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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Fixing personnel is key to Dallas' success

By Calvin Watkins

While the Cowboys changed the duties of several of their coaches, the personnel problem continues at Valley Ranch.

Coach Jason Garrett needs help in terms of personnel.

Wide receiver Miles Austin’s inability to battle through hamstring issues last season limited what Bill Callahan could do with the offense. The team needs to figure out what caused DeMarcus Ware’s down year and if spending a first-round pick on a defensive lineman should be important this spring.

Upgrading other areas such as safety, linebacker, guard and maybe finding a quarterback should be priorities.

Owner Jerry Jones and Garrett can’t release everybody and start over. They can’t make everybody play better. One thing Jones did this year is make Will McClay the man in charge of the draft. McClay will put the draft board together. Now, if only Jones and Garrett will listen to him.

In last year's draft, Jones bypassed what his personnel people told him, took the advice of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and chose not to take a defensive lineman in the first round.

It was a mistake.

Jones mentioned something about twitch muscles and whatnot on draft night as the reasoning. All we know is defensive tackle Jay Ratliff didn’t play a down for the Cowboys in 2013 and defensive end Anthony Spencer played in one game. Backup defensive end Tyrone Crawford was lost the second day of training camp with a torn Achilles tendon.

It’s easy to second guess the decision now, but the Cowboys have to form a better game plan when it comes to putting their personnel together.

And now that the 2014 coaching staff is in place, it’s time to fix the talent base.

And while the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos play in the cold of MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Cowboys officials should know this team is nowhere close to that elite level.