There is always a lot of hype coming out of Valley Ranch about the top players on the Dallas Cowboys. During a discussion with my Dad he said, ” Why don’t you do a study on how well they compare league wide? You may be a little disappointed with the findings.” I agreed, and I did this article by position. I think you may be as surprised as I was.
As I stated in my previous article, Jerry Jones has been under heavy fire lately in regards to his abilities as a General Manager in the NFL. I am not a scout, a coach or a general manager, but I consider myself at least a half way decent analyst. That being said, I will do a breakdown of the current offense and then move on to defensive players in the next article.
Tony Romo is one of the most controversial players among the talking heads of the media and the fans alike. He is one of those players that you either love or you hate. It doesn’t matter which category you fall under, there are still certain facts that you just can’t deny. The first being. Romo is still 2nd all time in career passer rating entering the 2012 season. In spite of all the drops, routes run wrong, poor offensive line play, and a non existent running game, Tony Romo is still a top 10 quarterback in the NFL for the 2012 season. He is currently ranked 9th: ahead of the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, RGII, Matt Shaub, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton etc. All of which were 1st round picks (except Dalton 35th overall). Keep in mind, Romo was undrafted. Enough said. The quarterback is not one of the problems in Dallas. IF the Dallas Cowboys General Manager gave Romo a decent supporting cast, he would win a Super Bowl.
Jerry Jones dropped a 1st round pick on Felix Jones who is yet to make any kind of an impact in the NFL. Jones is currently the 48th ranked RB in the league with only 278 yards, 2 touchdowns and a fumble. When I consider the fact that a guy like Doug Martin, (currently ranked 4th in the NFL who was also taken in the first round) as a rookie has 862 yards, 7 TD’s and no fumbles, I have to go hmmm. Then when I consider the fact that DeMarco Murray came in to Dallas and was considered by many of us to be a breath of fresh air: he is currently ranked 18th, with 330 yds and only 1 touchdown, I begin to wonder some more. I believe Murray has the ability to be a top RB in the NFL. However, my concern now, as it was when they drafted him, is his durability. Is drafting guys that had injury issues in college such a good idea? To date, Murray hasn’t been able to string even half a season worth of games together. At this point, I believe RB is a problem for the Cowboys. It doesn’t matter how much skill a RB has if he can’t stay healthy. Anytime the Cowboys were in contention for a Super Bowl they had a top 5 RB. In fact, every Super Bowl that 90′s team won, Emmitt Smith was the NFL leading rusher that year. The heart of an offense is a solid running game.
This category left me distraught to say the least. I knew the Cowboys were hurting at this position, I just didn’t realize how bad. Miles Austin, who was given a huge contract after one breakout season is currently ranked 25th in the NFL, which to me, is not good at all if he is supposed to be the teams #1 WR. He currently has 43 receptions for 669 yards and 4 touchdowns. Danny Amendola, whom the Cowboys cut, also has 43 receptions, but in only 5 starts. He missed some time due to a collarbone injury. Dez Bryant (another player Jerry Jones dropped a 1st round pick on) comes in at 19th with 45 receptions for 590 yards and 3 TDs. I wont even waste the space on where Ogletree comes in. A.J Green, the 2nd year player (who was also a 1st round pick), has 58 receptions for 820 yards and 9 TD’s with a rookie QB at the helm. Here we are 3 years later, after all the hype, wondering, waiting, pulling our hair out, asking ourselves: when is Dez Bryant going to break out? What do we see? A guy who still can’t run all the routes and struggles with the playbook.
The truth be known, Tony Romo hasn’t had a true #1 receiver since Terrell Owens left. You know your team is hurting when your TE is not only your teams leading receiver, but ranked 3rd in the entire NFL. Yup, Jason Witten is tied for 3rd with Wes Welker, having 66 receptions. Yes it’s sad to see, but hey, they could always give a guy like Beasley a shot to see what he can do. Miles and Dez are not getting it done. If you look at history, (even with T.O) the Cowboys pretty much always had a WR in the top 5 when they were in contention. If you look at these players based on total yards and/or touchdowns instead of receptions,(which is how they are listed here) they rank much lower. In spite of all the receptions, Witten only has 1 TD and 585 yds. I think what has really hurt the production of these receivers is all of the drops and routes run wrong. Victor Cruz has as many TD’s as Dez and Miles combined. This is the type of #1 WR you want if you have any hopes of going deep in to the playoffs. And to think, Eli Manning has Hakeem Nicks lining up on the other side of the field. Many inferior quarterbacks in the NFL have Romo outmatched with their receiving core. Romo needs his Irvin or his Pearson. He had that with T.O. He started to build that trust with Laurent Robinson. A QB has got to have more than one guy he fully trusts. If opposing defenses take Witten out of the game, Romo is screwed.
Gosh, I don’t think there is much I can tell any of you about this disaster that you don’t already know. “WHAT WAS JERRY JONES THINKING?” How much impact did Jason Garrett have on the selection of these players? If you believe what Jerry said, Garrett had just as much control as Jimmy Johnson did. Ouch!
If you remember, Jerry Jones said in a press conference that 2012 would be a “Romo Friendly Draft”. The Cowboys had 8 draft picks, yet they didn’t draft a single offensive lineman. Was JJ still licking his wounds from the previous draft and living in the hope that the sub par players he got in 2011 would pan out? Or does he just not care about the welfare of his franchise QB? The lack of a running game? The never ending string of false starts and holding penalties? The inability to score in the red zone? I am not even going in to depth on all of the players, just the one he dropped a 9th overall pick on. LT Tyron Smith. I will start by asking you a couple questions: would you buy a car without test driving it first? If you were an employer and you needed a good trim carpenter: would you hire a guy who had only worked as a framer? If you answered no to either question you are already exhibiting a much higher IQ than the front office of the Dallas Cowboys.
Look, I hate to sound like a negative Nelly all the time, but the fact remains I started writing to speak the truth. I am not going to try and patronize the fans or force feed them Kool Aid. I know a lot of fans are still of the mind that Tyron Smith is a great athlete. Which to some extent is true. He looked great in gym shorts at the combine. But,,,, if he couldn’t win the job of left tackle over a freshman at the college level: what makes anyone think he can play the position at the NFL level? This wasn’t even in a top division like the SEC where they are blocking most of the best pass rushers in college. It’s like saying hey, that car looks good, I am going to buy it even though I never heard it run. Or saying hey, a carpenter is a carpenter, I am going hire him. The fact is, being a trim carpenter, much like being a LT, requires much more technique than being a framer which is the same as being a RT. Bill Parcells said it best:
“We are in the player acquisition business, not the potential business.”
I agree 100%! I am not going to experiment with a 9th overall pick based on potential. If I had never seen a guy play the position, I will gamble in the mid to late rounds, but not the 1st round. Especially when there were several offensive linemen on the board who were 4 yr starters at LT in the SEC. In fact, some were ALL-SEC 1st team as voted by the coaches. Now this is a guy I can study and evaluate at the position I drafted him for. I hate to bust any bubbles, but of all the LT’s taken in the same draft in the 1st round, the only thing Smith leads in is penalties. The New England Patriots lost 2 all pro offensive linemen this year. LT Matt Light, and RG Bryan Waters both retired. Nate Solder, who got drafted much later in the 1st round, has stepped in at LT and the Patriots OL hasn’t lost a beat. In, fact, their running game is better than it’s been in years. Stevan Ridley has emerged as a top RB in the NFL.
Remember I mentioned the freshman Kalil that beat out Smith for the LT job at USC? Gosh he got drafted this year by the Minnesota Vikings, and as a rookie is dominating top NFL pass rushers. Adrian Peterson is running behind him with confidence and already has 1,128 yards and 7 TD’s! That’s 3 times as many yards as Murray. The most important factor is: Kalil hasn’t given up a single false start or holding penalty. The whole thing in the nut shell is, the coaches at USC knew which guy to play at LT. All I can say is: why couldn’t an NFL pro department figure it out?
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