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A New Offense for the New Stadium

Cowboys Stadium Football
This time last year, 13 returning Pro-Bowlers and the closing of Texas Stadium had the Dallas Cowboy Nation chanting “Super Bowl or Bust.” But 16 games, 12 unheralded rookies, three conspiracy theorists, two released receivers and one stadium later, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a new offense to usher in the new stadium.

Terrell Owens left “America’s team for North America’s team,” which makes Roy Williams the number one receiver, Felix Jones’ toe injury allowed Tashard Choice to show the coaches that he is a viable back and the drafting of the Texas A&M quarterback, Stephen McGee, brings the possibility of the chic Wildcat offense to the Cowboys.

The most auspicious change to the Dallas playbook is the lack of the deep threat that Owens brings. Williams is a tried and true receiver that brings stability to the offense, but with nine other wide outs on the depth chart that most Cowboys fans might not be able to name, opposing defenses will be able to focus on the former Lion.

No longer will Romo have Owens to be his safety net (and scapegoat). Tight end Jason Witten is now the most productive receiver in Big D and will have to line up on the opposite side of Williams if Garrett plans on spreading out defenses.

In order to avoid giving defenses a pre-snap tell, the playbook will have to feature more double-tight end sets, putting the unproven second year tight end Martellus Bennett on the field a lot more than last season. This move will force defensive coordinators to respect more than just Williams and Witten.

The wide receivers should face a lot of one-on-one situations because defenses stacking eight or nine men in the box to defend against the three running backs that have emerged in Dallas. Marion Barber III, Jones and Choice each proved last season that than are capable to offering major contributions to the offense. This means that Jason Garrett will, literally, be able to run the gamut.

Barber and fullback Deon Anderson will dominate between the tackles, Jones can run and catch passes on the outside while the shifty Choice acts as the wild card in the running game. There is no part of the ground game that is off limits for the 2009-10 Cowboys, not even the Wildcat offense.

It is no secret that the owner and Arkansas alum Jerry Jones has been leaning toward adopting this offense. So much, in fact, that there were whispers of the organization’s interest in a returning Michael Vick. After ousting one media madman, drafting Stephen McGee makes a little more sense.

He ran an option-based offense with the Aggies. His 4.66 speed and a former Razorback, Jones, in the backfield make the perfect setting to run the popular college style game in Dallas.

Changes in key personnel open up many possibilities for the new-look Dallas Cowboys. A team that was once flashy and filled with highlights will become an old style team that runs the ball to set up the passing game. This works to the advantage of Garrett that played on a Cowboys team that utilized weapons like Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin in the same way that Barber and Williams will compliment each other.

The only unanswered question is if this team can leave the past in Texas Stadium and turn over a new leaf in the opening year of Cowboys Stadium.


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