5 Cowboys storylines to watch

Posted Thursday, Sep. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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1Garrett on the hot seat

Don’t mind owner Jerry Jones opening training camp saying that this was no Armageddon year for coach Jason Garrett. It was typical Jones hyperbole. Anyone can see that Garrett’s job is on the line in 2013.

The Cowboys must at least make the playoffs — if not win a game or

two in them — for

Garrett to return in 2014.

2Tony Romo’s bigger role

Much was made about the Cowboys giving quarterback Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract extension in the off-season. The bigger news is that Romo was given Peyton Manning-like input in personnel decisions, game-planning and play-calling — not bad for a quarterback with one career playoff win and a penchant for playing his worst in the biggest games. The money and new role will put more pressure on Romo to win in 2013.

3Monte Kiffin’s D

The Cowboys overhauled the coaching staff in the off-season with the firing of Rob Ryan and the hiring of coordinator Monte Kiffin, 73. His Tampa 2 scheme is time-tested in the NFL. The 4-3 defense will bring out the best in linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. They’ll have to wait at least six weeks for tackle Jay Ratliff, who is on the physically unable to perform list.

4Offensive line

One of the biggest changes in the off-season was offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan taking over for coach Jason Garrett as the team’s primary play-caller. Callahan hopes to have more balance by running the ball more and running it better than a year ago when the Cowboys had the worst rushing attack in franchise history. Running the ball will take pressure off quarterback Tony Romo, who often had to do too much, and a suspect line that has holes at the guard position.

5The legend of Dez

Receiver Dez Bryant is the Cowboys’ best player and could lay the groundwork on becoming not only the next great number 88 in Cowboys history but perhaps the greatest 88 to don the blue star. His skills and athleticism are superior to Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin. He just needs to put up the numbers on a consistent basis. Bryant has matured. He is more knowledgeable of the offense and is as confident as he’s ever been. This year could be the start of something special. — Clarence E. Hill Jr.

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