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 12, 2005

Uncoordinated offense

The Cowboys have no offensive coordinator. It would be too easy to just go from there and say their offense is uncoordinated, but there’s more to it.

The passing game coordinator is Sean Payton. So first of all, yecchh.

The running game coordinator is OL coach Tony Sparano. No idea what kind of coach he is. He was TE coach last year. The running game coordinator the two previous years was Maurice Carthon.

The plays are called by Parcells.

If any coach other than Parcells had this setup, the press would bury him.

It doesn’t mean the offense can’t succeed, it’s just uncoordinated. For two years, the Dallas offense has consistently lacked flow, or rhythm. It’s lacked an identity, but that may have more to do with the shifting personnel.

Parcells said the other day that he doesn’t want any voices shouted down in the offensive meeting room. He said didn’t want a dictator.

He doesn’t seem to have a problem with having a defensive coordinator, but whatever.

Is an offensive coordinator necessary? Maybe not. The early 90’s Cowboys only had five different running plays. And the passing game was very much a ‘line ‘em up and out-execute the opposition’s scheme, particularly after Zampese became coordinator.

God, I hated Zampese. It was at the end of his tenure when Cowboys players said the ny Giants were calling out the pass patterns before the ball was snapped. Felipe Alou could have coordinated that offense.

But if there is any level of sophistication to your offense, I think it should have a coordinator, and he should call the plays. I can only hope that Sparano scouts the opposition and submits or suggests plays that will work well against that opposition when the game plan is being installed each week. I assume Payton does the same with the passing game.

What you end up with is a Dan Reeves style offense, where you have a bunch of plays at your disposal, filed by down and distance. I don’t know any more about Reeves’ offenses than that, but that’s what he had. What I think was left unsaid is that there is then a certain randomness to the play calling.

You have 20 plays for 2nd and 5. Second and five comes up in the game. Pick a play. Next time pick a different one. Next time, a different one. Perhaps in the 2nd half you come back to one that worked well, maybe from a different formation.

It’s possible, but not likely given what they’ve done the last two years, that there is a rhyme or reason to the pattern of plays. Or maybe there really is no pattern. Maybe they’re just plays.

Without the coordinator/coordination, the offense seems to lack the set up. Using one play to set up the next. Or one play to set up a later, bigger play.

I’ll admit it – like Jim Mora said, I don’t… know. Maybe there’s a play progression I just don’t see. I don’t go to their meetings. I don’t really know what they’re trying to do.

I really don’t.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Thin with fat guys: Offensive line

What could be a strength, and what some think will be a strength, will probably be an abysmal failure. The Cowboys OL could be good at best, or really, really terrible.

It can only be good if five things break right. There’s a better chance all five break bad, and a very good chance at least one or more of them will:

  1. LT Flozell Adams. He really wasn’t very good last year, after playing at Pro Bowl level in 2003. What makes anyone think last year was the aberration? He’s always had the talent, but after 7 years in the league, only one of them has been really good. THAT was the aberration. I think this breaks evenly or slightly badly.
  1. LG Larry Allen. Suspect conditioning. Clearly unmotivated. Still effective, but hardly the player he was in the 90’s. He’s getting by on muscle memory and a huge body. I think this breaks evenly. He’s a good player, but I don’t think he suddenly decides he wants to be the best in the game again.
  1. C Andre Gurode/Al Johnson. I covered this already. If Johnson was anything, his job wouldn’t be up for grabs with a plug like Gurode. I don’t see how this breaks well.
  1. RG Marco Rivera. Coming off back surgery, he’s still probably the surest thing on the OL. He’ll probably be a good solid player, but doubt creeps in like this: he gets outmuscled a lot, and the coaching staff says he’s “still regaining strength in his back.” Which I will translate as, “his back is shot and he’ll never be the player he was.” 80-20 this breaks well.
  1. RT Jacob Rogers. Just had an MRI on the shoulder that was operated on in the offseason. He’s had three shoulder operations dating back to high school. He’s only played a handful of special teams plays in the NFL. If this breaks evenly it will be like breaking huge.

If Rogers gets hurt, the roulette wheel starts spinning. Larry Allen probably goes to RT, with Steve Peterman playing LG. That might not be the worst thing to happen. Or perhaps Vollers plays RT with Peterman going in for Rivera when his back gives out.

Barring injury elsewhere on the line, the key is Adams. If he plays well, the running and passing game have a chance to do some damage. If he’s inconsistent, that’s what the offense will be too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The band the NFL should have hired

I would have just replied to my post about the Rolling Stones below, but this deserves its own post. Have you seen the bizarre Burger King commercials with the Slipknot-wannabe chicken head wearing hardcore band singing about BK's new chicken fries?

Well, they've gone over the top with it, and, umm... I'm lovin' it.

Coq Roq

Coq (French for chicken) Roq, that's the name of the band. You can download their music and get the lyrics to these commercials.

Here I come a heat-seeking missile
Breaking out with a burning sizzle
I walk the walk, I talk the talk
You'll be mine, bawk bawk, bagawwwwkkk!
I've got goosebumps.

Not only should the NFL hire this band, they should hire the marketing firm that came up with the campaign.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Rolling Stones, MNF, NFL: WTF?

How does this happen -- All but one of the Ramones are dead, but all but one of the Rolling Stones are still alive. That's just not right.

Now the Stones are teaming with the NFL and ABC to provide "electrifying performances and state-of-the-art stage production."

Ffft. Shyeah.

Who...? What...what the...? Who listens to the Rolling freaking Stones any more?

Who is the musical advisor to the NFL? This is like the Super Bowl halftime shows with acts that haven't been popular in at least a decade. Must be they couldn't find another Boston band. I think Aerosmith was last year's Kickoff band. Must be The Cars were busy or couldn't stomach each other for a reunion. Or, I don't know, maybe Ric Ocasek is dead too.

Come on Tagliabue, pick up a Dropkick Murphy's CD for chrissakes.

Peter King Non-Sequitur of the Day

g. Thank the Lord for the Kansas City Royals.
I get this one. To understand this one, you have to know Pete is a Red Sox fan. Then you have to know the Royals just swept the Yankees.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Glimmer of Hope: Roy Williams

From Saturday’s scrimmage report:

Williams drew a loud reaction from the crowd with a hit on running back Anthony Thomas. Williams, sometimes lining up in the box, later tackled Jones in the backfield for a five-yard loss.

"I love these new schemes," he said. "Man, I'm in the mix. I can't complain at all. I'm down there where I want to be and we're gonna make some things happen."

Not counting any potential surprise rookie, Roy Williams is the only bonafide playmaker on the Cowboys defense. He didn’t make many plays last year, but he was wasted as a free safety. This year he’ll be SS full time, and that means he’ll be near the line of scrimmage all the time.

Dude, please, make some things happen.

I think Williams is already better than Darren Woodson ever was. Neither was much in coverage, but Williams, when given the opportunity, has already shown he can blitz, and has more size and speed than Woodson did.

When I daydream defensive plays, a lot of them end with Williams shooting a gap and sticking Tiki Barber for a four yard loss. I don’t daydream that as often as daydreaming winning the lottery, but I daydream plays sometimes.

The NY Daily News is reporting that Dallas has contacted at least three teams looking for free safety help. That makes me a little queasy. I’ve never cared for Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer, and I’m afraid he’ll move Willams back there at least part time, under the guise of getting guys lined up in the right spot or some other cockamamie excuse about making the defensive calls.