Now that I've had a few days to digest the outcome of Saturday's game, I feel like I'm in a better position to review the past season and what steps are needed to build on for 2007.
Clearly, this team underperformed at the most critical of times. Yet in the land of parity, they were still a better team than most. Change three plays during the year and Dallas would be hosting a divisional playoff game instead of losing in the wild-card round.
However, those plays didn't go their way and all we can do now is figure out what it will take for this team to become great again.
First of all, here are my first annual Dallas Cowboy awards:
Rookie of the Year: Anthony Fasano
Offensive Player of the Year: Marion Barber III
Defensive Player of the Year: Demarcus Ware
Overachiever of the Year: Mark Colombo
Underachiever of the Year: Mike Vanderjagt
Player Most Likely to be Playing Elsewhere Next Year: Drew Bledsoe
MVP: Tony Romo
Now, for next year, here are the steps I believe that the Cowboys will need to take to take it to the next level:
1. Priority #1 - Sign two legitimate offensive linemen.
2. Sign a legitimate backup quarterback to replace Bledsoe (someone like Kelly Holcomb, Patrick Ramsey, Billy Volek or even Kyle Boller).
3. Return to the 4-3 defense featuring Greg Ellis and Demarcus Ware at DE's.
4. Sign or draft a DT who can apply pressure.
5. Sign or draft a cover free safety.
6. Re-sign Terry Glenn.
7. Move Bobby Carpenter into the starting lineup (replacing Al Singleton).
8. Move to a more attack/blitz scheme (ala Philadelphia).
9. Re-sign Aaron Glenn.
10. Create an offensive around Tony Romo's skills - not the other way around.
11. Re-sign Martin Grammatica
12. For gosh sakes, sign a kick holder!
So there you have it. I'm anxious as to how the draft will play out and am confident that Parcells has one more year left in him. I could be wrong here, but I just don't see him running out on the challenge and especially on Romo.
BTW, my picks for the rest of the playoffs:
Chicago 30 Seattle 8
New Orleans 24 Philadelphia 21
Baltimore 24 Indianapolis 22
San Diego 34 New England 24
Chicago will Defeat New Orleans 23-10 and Baltimore will surprise San Diego 26-23. Baltimore then will go on to win the Super Bowl rather handidly 34-14.