Jerry Jones has been the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys for 22 years.
Jerry Jones has been the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys for 22 years.

It seems like every year the Cowboys are expected to make a run to the Super Bowl.

2011 was no different, as many experts made Dallas their pick to go all the way. The season ended in disappointment, with the club going 8-8 and finishing in third place in the NFC East.

Once again, about a month before the season opener against the New York Giants, America's team appears to have high expectations for the upcoming season. This time, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is predicting his team to do big things.

Y'all should come to Cowboys Stadium and watch us beat the Giants' asses," Jones reportedly told a group of Dallas fans last week.

Along with Jones's comments, his Cowboys seem to be very optimistic about this season.

On paper, as usual, Dallas has one of the most talented and skillful bunch of players throughout the league. However, it's been difficult for them to turn this talent into a successful season.

One of the biggest areas of improvement this offseason has been the team's defense. Last year, they were slow to the ball, and allowed too many big plays in critical games all of last season.

Instead of relying on age and wisdom, the Cowboys are now focused on speed and pressure, which is ultimately what the team has been missing.

To fuel this new era of explosiveness, the Cowboys drafted former Boise State star Tyrone Crawford.

The 6-foot-4, 282 pound defensive end, was brought in for one reason and one reason only--to make plays in the back field.

Marcus Spears, who most likely will continue to play end on the opposite side of the field, is meant to contain the quarterback and press down on the offensive line to crowd the running holes.

Now, with Crawford's ability, along with the blitzing of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys present a plausible threat to their opponent's tackles.

To add on to their new philosophy of "hard-nosed" football, the Cowboys have also re-signed Sean Lissemore, and Rob Ryan-favorite, Kenyon Coleman.

The 6-foot-4 Lissemore showed flashes of his skills last season in which he accounted for 21 tackles and two sacks. Although only in his third year, the Cowboys believe that Lissemore has the ability to become a solid player in this league.

Now in his 12th season, Coleman played for Ryan when he was with the Cleveland Browns, and has continued to be contributing player every year on defensive. The former-UCLA defensive end highlighted his career in 2010 when he accounted for 68 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Clifton Geathers, whom the Cowboys re-signed due purely to his size and strength, needs to play to his expectations, and use his basketball-frame-body to his advantage. Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in around 325 pounds, Geathers should provide a rush off the edge that will be difficult for any offensive tackle to handle.

Will the Cowboys win a Super Bowl this year? Most likely not, but they are showing efforts to remove the speed bumps that are preventing them from progressing in the playoffs.

However, if the Cowboys stay healthy, and play to their full potential for the entire season, then the sky is the limit on what they can accomplish. They have some tough competition in their division between the Giants and Eagles, but should have a shot at to finish in first for much of the year.

NFC East Prediction: 2nd place