Thursday, October 16, 2008

Season Review & Roy Relocates

New article is up. I took a look at some of what has gone right as well as some things that have gone wrong.



Eagles fans are not happy about Roy Williams trading silver and light blue for silver and dark blue. I understand the mindset. Roy is a very talented player. He's only played the Eagles twice, but had a huge game each time.

The fear is that he and TO will give Dallas a lethal pair of WRs. Combine that with Patrick Crayton, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tony Romo, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and you have an unstoppable offensive attack.

I think Jerry Jones erred in making the deal. The Cowboys had enough talent to win the Super Bowl without Roy. They had enough talent last year. Pure talent hasn't been an issue recently. What the Cowboys lack is intestinal fortitude.

In 2006 Dallas lost on the final day of the season to a poor Lions team when they could have wrapped up the NFC East title. The Cowboys were sloppy that day and didn't show the kind of urgency you'd expect with a division title on the line. They went to Seattle the next week for a Wildcard showdown. The Seahawks were beset by injuries to their secondary. In comes a good Dallas passing attack. The Cowboys struggled to come up with key plays and lost the game when Romo bobbled the snap late on a FG attempt.

Last year Dallas was 12-1 in December before losing games to Philly and Washington. No big deal, though. They won the division and had a bye week. In come the Giants, minus Jeremy Shockey and a couple of other players. The Gmen won the game and broke the hearts of Cowboys fans.

Dallas had more talent, but they didn't have the better team. New York had started the season 0-2 and overcome it. They had lost players to injury. They had lost Tiki Barber to retirement in the offseason. None of this seemed to phase them. They showed up and played hard for Tom Coughlin, who had barely kept his job. The Giants understood pressure. They faced tough times and battled through them.

Dallas had none of that. And it showed. They didn't know how to respond in a clutch moment when the other team was punching away. Dallas was able to make a miracle comeback vs Buffalo in a Monday night game, but that is because they were just flat out better than the Bills. When push came to shove, Buffalo backed down. The Giants didn't back down. They stood up to Dallas and dared Tony Romo to beat them. They dared the Cowboys OL to block them. Neither happened and the Giants went on to win a SB.

When I initially heard about the Cowboys injury situation I was happy. You never want players to be hurt, but as an Eagles fan it gets frustrating at times when our guys constantly seem to go down and our rivals stay healthy. Then I started thinking about the situation.

Suddenly Dallas was faced with adversity at midseason. This wasn't a curse for them, it was a blessing. They would run the ball more to protect Brad Johnson. The OL would become dominant. They could mix in rookie Tashard Choice as a backup to Barber. Being more conservative on offense would put pressure on the defense and give them a chance to develop an edge. In short, they could find the formula for winning in the postseason. The Cowboys would be ready for January football.

And then Jerry Jones went and blew it by trading for Roy Williams. The move makes Dallas more explosive now. The move gives them a #1 type of WR for the future. I mean, TO does have to retire at some point...right? This wasn't a dumb move by Jerry Jones. It just wasn't the right move to bring the Cowboys a Super Bowl.

The Patriots had a ton of firepower last year. They lost. The 3 Patriots teams that had solid offenses managed to win the SB. Winning in the postseason requires a certain edge. Teams that score a ton of points rarely have that edge. See Indy from 2001-04. See the Vikings of 1998. See the Rams of 2001. See the Redskins of 1983. And so on. The 1999 Rams won the SB, but had low scoring defensive battles in the NFC-CG and the Super Bowl. The Colts won with defense and running in 2005.

I applaud Jerry Jones "win at all costs" mentality, but it would be better served in basketball. Talent has to mesh in the NFL. The Cowboys are not exactly meshing right now. Wade Phillips, once a gifted coach, is more a cheerleader than a leader of men. Anyone who saw him on Hard Knocks had to shake their head after a preseason loss "Men, that was on me." You save that speech for the regular season. Preseason is a time to blame the players and yell at them so they correct their mistakes. There is very little game preparation. By taking the blame for the loss, you're coming across as being full of BS. Can you imagine Jimmy Johnson ever telling his guys..."that game was on me", whether preseason or regular season?

Jerry has built a team of star players and big personalities. Groups like that need a strong leader. Troy Aikman loved playing for Jimmy Johnson. Troy knew the other players feared "Helmet Hair". Troy was a grinder by nature and didn't need any prodding. Do you think any Cowboy fears Wade Phillips? Jimmy put up with crap only if players delivered. Guys with baggage had to be really good. Tank Johnson and PacMan would likely have gotten the boot. Why deal with their crap unless it pays off on Sunday?

Jerry knows how to build a Pro Bowl team. We still don't know if he knows how to build a Super Bowl team. Jimmy gets credit for the 1992-1995 teams. Parcells then put together the nucleus of the current group.

We'll see how things play out. Maybe Roy will be a great fit and Dallas will be unbelievable. Maybe. Or TO could go nuclear after a bad loss where he catches 2 passes and Roy gets 6. The Cowboys locker room could look like Dresden after a situation like that.

My bet is that the Cowboys don't make it to the Super Bowl, let alone win it. They won't lack talent. They simply won't be able to overcome some other team that has a bit more junkyard dog than the 'Boys. Toughness can outdo talent in the postseason.

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