Formerly an email newsletter about all things NFL, it's now a blog about all things NFL, but mostly all things Dallas Cowboys. Probably with a dose of politics, food, and college football.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oh yeahhhh! This Kool-Aid tastes funny

I was going to review the last preseason column of TMQ, but it’s not interesting enough to comment on. Dude gives his “predictions” for each team in haiku.

Thirty-two freaking haikus. And that’s only about one-fourth of the column. He drones on and on about Star Trek or Star Wars or something. Ponderous.

He also agreed with a reader about something that happened in the Syracuse game. The reader says there was a reverse and the announcers called it a “double reverse.” Except, it really was a double reverse, if memory serves. It was one of several dozen plays that didn’t work for the Orange.

Instead I’m going to admit that I’m optimistic about the Cowboys. I’ve been pretty hard on the OL. But I keep going over the roster and thinking about what I’ve seen from the team in the preseason, and the OL ends up the only question mark, and they finished pretty well.

Bledsoe is probably the next biggest question mark. But it’s not like he’s never done anything. He’s durable, so taking a lot of sacks doesn’t worry me as far as his health. If he’s bad, he’ll probably still be functional, especially against lesser opponents. If he’s good, he could be really good.

And he’s got a lot of weapons. Julius Jones is the real deal. A fast, powerful, every down back. TE Jason Witten caught 87 passes last year. Keyshawn Johnson is a solid player. Terry Glenn, a spectacular, if fragile, deep threat. Peerless Price caught 92 balls from Bledsoe three years ago. Patrick Crayton might be as good a 4th WR any team has this year.

Those aren’t just competent players, there’s a couple stars and a couple more near-stars in there. Even the backup RB’s look good.

On defense, the biggest question is the LBs. Dat Nguyen is over rated. Bradie James looks like a stiff. Al Singleton is JAG (just a guy). But rookie OLBs DeMarcus Ware and Kevin Burnett flashed playmaking ability in the preseason. If they can learn to be in the right place and play the run and pass, they should be OK.

The line is the best it’s been in a decade. Jason Ferguson only played a handful of plays, but I’ve seen him play for the Jets so I’m not worried. LaRoi Glover is serviceable as his backup at NT. Greg Ellis is limited, but has a good motor. Ken Coleman is JAG. But the rookies, four of them, all showed ability in the preseason.

Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Thomas Johnson, and Marcus Spears all played well. It’s obviously hard to say in the preseason, but none were overmatched and all consistently won their individual battles with opposing OL. Spears missed most of the preseason except for the last game against Jacksonville, but was outstanding in that game. Even though he was a first round pick, he’s kind of a sleeper because he’s been out.

The corners are also as good as they’ve been in several years. Finally, SS Roy Williams is playing where he should, and FS Keith Davis looks better than A Tony Dixon or A Lynn Scott or whoever Dallas has tried back there recently.

So I see all this improvement, and what am I supposed to think? What, 7-9? I don’t think so. 10-6 is probably a reasonable guess. Nine wins wouldn’t be disappointing considering the youth in some places and the age of Bledsoe. Eleven wins would be a surprise.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:07 PM

 
Anonymous Jordy said...

TMQ is a boring old bitty.

As the season approaches, honesty compels me to report that I ain't feeling it when you're telling me that Bledsoe's 2005 effectiveness range will be Functional to Really Good.

I'd place Functional at the mid-point of the range and start with Fugly on the leff.

He had 5 200-yard passing games last year, and threw 3 picks in 2 of those.

I also wouldn't be excited about the fact that, with the playoffs on the line, he couldn't beat the Steelers' 2nd-string.

I'm not saying he's bad, I'm saying even though you have him as a question mark, you're still more optimistic than I am.

12:17 PM

 
Blogger az said...

Bledsoe can be really bad, but shouldn't be consistently really bad. I think he was a bad fit for the Bills offense the last two years, even though each year had a different offensive coordinator. Buffalo's OL wasn't good either.

I guess where I'm optimisic is that I'm willing to believe the last two years were not part of a downward trend. I can't expect mid-90's Bledsoe, or even 2002 Bledsoe because his skills have diminished, but I think he'll be OK (functional) at least.

6:00 AM

 
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