With the contract negotiations getting serious for running back Ezekiel Elliott’s return, that leaves 52 other Dallas Cowboys that have made the roster for the 2019 season. With the unfortunate season-ending injury to Lamar Miller of Dallas’ "sister" NFL team, maybe it’s not so bad that Zeke had a chance to miss some hits and be South of the Border. I do recall when Emmitt Smith held out at the beginning of the season, things in the Metroplex worked out just fine.

For your information, the Dallas Cowboys’ average age is slightly over 26 years, however there is worthwhile experience included in that average! Taking a closer look, defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, age 29. is the elder statesman on that squad and three offensive linemen Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith are all 28. Personally, I want my "O" lineman to have as much experience as possible creating ways for rushers to gain yards and giving quarterbacks ample time to pass from the pocket. By the way, tight end Jason Witten is not the oldest Cowboy player on the 53-man roster!

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Defense wins championships and gets the ball back for the offense, so let’s start with them. The front four is as good as you could ask for as a group with DeMarcus Lawrence, Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford. They will also be spelled by quality backups. The linebackers are impressive and mobile. They can run sideline to sideline and veteran Sean Lee has had a season to work with Leighton Vander Esch (All-Pro as a rookie last year) and Jaylon Smith who has a new contract deal (5 years/$64 Million; $35M guaranteed) and overcome injuries to create a formidable tandem with Vander Esch. Joe Thomas who will also contribute on special teams will have the opportunities to make plays from the second level of this Cowboys defense. Cornerback Byron Jones leads the secondary that is coming into its own with Chidobe Awuzie as the other corner and Anthony Brown matched up against the slot receiver. Safeties Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods have experience and look to keep receivers in front of them during pass plays and will need to be solid tacklers to stop the running game.

The offense has Dak Prescott at quarterback, who has won the second most NFL games in the last three seasons. He shall be joined by running back Zeke Elliott…at some point soon with Tony Pollard, a good-looking rookie running back and fullback Jamize Olawale behind Dak at present. The receiving corps is strong as well with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and veteran Randall Cobb coming over from the Packers. Tavon Austin who will factor in the return game for special teams and speedster Devin Smith give Dak a lot of choices to throw to in the passing game. Saving the best for last is the return of tight end Jason Witten who will help block like no other football professional in this offense and as a receiver also provides a perfect "check down" option and can find space in zone coverages. Hint: Check the long snapper’s ID card for his DOB.

Kickers and specialists are usually to themselves during a practice however they serve an important purpose on a football team. Placekicker Brett Maher will need to be "money" from 50 yards in and punter Chris Jones is solid. As a bonus, Tavon Austin as a punt returner can "flip the field" and give the Cowboys better field position although the first rule of a punt returner is to catch the football. Stay tuned for the season debut of the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday against the New York football Giants!

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