IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Dallas Cowboy helmets sit on the goal line before the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas on November 23, 1995. The Cowboys defeated the Chiefs 24-12. (Photo by Brian Bahr /Getty Images)
In the wake of their season-ending loss to the Eagles back in late December, there are necessary steps to recovery for every Cowboys’ fan: Anger. Mourning. Abstinence. Schedule release. Free agency. Draft. Rookie minicamp. And today at Valley Ranch: OTAs.
Organized Team Activities are an important step in Jason Garrett’s cherished “process.” It’ll be the first time since the Eagles’ loss that the Cowboys’ veterans are on the field together in helmets, if not full pads.
A look at the Top 10 storylines as the Cowboys commence OTAs:
10. Part of Dallas’ offensive demise in 2013 was a reluctance to throw deep. Will new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan reintroduce the bomb?
9. A re-tooled defensive line won’t yet include a healthy Henry Melton or Anthony Spencer (both still on the mend), but it needs to look better than last year’s historically poor unit. Draft pick Demarcus Lawrence and returning vet Tyrone Crawford are under the microscope.
8. Gavin Escobar needs to develop into a player. Now.
7. Will final year of his contract affect the way Garrett coaches?
6. DeMarco Murray needs a reliable backup. Is it Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar or newly signed Ryan Williams?
5. Can Morris Claiborne regain his confidence? And in doing so, will he reclaim the cornerback job Orlando Scandrick won from his last season?
4. Was first-rounder Zack Martin worth it? If so, he needs to make the right guard position his now, and never give it up.
3. Sean Lee is healthy. He’d better stay that way.
2. Can J.J. Wilcox grab the starting free safety job alongside Barry Church? If not, passing up safeties in the draft was a big mistake.
1. Tony Romo’s back. And will Kyle Orton be back? With the starter recovering from season-ending back surgery, his backup becomes an even more important position. Orton has no-showed all off-season and is apparently ready to retire. If he doesn’t show up this week (even though it’s voluntary), all eyes will shift focus on Brandon Weeden as No. 2.
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.