This article is part of our Team Previews series.
State of the Franchise
For the second straight season, the Cowboys headed into Week 17 with a chance to win the NFC East title and clinch a spot in the postseason, only to come up short and have their 2012 campaign end early. There were plenty of scapegoats to go around. Dallas fans love to hate QB Tony Romo despite his consistently good-to-great numbers. Plus, injuries hit almost every important player on both sides of the ball at some point during the year. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan ended up being the fall guy for the team's failure. Owner/GM Jerry Jones instead went all-in with his offense, as coach Jason Garrett and his uninspiring 21-19 regular season record were retained, while Romo received a contract extension to rival Joe Flacco's massive post-Super Bowl deal.
Despite their recent mediocrity, the Cowboys still have a roster of Pro Bowl talent at the skill positions. To start, there's Romo, who has a 7.9 YPA while averaging 4,160 yards, 28.6 TDs and 14.7 INTs per 16 games for his career. Then there's emerging superstar WR Dez Bryant, who reeled off a 50/879/10 line over the final eight games of the season despite fracturing his left index finger in Week 14, an injury that was initially reported as season-ending but wound up not costing him a single game. Meanwhile, franchise all-time reception leader TE Jason Witten shows no signs of slowing down after a career-high 110 catches in his 10th NFL campaign.