July 27, 2015

DALLAS COWBOYS (4-12)

OPEN CAMP: July 30, Oxnard, California

LAST YEAR: Slid from first to worst in NFC East with QB Tony Romo missing 12 games with twice-broken left collarbone, and 2014 All-Pro WR Dez Bryant never fully healthy after breaking right foot in opener. Defense didn't help, lacking game-changing plays while finishing last in NFL in takeaways and turnover margin.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Ezekiel Elliott, LB Jaylon Smith (likely out for season recovering from knee surgery), DEs Benson Mayowa and Charles Tapper.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DEs Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey, DT Nick Hayden.

CAMP NEEDS: Romo and Bryant need time together after fourth straight offseason without much, and coming off injury-plagued year. Camp will be first chance for fourth overall pick Elliott to take hold as lead back with Darren McFadden sidelined by elbow injury. Cowboys have to figure out pass rush with young DEs DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory suspended for first four games for substance-abuse violations. Middle linebacker also in question with Rolando McClain getting 10-game substance abuse ban.

EXPECTATIONS: Cowboys mostly kept their players during offseason, indicating belief roster is closer to 12-4 record from NFC East title season in 2014. Healthy Romo and Bryant could back up that thinking. Dallas didn't do much to add playmaking on defense, although CB Orlando Scandrick returns after missing last season with knee injury. Cowboys need more from underachieving CBs Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, and would get boost if LB Sean Lee generates more turnovers as he did early in career.

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