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Cowboys retooled offensive line and secondary after 2016 playoff loss to Packers

Dallas has undergone some significant changes on their roster in the past few months, and they hope that the week 5 game against the Packers will end differently than last year’s playoff matchup.

Divisional Round - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In the 13 days leading up to July 27th, when the Green Bay Packers begin training camp practices, APC is running a series we’re calling “13 in 13.” Over these two weeks, we will closely with a close examination of the major offseason events for each of the Packers’ 2017 opponents. Each team’s information has been provided by our SB Nation colleagues who know them best - the team bloggers for each franchise.

A few weeks after traveling to Atlanta for a playoff rematch with the Falcons, the Packers have another repeat trip from the 2016 playoffs — a date with the Cowboys in Dallas in week 5.

Here is a look at the Cowboys’ offseason from the great folks over at Blogging the Boys.

Dallas Cowboys

Notable free agent additions: DT Stephen Paea, CB Nolan Carroll, DE Damontre Moore, G Jonathan Cooper, OT Byron Bell, S Robert Blanton

Notable free agent departures: CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne, S Barry Church, S J.J. WIlcox, OG Ron Leary, OT Doug Free, DT Terrell McClain, DE Jack Crawford

Trades: None

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

Round 1: Taco Charlton - The Cowboys hope the defensive end out of Michigan will help them create a pass rush, something the defense has been missing since DeMarcus Ware left.

Round 2: Chidobe Awuzie - A versatile defensive back, he could play corner, safety or some hybrid of both. The Cowboys are revamping their secondary.

Round 3: Jourdan Lewis - A cover corner out of Michigan, he could play the slot or outside in the Cowboys new secondary.

Round 4: Ryan Switzer - A slot receiver with punt return skills, he adds another weapon for Dak Prescott.

Round 6: Xavier Woods - A ball-hawking safety who the Cowboys hope can create turnovers in the secondary.

Biggest offseason addition: The top draft picks, the Cowboys didn’t spend much in free agency.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Besides everyone wondering about a sophomore slump for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are desperately trying to upgrade their back seven on defense. They are hoping that last year’s second-round pick, Jaylon Smith, has overcome his injury and can be a key piece of their defense at linebacker with Sean Lee. They let go of four players who played significant snaps in the secondary and are counting on a group of young guys and rookies to take over. The Cowboys secondary has done a poor job of getting interceptions and making splash plays, they need playmkers on the field. The offense is stacked, the defense needs to improve.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: The Cowboys are shuffling their offensive line, guard Ron Leary left in free agency and right tackle Doug Free retired. They think they have a good player to plug in at right tackle, La’el Collins, but there is an open competition at left guard. The Cowboys identity is built around their elite offensive line, so it’s a little bit of a gamble this offseason as they re-tool a bit.

Notable injuries heading into training camp: Jaylon Smith is trying to recover from his catastrophic injury in his college bowl game. He spent a year rehabbing, now we get to see if his knee has recovered enough to play effectively. DeMarcus Lawrence is getting over back surgery. Cole Beasley has hamstring issues.