Last time we saw the Dallas Cowboys in pads we were returning Christmas presents, preparing to ring in 2014 and watching Kyle Orton throw three interceptions.
Then: The Cowboys lost to the Eagles, 24-22, on Dec. 29 to end their season at another disappointing 8-8.
Now: Their roster is different. But as the Cowboys land in Oxnard Tuesday to begin training camp, is the team any better?
While the offensive nucleus of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith returns, there are significant changes on the coaching staff and instabilities along what was last year a horrendous defense.
Gone from last year’s roster are DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Miles Austin and, as of last week, Orton.
New faces will include No. 2 quarterback Brandon Weeden, draft picks Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence and free-agent signees Terrell McClain, Jeremy Mincey and Will Herring.
The Cowboys, of course, have already suffered a major blow with linebacker Sean Lee’s season-ending injury on the first day of minicamp.
And with Monte Kiffin demoted in favor of Rod Marinelli on defense and Scott Lineham now calling the plays on offense, the Cowboys will certainly have a different look.
Entering training camp the Cowboys should have a better, more balanced offense, a defense that will struggle because of its lack of playmakers, and no delusions of a Super Bowl. Looks like a 7-9 roster to me.
But that’s what training camp is for.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.