The 2012 Dallas Cowboys will be a completely different team than the 2011 Dallas Cowboys. We have new faces all around the locker room that will be on this team. We have six first year players on the roster and seven new freee agent acquisitions. We even have new coaches that will be roaming the sideline or looking down on the team from the booth. The Rookies bring a sense of optimism as some of them have shown that they can make plays and will be depended on this upcoming season. The free agent class is promising with players that have been around this league for a couple of years and have things that they want to prove. Some of these veterans want to prove that they can play on the big stage, that the label that they received prior is not adequate, and others want to prove that they belong in the top tier when it comes to position ratings. Bill Callahan and Jerome Henderson have implemented several things so far that has me very intrigued. It was a much needed change and the benefit has been clear. I can not wait to see what type of impact that they have on the regular season.
But what about the impact of all the players who were injured or got hurt through out the season will have on the outcome of the 2012 team? And these injuries were at key positions and players who were starters. It is hard not to play the “what if” game, at least in your mind. What if we had a healthy DeMarco Murray on the field for us down the stretch at the end of the season? What if Miles Austin never suffered that hamstring injury? Would he had been healthy enough to catch that pass in the Giants game? What if Mike Jenkins was healthy all year? Would having him at 100% prevented some of those big plays against the Giants, Eagles, and Lions? What if Jay Ratliff brought more pain to the opposing team instead of feeling pain himself? What if we had two healthy running backs? For that matter, how much would having both of your starting wide receivers on the field for an entire season effect the potency of our offense?
It seems like half our roster was injured last year, and the other half was banged up. Be it missing games like Jason Hatcher, Felix Jones, and Mike Jenkins or just playing through it and dealing with it like Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, and Jay Ratliff. Injuries to just about every part of our team last year, coupled with the fact that we did not have an off-season to adequately prepare for the season (Jason Garrett’s first full season, new players, and a new defensive system) prevented and shackled our success last year. Going into the off-season, you would have to think that this weighed at the heart of all these injured players. That not being able to contribute on the field or to be able to be at 100% ate at these players. Enough that they would be so focused and mentally and physically ready to give it all they had this year. Bringing so much passion and intensity to the game in any effort to wipe away that bitter taste of disappointment from their mouth from last season. Indeed, they will be looking to have a huge impact on the 2012 season.