The REAL Direction of the Dallas Cowboy's Offseason
It is continually mentioned things just weren't addressed...
Leaving last season, there were some areas of concern that needed to be addressed. The foremost of all of these was the horrible coverage on coverage teams. DeCamillas was immediately brought in to redirect the conduct on special teams.
The nature of this part of the game was upgraded by a better group brought in by this draft. The inability for this unit to stop the opponent without major field position changes lost Dallas as many games last year as any other feature being addressed...first. That whole climate has changed-FACT.
Now, much of the short comings in the special team's play was due to a kicker's inability to kick deep for coverage units to excel. Then, with BOTH Felix Jones and Miles Austin injured for most of the season, return abilities dwindled as well. While Felix Jones was able to return for the team, the team was the 6th best in the NFL.
He averaged a whopping 27.1 yards a return. With Miles Austin healthy, this is a major advantage different from last season. Heck, even Stanback may prove, now healthy, to even be a major contributor there.
On the punt return side, Terence Newman has great skills that can be used in crucial games, as well can those of someone like Scandrick, and one of the new secondary 'rooks' is pretty polished as well. Reliability is found in Crayton for punts. He doesn't muff punts and his average is surprisingly respectable on punt returns.
Next, add in the field position consideration that dramatically returns with the healthy return of Mat McBriar. Now, with the addition of a drafted David Buehler, in the FIFTH round, the team can use it's kicking game more directed.
This special team's group should project up with the very best in the NFL this year, in all phases of that part of the game. That is 1/3 of a game's fight...
Now, as to NOT addressing problems...c'mon, quite ignoring the facts of the matter here:
So, here then, is the Cowboy's list of primary needs that needed to be addressed in free agency or in the draft.
1. A solid backup quarterback
Well, the team only went out and traded for Jon Kitna, who is a very capable and proven leader. He has a complete arsenal of throws and knows how to lead a team through rough times as well.
In addition to this, the Cowboys drafted one of the top five quarterbacks in this draft, Stephen McGee and did NOT reach for him via where he was selected. They got very good value for him at the top of the COWBOY's draft.
2. A starting middle linebacker
Here, in free agency, the Cowboys signed Keith Brooking. He is a proven commodity that still has much credibility at this point in his career. Everyone has been saying the Ray Lewis was operating on fumes for the past four seasons.
Nay-sayers would have called New England idiots for signing a whole group of 'senior citizen' the very year they rode them to the Super Bowl, and four consecutive years following that challenged the entire NLF with them.
This was solved, but not enough yet, as the top pick in this draft...the COWBOY part of it, was a player who will quickly push for this very position. The Cowboys drafted the fasted linebacker and one of the most talented in this draft—Jason Williams. He WAS the top player selected by this draft group.
3. At least two cornerbacks
Don't look now, but Dallas took the most productive pair of cornerbacks in collegiate football last year. The Cowboys drafted both, Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith from Cincinnati.
Heck, Macklin was a complete steal that dwarfs the picking of Canty by Parcells four drafts ago. Macklin was the number nine cornerback in this entire draft, with isolated coverage abilities.
He only lead collegiate play in interceptions, and the pair together were unmatched in collegiate play.
4. A starting caliber strong safety
Early on in the free agency, Dallas signed a very productive Sensabaugh. He is starting quality and is an aggressive defender that creates turnovers.
In addition to this, the Cowboys drafted Michael Hamlin, a coverage safety, and Steven Hodge who has similar abilities to Darren Woodson when he came onto the Cowboy's team. Hamlin was considered top 100 by many sources.
He was All-ACC in 2008, first team.
5. Another serviceable offensive lineman
Now I can understand the disappointment in not getting Unger with the top pick in the draft...hey, that would have been nice, but it just didn't happen. The team moved on, maybe fans should also.
The team then DID pull the trigger on a very talented, aggressive, and motivated Robert Brewster. He fits the requirements of bringing a 'smash-mouthed' player onto the roster. This was a much lower priority, yet Jerry hit the need high in the draft that HE had....
All the mumbling going on is on a mystical lack of projection in the offensive side of the ball, as the defense has got defineably better and more long termed in the process.
The offense just isn't going to disappear. Roy Williams is somewhat in a comparable situation to what Terry Glenn was at his arrival with Dallas. Teams had written him off somewhat, yet he came on strong.
Roy Williams had a single All Pro season, and then had to deal with a dysfunctional period due mostly to his team's mishaps and misadventures directed from it's leadership side. That organization only killed the careers of three other top notched receivers that entered into it's dungeons.
This offseason, mid-level free agents were refusing to sign more lucrative contracts to be with them. Lucas was one that chose not to accept a higher contract to the Lions both in trade considerations and in free agency.
He's still on the market. As are other prominent veteran players that could add much to many teams, to include the Cowboys.
That is a cap consideration, but if Dallas had to pay out first and second round money on players not going to hit the field, they wouldn't be in position to sign any of these possible targets.
The point here, is that the team is STILL in position to do so, if it feels that the depth of strength isn't quite what it wants, after observing and working with this group of 'rooks'...but Jerry being stupid, c'mon naw, take your tar and feathers to another city, if you are looking to be a fan.
Jerry walked the talk and did what could have been done, following doing just EXACTLY what the fans wanted, and get rid of obvious sources of conflict and media agitations-Tank Johnson, Adam Jones, AND TO.
Start punching holes in some REAL facts and not a bunch of desires for a 'kill for' collection of ball cards...if you want bling supersized, I have a bunch of old Alan Ameche, Walt Garrison, Calvin Hill, and Johnny Unitas cards you can have....as to Cowboy football, it's alive and STILL doing well in Dallas.
This year's Cowboys will be playing much more 'smash-mouthed' on both sides of the ball. The defense was strongly headed there even at the end of the season. That defense has been expanded and additional talents for attacking have been accumulated in the draft.
That side of the ball has had an influx of talent once again, yet, has a very young nucleus of players still gaining in polish on the carpet.
On the offense, heading into this coming season is the undeniable wealth of talent brimming at the running back position. While injured much, Marion Barber ended up with 885 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns; not to mention 52 receptions with 417 yards receiving and 2 additional touchdowns catching the ball.
Tashard Choice, against the very top teams in the NFL, only averages 81.3 yards rushing and 40.8 yard receiving in those last four games. That is some hard nosed running to be brought to the table this year, with a healthy offensive line now.
Then is the addition of Felix Jones, who only in 30 carries amounted a dazzling 266 yards and an amazing 8.9 yards per carry.
Everyone says teams will merely camp in the box area...well, let them, as Martellus Bennett and Jason Witten will eat their sack lunches and then say 'thank you' afterwards...with a very tall set of Roy Williams and Miles Austin to be hot on a heartbeat.
Now as to the constant slap of Bill Parcells versus Jerry Jones comparisons...let that 'wildcat' formation try coming up against a Wade Phillips' 4-6 aimlessly visualizing, and SEE what happens!
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