For the first time in some time, I'm optimistic about the upcoming seasons. Notice that was plural. Unlike the hodgepodge of recent years past, where we've spliced the roster with aging-veteran hopes and prayers, this team is being built with youth and speed to augment our own seasoned veterans. A year ago, this team looked like it needed another offseason, and that 10-6 was possible, but not probably. We got 8-8, but not the kind that speaks of treading water, but rather the kind that says a few more key components and tweaks are needed to make the engine purr. This thing looks and sounds like 11-5 in the showroom, but until we can look under the hood soon, I'll reserve judgment there. In the meantime, here's some random quips to consider as we wait these final three weeks until things get revved up. 1. I think Garrett detractors are short-sighted; they fail to see the failings of personnel management, and how it's hamstrung the coach and the team from realizing its potential. But the biggest reason it is critical to keep Garrett around is Dez Bryant. Imagine throwing an entirely new offense with new terminology at Dez at this point. He's finally getting comfortable, and the team with him. Why would you want to set him back at this point? Stay the general course, for the team's sake, for Dez' sake, for continuity sake. 2. If the Cowboys play this right during the preseason, the Giants are in trouble. Not only are the Cowboys plenty good enough to beat a rickety Giants roster already, the facelift of the new Kiffin/Marinelli defense and the unpredictable nuances of change in Callahan's playcalling and tempo should be quite the mystery coming opening game. We might be treated to a throrough drubbing that Sunday night. The Giants could serve as the guinea pig for game film on the newly constructed Cowboys. 3. The influx of new players should make for a much better special teams unit. A lot of athleticism among the new draft picks and free agents. That should help matters greatly on the coverage units. 4. Every part of my being tells me that Marinelli is going to fix our pressure and turnover problem that we've been mired in since Justin Bieber was a third grader. The man knows how to create chaos on defense, and he sounds sincere when he says he has the talent here he needs. Pinning Ware's and Spencer's ears back on a regular basis can only be good, and our linebackers bleed the philosophy he preaches. I expect a much more active and productive front seven this year. Biggest difference in the team by far, and the top reason I'm more giddy than usual for this season. 5. Can Callahan create a more effective run game? The new center, a full year's experience with the zone-blocking scheme, a new RB to backup Murray, better health, and Callahan calling the plays....will that change everything overnight? Biggest question I have about this team for sure. It's the difference between 8-8 and 10-6 in itself, and if the defense is better, perhaps even 11-5 or 12-4. 6. And as it relates to #5, will this line and running game translate into better protection for Romo? He's deadly when given time and good down and distance. Romo is a helluva quarterback, but he's not John Elway, and he can't do this by himself, especially as he gets older. I want to see what a mature Romo does with a real offensive line, running game, and defense. 7. My pet player is JJ Wilcox. It's just fun to say "JJ Wilcox". It's fun to write "JJ Wilcox". That just sounds like a great football player. Names matter, for some odd reason. Emmitt. Troy. Roger. Herschel. Harvey. Some names are just cool names for a football player. Here's hoping "JJ" becomes a household Cowboys name one day, and the raves I've read on him, there's a bit of a chance of just that. One more time, JJ Wilcox. 8. I've read that the coaches love Hanna and wanted Escobar because they want to run an offense similar to the Saints. (First it was said New England, but later it was said New Orleans). I think they feel Romo will be a very similar player to Drew Brees as he ages, and it makes sense. Same stature, same body type, same arm, same mobility within the pocket, same heady nature and competitive spirit. They think Hanna could play like David Thomas and Escobar could play like Jimmy Graham. Plus, the Saints don't have a Jason Witten type. Murray and Randle are the Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram. Dunbar is a poor man's Sproles. Dez, Miles, Williams, Harris.....it makes perfect sense when you think about it. 9. Isn't it awesome not worrying about the kicker? God bless Dan Bailey. 10. If my optimism turns out to be well-warranted, it will be perhaps more gleeful to watch the malcontents and sudden experts on NFL Network, and the mindless northeastern blowhards have to come to terms with it. Bagging on Romo is fashionable among the Great Unwashed, who know as much about football as I do about the political makeup of Turjikistan. In a league that doesn't require greatness, the Cowboys are well-constructed to succeed if these new cats can play. The NFC is going to be difficult this season, but while the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are riddled with varying questions, the Cowboys seem best prepared to make the biggest stride forward. So let's get training camp started already.