John Clayton's latest column names five teams that will be hurt by the lack of a traditional offseason and five that won't. There are no NFC East teams on the former list and one on the latter. John believes the Dallas Cowboys (along with the Saints, Falcons, Colts and Chargers) are in a position to weather the uncertainty that the lockout hath wrought:
"Tony Romo has done a great job of organizing the three dozen players who are doing informal Cowboys workouts. Because he's working with the same Jason Garrett system the offense has had for years, there is no learning curve for the players. Everyone knows the system. Romo can concentrate on timing and conditioning. The defense hasn't had the chance to work with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, but it can adjust to the new scheme in training camp."
This is the NFL Bizarro World in which we find ourselves. You're doing all right if you only have to worry about cramming a new defense into a compressed training camp, as opposed to a new offense and defense. But as I mentioned yesterday, I'm with John on the Cowboys. I think they were better than a 6-10 team last year and are in position to be a surprise contender in 2011, assuming there is a 2011. And while Garrett has yet to run a training camp, he's not a "new coach" like the ones in Tennessee and San Francisco and places like that. John's point is that Garrett's been around there a long time. They're used to him. And there are enough responsible veteran pieces in place that Dallas should be in as strong a position to hit the ground running as any team in the league.
Of course, this time last year, I was picking the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, so ...