The start of a new year is a perfect time to both look back and look ahead.
You can look back to take stock of what went on over the previous 12 months. The good, the bad, the funny, the sad and everything in between can be looked at in full context to create a blueprint for changes you want to make in the year to come.
That's where the Cowboys find themselves right now. They should have a pretty good grasp on the parts of the team that have worked well and the parts of the team that need improvement, which means it is time to start making the moves that will avoid another bitter end.
We've done the same and come up with a wishlist of things for the Cowboys as they make their way into the offseason. We'll start with an item that leads off this list every year because there isn't a chance that it will happen.
Hire a general manager - Feel free to laugh, but a dream's a dream and we still hold out hope that there will be a day when Jerry Jones realizes that there are people in the world who know at least as much about football than him. We think there are people who know more, but waiting for Jones to admit that would take a million years.
Hire an offensive coordinator - Jason Garrett has already said this isn't going to happen and it will remain a lost cause unless Double J makes it a priority. Garrett should look at what the Packers do on offense -- Mike McCarthy calls plays, but they also have a coordinator -- and use that as a guide for how to proceed with their own staff.
Re-sign Anthony Spencer - Finances will dictate how likely it is that Spencer winds up in Dallas, but they should make it a priority with whatever money they've set aside to spend this offseason. Spencer's versatility was vitally important this season and his increased pass rush role shows that there still might be more to come from Spencer in the next few years.
Restructure Miles Austin's deal or say goodbye - Austin remains a skilled receiver, but his inability to stay healthy makes it impossible to rely on him as a centerpiece of the team. He can't come back for $6.732 million under those circumstances so the team should either have him take a cut or find someone else to benefit from Dez Bryant's blossoming.
No off-field drama for Bryant - Speaking of the team's offensive MVP, let's just have this offseason be about getting healthy and getting better instead of anything involving the police.
Upgrade from Felix Jones - DeMarco Murray has shown he can be the first back in a rotation, but the team needs to do better than Jones as the other half of the tandem. Someone who can also contribute as a pass blocker and catcher would be ideal.
No more half measures on the offensive line - The Cowboys have other holes and the draft doesn't always play out as you might like, but the offensive line has been a problem for too many years to continue the patchwork job they've been trying for the last few years. Doug Free, Mackenzy Bernadeau and whoever was at center were liabilities every week and that's not a situation that can continue.