Will Woodson and Edwards be Back?

Cowboys defensive tackle La'Roi Glover is still haunted by the wildcard playoff loss to Carolina Panthers. Especially now after the Panthers made it all the way to Super Bowl XXXVIII before losing to the New England Patriots.

Glover can't help but think that the Cowboys could have been there.

However, the presence of the defense-oriented Patriots and Panthers on the NFL's grand stage have him believing more than ever that the Cowboys, who had the league's best defense in 2003, are on the right track.

"What's the old adage, offenses sells tickets, but defense wins championships?" Glover queried. "That's true, always has been, always be. That is the foundation for building great teams. We got a good start."

And while the much of the offseason talk around Dallas has surrounded the pursuits of a running back and quarterback to possibly replace Quincy Carter, don't be surprised if the Cowboys continue focus on building their defense for 2004.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is always focused with size and he will be in the market for bigger defensive linemen and linebackers in the draft and free agency.

A pass rushing defensive end is also a huge priority for a Cowboys defense that did great in yards allowed but had problems rushing the quarterback and forcing turnovers. A catalytic pass rusher should push them to the next level as a defense.

Jevon Kearse, Warren Sapp and Adewale Ogunleye are three of the high profile pass rushers on the free agent market.

The Cowboys also must make some decisions in the secondary where safety Darren Woodson's age and price tag have become a concern and cornerback Mario Edwards is a free agent.

Woodson mostly likely will be back. However, coach Bill Parcells acknowledged that the team would look for his successor this offseason. If they find the right guy, the change could come sooner rather than later. With Edwards, the question is how much is he worth. The Cowboys already paying a lot for Woodson, safety Roy Williams and fellow corner Terence Newman. Considering Edwards' shortcomings -- he gives up too many plays and commits too many penalties -- they don't plan on breaking the bank to keep him.

However, they do like him and they must answer the question of if not him who. Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson are free agents but the Cowboys aren't going to pay for them. As of now, they have no other experienced cornerbacks on the roster that could handle a starting role.

If Edwards accepts a multi-year deal around $1 million annually, he might be back. But he will certainly test the free agent waters first.

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