not published yet and uh by me... It is time now to build the Boys for a 2006 SB run. The team is not as far away as many fans believe. I am honestly kind of shocked at how down the average Cowboy fan seems to be. The team won six games the previous season and improved by three games with only two losses to poor teams and one being at least understandable if not excusable the last night of the season when they were eliminated from playoff contention just before kickoff. Dallas faced three of the four conference championship contenders. They played in a division with three teams that had nine or more wins on the year and two double digit win playoff squads. They were not good enough to make the playoffs against that schedule. But beware perception. Dallas was obviously good enough to carry Denver to overtime, beat Carolina on the road and lead Seattle at their place with three minutes left to play. So how do you get from just off the mark to in the bulls eye? Well I’d start with a kicker. Last season saw Cowboys incumbent Billy Cundiff get injured in the pre-season and Dallas was left grasping at straws to fill the role of field goal kicker. That issue became a sore spot that lingered even when Cundiff returned from injury with seemingly a stronger but less accurate leg. Cundiff before injury was pretty good. Dallas wants to be very good at the position and a guy like Adam Vinatieri or Mike Vanderjagt is expected to provide that. Steve Hoffman would as well but don’t expect him back under Bill Parcells. Expect Dallas to spend money to rectify a troubled spot here. Vinatieri who is a tough, cold-blooded pressure guy and 2 years younger is the best bet but the Pats may value him as highly as anyone. Other issues are… WR: Dallas needs to add at least one more proven WR. Three WRs and a ST guy just doesn’t allow any leeway for injury. Tom Crowder is heading to NFLE but he is gonna come back to compete for Copper’s ST position not a legit WR role. Options here are drafting a guy like Martin Nance, Hank Baskett, Greg Lee, Maurice Stovall or jumping on a free agent like Antwaan Randel El or Reggie Wayne. I’d guess a draftee is the solution with a 3rd round pick being an early guess. All the Wrs listed above have at least a small chance of lasting to round 3. OL: I believe the biggest question is not at OT where we were obviously poor last season but instead at OC. Al Johnson looks to be limited in size and strength. He is not so undersized but his strength is clearly in question. Unless he can lift with Glover in the weight room (Glover may be pound for pound the strongest Cowboy) Johnson looks like a backup not a starter. Rob Petitti should be markedly better next season but it would be hard not to at least offer him a challenger. Petitti got turnstiled at the end of the year when he was playing injured. BP probably feels better about him than fans do based on the toughness he showed. Right now I’d still liken him a lot to Erik Williams---a guy who needed lots of work on technique but had the desire to destroy defenders. Thus I’d say signing a center and drafting a Tackle makes sense. Draftable Tackles: Jonathon Scott, Eric Winston, Marcus McNeill, Andrew Whitworth. Scott and Winston are Texas kids with Scott being from Dallas Carter High school so they’d come with a large local fan base. More importantly both are stud blockers. Winston had number 1 overall potential until he was injured last season. He was a top TE prospect coming out of high school. At Center there will be limited free agents but LeCharles Bentley is the guy you want to go get and he is available. He can handle big DTs and quick ones. He is worth a huge contract. Strengthening the center for a QB like Bledsoe is a must. Bentley is target 1 for me. OLB: Scott Fujita and Al Singleton are both in question as returnees. Fujita is a free agent and Singleton is a 4-3 backer. Kevin Burnett looks to have moved inside as the successor to Dat Nguyen you seems destined to retire. A bookend to Demarcus Ware is absolutely necessary and it will be very hard for Bill Parcells to pass the group of backer sin this draft class. There are some very tantalizing players like AJ Hawk, Chad Greenway, Demeko Ryans, Ernie Sims, Bobby Carpenter, Thomas Howard. I expect 1 of those guys to start in Dallas next year at some point as BP finishes off his defense. FS: Ok so maybe the defense is quite so finished with just an OLB but FS can be addressed in free agency or the draft. It will merely take the head coach allowing a coverage guy to be signed or drafted. Charlie Peprah is a local kid who can cover, Michael Huff will probably be long gone by 18 but can flat out play a perfect complimentary safety to the linebacker-esque Roy Williams. Laron Landry might be the best choice at 18 and is another regional kid playing down in Louisiana. If you were playing along at home and came up with something like: Big Free Agents OC: LeCharles Bentley K: Adam Vinatieri Draftees R1: Marcus McNeill R2: Bobby Carpenter R3: Maurice Stovall R4-6 Charlie Peprah Not sure that makes Dallas a serious Title contender but I’d take my chances with that squad. Then again I would have taken my chances with Flozell and Henry in the lineup. Two 6 seeds already have made it to the conference championship game no reason to think the 7th seed was just that far away.