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A Pre-Season Outlook For 2004

With the lose to the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs still fresh in many players' minds, the goals for this young team are high. The appetite for domination, the swagger, the hunger is what will keep the Cowboys rolling in 2004.

The players believe in Parcells, and they believe in his system - his style of football. So, what is "Parcells Football?" Parcells Football is your classic throwback type style. Its smashmouth, its domination on both sides of the ball,, its discipline, its game control...and this year will mark the true return of the "Doomsday Defense", the offensive side of the ball is still in rebuilding mode, but the defense will return to the field with great intimidation, and the swagger from days past.

When we look at the defense we have a collective squad of young players that are looking to repeat what they did last season. The Cowboys have upgraded the DE spot vacated by Ekubust, by signing Marcellus Wiley. Wiley will lineup on LE, and Greg Ellis, will move back to his natural RE spot where he dominates. We should see some great front four play - which should cause havoc on QBs around the league. With this new pass rush, we should see hurried throws, underthrown/overthrown balls, which will lead to some big hits in the secondary from our two hitmen Woodson & Williams lurking around. In addition, we should expect to see more interceptions and forced turnovers by our defensive squad.

For training camp, we should see fierce competition from LB Bradie James and the CB spot where Pete Hunter is tentatively penciled in at the starting spot opposite of Terence Newman. Hunter will be battling it out with rookie CB Bruce Thorton.

Now for the offensive side of the ball, we have some changes. RT Ryan Young is gone, and RB Troy Hambrick was recently shown the door. Thus far, the biggest news this offseason has been the status of Pro-Bowl Guard Larry Allen, well as of right now the Parcells/Allen impasse seems to have been layed to rest...for now. The main issue was LA's conditioning. Reports state that Allen was asked to workout on his own before the draft, so Allen was working out at a local YMCA; however, Parcells and Allen recently had a "sit down" and seemingly have resolved some issues at hand. Allen is now working out with the team at the team's facilities. Hambrick is out - reports state that Hambrick did not want to be a backup to rookie Julius Jones, so his agent asked for his release...he is gone.

So, how is the O-Line going to shape up? Well, with the re-emergence of Allen, he will be back at LG, and could have a true Pro-Bowl year, we'll see. We know this: Flozell, Allen, and Johnson are penciled in as the starters. The competition on the right side will be fierce, We'll see Torrin Tucker, Kurt Vollers, and rookie Jacob Rogers battle it out at Right Tackle. Third year player RG Andre Gurode will get one final chance play upto team expectations, but look for the 3rd round steal Stephen Peterman to possibly leapfrog into the starting lineup, the same could apply for Jacob Rogers in the RT battles.

In Summation, the Cowboys have made very wise decisions this offseason: a couple of good quality free agents, and a pretty good addition of rookies drafted and undrafted. If you look at what Parcells has done in the past and right now, you will see he builds his teams up young via the draft. Free Agency is not a high staple in rebuilding, but it is still a viable outlet for adding a starting playing here and there, but mainly for depth purposes.

Impact players to watch:
The emergence of Jason Witten - he could have a big year.

Terence Newman WILL see more wounded ducks fly his way, and he as well as the rest of the secondary will have more INTS.

Keyshawn Johnson will bring that sideline fire and will be a playmaker for us.

Rookie running back Julius Jones should be a very welcomed addition to the offense as well.

Roy Williams we be knocking players out because the upfront rush will force the ball to be thrown early, thus leaving some receivers out to dry. BAM! you just got knocked out...


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