2005 Season Report Card

There's plenty of room for improvement if the Cowboys have serious postseason intentions.

PASSING OFFENSE
B -- The Cowboys are ninth in the league in pass offense, led by the surprising play of quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who is the top rated quarterback in the NFC. The receiver corps has been solid if not spectacular led by Terry Glenn, Keyshawn Johnson and tight end Jason Witten. Glenn still has explosion, while Johnson remains one of the league's top red zone targets.

RUSHING OFFENSE
C -- The Cowboys have not run it as well as expected. Julius Jones has struggled when he was on the field. He also missed three games with injuries. However, the Cowboys did run it well enough to keep control the ball and the clock. They also found a runner in rookie Marion Barber -- who will work in tandem with Jones in the second half.

PASS DEFENSE
B -- The Cowboys are 12th in the league in pass defense. But what's most different about the pass defense is the big plays they make. The Cowboys already have 24 sacks this season, led by Greg Ellis' five. The Cowboys also have recorded 10 interceptions, including a 58-yard return for a touchdown by Anthony Henry.

RUSH DEFENSE
B-minus -- The Cowboys are sixth in the league in run defense, allowing just 89.1 yards per game. Credit the switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4. Also credit the play of nose tackles Jason Ferguson and La'Roi Glover in the middle of the defense. Inside linebacker Bradie James, Scott Shanle and Dat Nguyen have also been solid against the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS
C -- Tyson Thompson has been solid on kickoff returns. He ranks ninth in the NFL and second in the NFC. Mat McBriar has been very good on punts. But the Cowboys have had shaky deep snapping and unreliable place kicking. Shaun Suisham will be on the spot as the kicker in the second half of the season.

COACHING
B -- The Cowboys are 5-3. They are in second place in the NFC East. With so many young players playing key roles, they have a chance to get better in the second half of the season and make a legitimate push toward the playoffs.

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