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5/17/2005

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Offensive Time
By Howard Cox


Dallas’ defense is in the spot light right now and with good reason. Big money was dished out to sign Anthony Henry and Jason Ferguson. Coupled with that the team also signed veteran CB Aaron Glenn. Look no further than the draft to compel even the weakest of fair-weather fans to know in-depth knowledge about the Cowboys defensive onslaught this off-season. Forgotten is the signing/drafting of offensive players to help a weak offense improve itself this coming season as well.

Pushed to the back burner has been the signing of QB Drew Bledsoe and OG Mark Rivera. Also little talk has been heard about 4th round draft pick RB Marion Barber and 6th round pick OT Rob Petitti. The team also got a cheap backup at RB when they signed Anthony Thomas from the Chicago Bears. See they have also made attempts to bolster the offensive side of the ball this season too. Also much needed help will be returning from injury this season in WR Terry Glenn, TE Dan Campbell, OG Stephen Peterman and even WR Keyshawn Johnson.

Let’s wonder around the other side of the ball for the possible starters and approach to scoring more points, which also contributes to victories alongside a good defense. Here is what I see being the starting eleven when the team opens up on the road against the San Diego Chargers.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe – Last season he played for the Bills and led an offense that almost made it to the playoffs despite a very rough start. Nothing great out of last season other than maybe more touchdown passes than interceptions. He is a proven veteran, who knows he will start and knows Parcells’ offense already. A big plus over Vinnie being named the starter just before preseason began.

Running Back: Julius Jones – Came back from shoulder injury last season to revive and dead running game and give serious help to offensive production. He runs with authority and will put up good numbers for an entire season. Solid addition after a year of wondering whom the next running back would be.

Tight End: Dan Campbell and Jason Witten – I include both because Parcells’ style of offense uses more of a one back set. This gives two solid blockers up front for the running game and also two proven pass receivers to look for as well. Witten will continue to use size and ability to get open in the middle and Campbell just gives the team another option to do the same.

Wide Receiver: Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn – Glenn gives them speed that was missing last season. His ability to get deep will open up underneath routes. That is where Keyshawn comes in with size and strength to be a solid possession receiver to move the chains. This also allows the running game some room with linebackers watching the middle and also maybe a deep route or two with safeties eyeing the middle.

Center: Al Johnson – He came back from a rookie season injury to once again take the starting position away. He will keep that spot and ensure the middle of the line is solid in both run and pass blocking.


Guards: Marco Rivera (RG) and Larry Allen (LG) – Rivera will come back from back surgery and shore up a weakness from the last two seasons. His offer to pay back his signing bonus speaks volumes about his commitment and it will pay off big. Parcells has already made comments about the improvement of Allen this off-season by saying, “He is running things he has never run before.” The middle of the line is solid for opening holes and protecting Bledsoe.

Tackles: Flozell Adams (LT) and Kurt Vollers (RT) – Adams has lost weight and been mentioned by Parcells for that fact already before off-season workouts began. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season from 2003 and should return to that level this season. I go with Vollers here just because he ended the season as the starter at RT so he remains there until beaten out. Actually the position isn’t solid with anyone so it is just a hunch by me. Whoever gets the position will have Rivera beside him for help and Parcells riding him to keep up with the other four linemen.
The offense hasn’t received as much notoriety as the defense but changes have been made. We will see an improved offense this season also and it should change the outlook at a playoff run for the third year Parcells group. Stand by for the team to be offensive as well, which is good for this situation.

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