I am just your every day peon fan. I have no claim to fame. I am not a coach, nor a GM in the NFL, but I have this little thing called common sense. And, yes, I study the game of football. In fact, I am pretty knowledgeable in most circles. As I watch what is taking place with the Dallas Cowboys again this year, I have no choice but to scratch my head.
I have to ask myself a serious question here, but I am having trouble with the answer. The question: how can a man be intelligent enough to become a billionaire in the world of business, buy a football team, yet not be able to see the writing on the wall?
My next question is: how can the coaches not see it?
As I said, I am just a peon, but if it was anymore obvious it would jump out and bite me. Ok, lets get to the point of this article. A breakdown of the current depth chart. Starting with offense. I will cover other areas in future articles.
I am going to start with the offensive line. I look back to the playoff game against the Vikings and get sick to my stomach. Remember? The game where Romo got sacked 6 times and was hurried on almost every play? Is it just me, or was it already obvious that the O-Line was in bad shape then? Romo has excellent escape ability, which is probably the only reason his career hasn’t ended prematurely. Could you imagine the abuse one of the leagues immobile pocket passers like P. Manning would be taking back there? His career would already be over.
After that playoff debacle, me the peon, thought, ok, we need to address the line this off season. So, I patiently waited for the draft and much to my dismay, the OL issues were not addressed. Then I thought, ok, they will address it in Free Agency. Wrong again, their answer was cutting Flozell Adams (who went on to start in the Super Bowl for the Steelers).
If you look around the league at the successful teams, or even look at the Cowboys history, almost every successful football team is based around a solid offensive line. So, nothing was done to fix it and Romo was running for his life again. Yes, it may have been Gronkowski’s missed block that allowed the season ending injury, but if you watch the film, that guy came right through the line untouched. Either way it was inevitable. There is nothing more important in the NFL than protecting your QB. The Cowboys not only lost one QB that year (Romo), they also allowed Kitna to get injured. Ouch. Shame on the cowboys management department.
Football is a lot like chess. In a game of chess the most valuable piece on the board is the king. A skilled player will form an array of pawns (known as a bastion) around his king. This represents the offensive line and is called developing. A skilled player will have his king secure within the first seven moves of the game. Usually having a knight protecting his flanks. This is like a TE or a FB. Now, if you know anything about chess, if just one of those pawns is missing, the opposing player will get to your king. No chess player in his right mind will leave his king unprotected. Are you getting my point?
2011 rolled around and now it’s the last minute. It took losing two QB’s the year before for the staff to realize they needed some help on the offensive line. They drafted Tyron Smith, so maybe people thought: “Great! they are finally addressing the need!” But then what did they do? They cut starters from the OL during a lockout season. Back to chess. This is like being in a game against Gary Kasparov and letting a beginner take over your game to protect your king. Scratching my head again. My peon common sense tells me, a player in any game, needs time to learn the game. In most cases they need an advanced player around to mentor them in that game.
I heard a lot of fans saying let the young guys play they will be fine. It is an accepted fact in the NFL that it takes 1-4 years for a player to fully develop. Did they forget it took Doug Free a few years and he was still learning? This brings me to my next question. If you were the king (Tony Romo) would you want to put not only your health, but your career in the hands of sub par beginners and FA cast offs like Livings or Bernadeu? Adjustments can be made to allow for one weak link on the line, like one rookie, but lets be real here. Free and Holland were the only vets we had on the line in 2011. Romo took a career high 36 sacks and 82 hits; he ended up with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Look, I may be a peon, but I am not stupid. I am not buying in to them trying to patronize the fans. Did everyone forget that McGee got sacked 3 times against 2nd and 3rd string players with the same linemen in the game during the preseason that were expected to protect Romo from the Pro Bowl pass-rushers in the regular season? Did everyone forget who the Eagles Redskins and Giants have for pass-rushers? Thats a minimum of 6 games of their schedule right there. This year when the Cowboys play the Giants, all of their pass rushers will be healthy. Yes, the guys who sacked Romo 6 times in the last meeting alone, keeping the Cowboys out of the playoffs.
Once again in 2012, Jerry Jones did nothing at all to significantly upgrade the offensive line.
The next question: With the line being as thin as it is right now, what happens if one of the so called starters gets injured? They cut the veterans and are relying on rookies and a career backup to be starters now. Do you see the dilemma? They don’t have anyone to put in if someone gets hurt! It seems like the staff just loves committing NFL suicide. How many times in the last few years have we had two linemen injured at the same time? Exactly my point. Right now they are scrambling in camp just to find someone to fill the line. The competition is among a bunch of guys who probably couldn’t make New Englands practice squad. Yes, teams like them have better backups than what JJ wants to use as starters. They appear to be giving no thought to the risk of injury.
The next question is: What if Tyron Smith can’t cut it at LT when we get in “REAL” game scenarios against the elite pass rushers in the NFL? You can’t expect a 21 year old rookie to fully develop and learn a new position like LT in only a few weeks. Most of the current starting left tackles in the NFL were 4 year starters at the position in college and have adequate experience there. What is the back up plan? No one is ever going to convince me this offense is secure. Free got abused on the left side last year. Costa spent most of the season in Romos’ lap, and Holland was the only halfway solid OG on the line. Now they let him go.
The bottom line to this whole article is, they are not only gambling with the future of the franchise in 2012, but the health and future of their franchise QB Tony Romo. I mean hey, you know the media will just blame Romo whether he is on his back all the time or not. I am sorry, but this peon sees the writing on the wall and can read it. I just hope the staff does before it’s too late. This is not hating on my team, this is speaking the truth. If I was Romo, I would demand my contract get restructured with an injury clause allowing guaranteed money, or demand to be traded to a team who will protect me. He may just lose his entire career with the next injury. Then what Mr. Jones?