleans 8:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: CBS
Minnesota 8:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: KARE 11, KCTV
Houston 9:00 PM ET
Denver TV: KTRK, KUSA
Sunday
San Diego 4:00 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
Cincinnati 8:00 PM ET
Arizona TV: NBC
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No games today
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