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NFC East Preview: A look at the Dallas Cowboys

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An overview of the Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo
Tony Romo
Mike Ehrmann

What to make of the Dallas Cowboys, the NFC East team that never seems to add up to the sum of its parts? The Cowboys, perennially thought of as a team talented enough to compete for the NFC East title if not more, have not appeared in the playoffs since 2009. A wild-card victory that year over the Philadelphia Eagles is the franchise's only playoff victory since 1996.

How can this be? Well, the answer is somewhere in the mixed-up morass that contains owner Jerry Jones' ego, quarterback Tony Romo's talent for putting up great numbers yet making a crushing mistake at the most inopportune time and the debate over whether or not Jason Garrett is or is not a quality head coach. It is a riddle, and it doesn't have an obvious answer.

The 2014 Cowboys are tough to figure. But, let's try.

Offensively, the Cowboys still have Romo, ultra-talented and ultra-temperamental wide receiver Dez Bryant, future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten and running DeMarco Murray. They also have a young, talented offensive line that includes left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and first-round pick Zack Martin, who will play right guard.

Defensively, though, the Cowboys are a mess. They hired venerable Tampa 2 defensive guru Monte Kiffin to try to fix their defense a year ago, and that didn't work. The Cowboys finished last in the league, surrendering 415.3 yards per game. This year, Kiffin has been shoved into an assistant head coach role and Rod Marinelli is in charge of the defense. Unfortunately for Marinelli, long-time defensive star Demarcus Ware is now a member of the Denver Broncos.

The Cowboys' defense also suffered a huge blow when middle linebacker Sean Lee suffered a torn ACL during the team's first OTA. He will be lost for the season. The Cowboys did bring in several defensive free agents, including former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton, and did select Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Lawrence, however, is on IR with a fractured foot. It remains to be seen, however, if Marinelli can put this Humpty Dumpty of a defense back together again.

For Dallas, every season seems to come down to a handful of plays that historically they have not been able to make. Will that be the case again this time around? What are your thoughts on the Cowboys, Giants fans?