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.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Peter King's Somethingest Something

A few years ago Peter King lamented why WE have to dub something the "somethingest something." Yet Pete does this routinely. Pretty much weekly, or oftener during the preseason, when his diaries appear daily at SI.com.

From August 4th:

"What did you think of 'Seabiscuit'?'' I ask.

"Haven't read it,'' Shanahan says. "Saw the movie. Really liked it.''

"You've got to read the book,'' I say. "It's better. One of the best sports books ever.''

Pete's always good for an eye roll or three. In the same column he rags on his 4-star hotel, in this case, the exercise equipment at the Westin in Denver:
And one gripe with the elliptical trainer, by the way: It's got a 15-minute limit on it. Did you know, Westinians, that you need to get 20 minutes of a 135-beat heartbeat, consecutively, four times a week, to do the right thing for your heart? Give us a 20-minute limit, at least.
Maybe they do things differently in a hotel exercise room, but how does the hotel put a governor on an elliptical trainer, and why would they? Shouldn't Pete be aggravated with the manufacturer? I suppose it is Westin's fault for buying the inferior machine.

Then again, just start the stupid thing over and quit after five more minutes. How inconvenient could that really be? Stupid 4-star hotels.

The chicken or the egg: Cornerback

Hot on the heels of a press release at dallascowboys.com, the Abilene Reporter News has two stories about CB Terence Newman getting his swagger back.

Swagger, swagger, blah blah blah. I get so sick of hearing about swagger. I understand the role of confidence in sports, but isn’t confidence borne of demonstrated ability? Otherwise, isn’t it just hope?

A confident player is one who knows he can. A player that thinks he can may become confident, but will doubt himself until he actually does.

The converse must also be true. Newman didn’t lose his confidence and start playing poorly. He started playing poorly and lost his confidence Cause and effect.. If he was successful before, and thus, confident, he was unsuccessful for a period of time that made him lose confidence.

So if he’s playing well in camp, that’s great. But tell me he’s covering great. Don’t tell me he’s getting his confidence back as if that’s the thing. The play’s the thing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Least Controversial Position: Quarterback

The Dallas Morning News did a story on the backup QBs the other day, a day after the Cowboys’ own website did the same.

Hacks.

Eh, maybe that’s too harsh. As team websites go, Dallascowboys.com is pretty good. Constantly updated, and while the criticism is never harsh, they’re not too cheerleader-y over there. Unless it’s Mick Spagnola cheerleading for Chad Hutchinson, but that has entertainment value.

The DMN could do worse on their own than just copying Cowboys press releases.

The only difference in the two stories about Henson and Romo was that Henson may, or may not, be reverting back to a sidearm motion after throwing 6,000 passes this offseason.

The DMN said he was, but maybe they just misread the Cowboys.com press release, which said he wasn’t.

I didn’t think his motion was all that bad last year, but coaches love to work on technique. And in the Bears game where he played a full half, Henson’s deep passes did float. So he’s supposed to be coming over the top to get more velocity and accuracy.

All camp reports have Henson’s accuracy as lacking. No word on his velocity.

Not much was said about Romo, but does it really matter?

I expect Drew Bledsoe to play every minute of every game this year. Discounting 2001’s punctured lung as a fluke injury, he’s missed six games in his career, and three of those were as a rookie.

Not only is he extremely durable, he should be good enough to keep the backups at bay. Bledsoe would have to be an abject failure, for several weeks, before Parcells would even acknowledge there might be a problem.

There’s no reason Bledsoe shouldn’t be pretty good, other than a potentially shoddy OL. The running game should be fine, and if healthy, the receivers are good. Not great, but good.

The TE, he’s great.

Vinny Testaverde was 35 and seemingly washed up when Parcells coaxed a career year out of him in 1998 with the Jets. So at 33, it’s possible Bledsoe could do the same. He’s taken too many sacks and thrown too many interceptions lately. But he should lose less games on his own than Testaverde, and could win a lot more.

He’s probably the biggest question mark, or at least the most important question mark on this year’s team. But he’s also somewhat of a sure thing. If he has an average year, he’ll throw more TD’s than INT’s. I think this offense will suit him, and it’s more likely he’ll have an above average year than below.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Not Shocking: Gurode works with first team at Center

A few years ago I was watching a college bowl game between Colorado and Oregon. I vividly remember two things. Joey Harrington couldn’t miss, and Andre Gurode was the worst offensive lineman I’d ever seen.

I suppose I’ve seen some turnstiles, or overmatched guys who were actually worse. But this was the worst performance by a supposed great player. As they announced the lineups, Brent Musberger told me in his usual overhyped way, to “watch this guy folks!” So I did. I isolated on him because I had no real rooting interest in the game, and Brent told me to.

Gurode led the team in tackles that day. Not good when you’re an offensive guard. He didn’t move anybody in the running game, and just tackled the first guy that ran into him when they passed.

After Dallas drafted him, his glowing bio made me think perhaps he just had a bad game. His rookie year, when he played some center, he didn’t play so awful, but he wasn’t good. That was Dave Campo’s last year as head coach, and the team was a mess anyway.

He’s played at about the same level the last two years. He’s a big, strong guy, and it looks like he can run some, but it doesn’t translate. In Parcells-speak (though I never saw him speak this), he has a lot of ability, but no talent.

He can block the man over him. If he has to block on the second level, he’s a step slow or takes a poor angle. If he has to slide out in pass blocking, he doesn’t. He’s never seemed very aware.

Parcells finally benched him late last season.

Now in the first week of camp he’s working ahead of Al Johnson at center. This is shocking only to those who believe what they read in the Dallas Morning News from hacks like Jean-Jacques Taylor, who in turn believes the sugar that is dumped on him by Jerry Jones, Bill Parcells, or whatever position coach, instead of actually watching the games.

If you read the DMN last year you’d think Al Johnson was a budding Pro Bowler, and the team was happy with him. Obviously neither is true if they’re even considering Gurode at center. I remember emailing a friend after the season-closing debacle against the Giants that Al Johnson should have one of those beepers that garbage trucks have because all he did all day was get backed up into Testaverde. He’d just snap the ball and throw it in reverse without even tapping the brake.

Parcells says the best way to pressure Bledsoe is up the middle.

"They're going to try and pressure Bledsoe up the middle . . . there's no doubt about that," Parcells said of where he is anticipating defenses blitzing this year. "That's where I believe the pressure is going to come from, quite a bit. I know when I played against Drew, that's what I tried to do.

Gurode is bad, Johnson is worse. Yikes.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Cowboys to stink in 2005

I'm feeling very negative about this season, and it mostly stems from hearing and reading Bill Parcells' shtick. There are very few men I'd rather have coaching the Cowboys than Parcells, but I'm sick of his act. I'd rather he coach 'em up and shut up.

Hearing him play the media and talk about himself took me back to last year when he botched... well, last year.

"The draft choices, there is always a learning curve. But in my experience there are some positions (defensive line and running back) where we are trying to integrate new players which require less mental awareness and a little more physical abilities. So you can expect something there."


Unless it's Reshard Lee in 2004 and Parcells refused to play him saying he didn't know the playbook. What Parcells says, means, and does, are often different things.

Talking about Bledsoe, he said he had no choice in 2003 but to be conservative and run 35 times, implying Quincy Carter couldn't win a game with his arm. Except maybe the Panthers game, when Parcells, who calls the plays, kept calling for passes to seal the game in the 4th quarter. After which he made his famous tear-eyed "they can't call you losers any more" speech.

Or talking about learning from last year, when he continued to force things with Testaverde.

"But we just absolutely have to improve our team in many areas . . . I just feel like, this was a retrospective view, certainly, there would have been a better way to go. It might not have been ecstatically pleasing but it probably would have turned out a little better if I had done it."
Ya think? I don't want to hear about Bill Parcells learning things. He is Bill Freaking Parcells. It's like what Harv Keitel tells Matt McConaughey in U-571, "don't ever say you don't know. Skipper always knows." It shouldn't take an offseason to figure out you're doing the wrong things.