1. Will the Cowboys be better in coach Bill Parcells' second season?
Yes- Consider they have replaced Ebenezer Ekuban with Marcellus Wiley, Chad Hutchinson with Vinny Testaverde, Joey Galloway with Keyshawn Johnson and Troy Hambrick with Eddie George.
Also consider that Parcells' teams are always better in his second year because the players know what to expect.
2. How concerned should Cowboys fans be about Darren Woodson's injury?
If you listen long enough, the Cowboys could almost make you believe Woodson's back injury, which is likely to require surgery and force him to miss six to eight weeks, is a good thing. After all, a 12-year veteran can afford to miss training camp, and he might only miss the first game of the season.
But the first game of the season is against the Vikings, who have wide receiver Randy Moss. Moss has a history of shredding the Cowboys, who will likely throw unproven cornerback Pete Hunter at him without the benefit of safety help, because they will be busy trying to compensate for not having Woodson.
The big question is whether Woodson, 35, when he gets back.
3. Who are some players to watch in training camp?
Parcells said the situation with Darren Woodson creates a great opportunity for backup safety Tony Dixon to finally make an impact. In fact, Parcells cited the fourth-year veteran Dixon as a perfect example of why his teams get better in their second year under him.
While he likes the experience Johnson will bring the receiver position, the impact Wiley should make as a pass rusher and the comfort Testaverde brings as a mentor and/or replacement for incumbent starting quarterback Quincy Carter, Parcells said improvement from within will have the biggest impact on how well the Cowboys play this season.
He cited Dixon, guard Andre Gurode, defensive tackle Daleroy Stewart, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, linebacker Bradie James, tight end Jason Witten and tackle Torrin Tucker as players who could potentially make huge jumps in 2004.
4. If the Cowboys believe Quincy Carter is the long-term answer, why is Vinny Testaverde a Cowboy?
The short answer is that Testaverde provides a proven backup in case Carter falters and a solid mentor to help Drew Henson develop into the quarterback the team thinks he can become.
The bottom line is the Cowboys don't have a long-term answer yet. Henson is the guy for the future and Carter is the present if he can hold off Testaverde.
5. Will we see Drew Henson doing anything other than hold a clipboard?
The Cowboys learned from the failed Chad Hutchinson experiment. Henson will learn from sideline and in the film room.
6. How much does running back Eddie George have left?
It seems to be the question du jour, but it doesn't matter. The Cowboys did not sign George to a one-year contract worth $2.1 million plus incentives in hopes of getting him in his prime. They are banking on him making the running game better than it was last year with Troy Hambrick and better than it would have been had they gone with Julius Jones, Richie Anderson, Aveion Cason and ReShard Lee. Even the biggest George bashers have to admit that the Cowboys are better off with George Lite than without George at all.
7. Who will play right corner?
The common assumption was that Parcells and Jones were lying when they said they were prepared to go into the season with Pete Hunter manning the corner opposite Terence Newman. They had to be trying to sign somebody to fill the void left by the departure of Mario Edwards. But so far, they have not. In fact, the Cowboys are so confident in Hunter that they are not having him compete with anybody in training camp. Bruce Thornton and Jameel Powell will alternate at second and third corner, leaving Hunter to take all the first team reps.
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