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.

Thursday, September 01, 2005's Doc Z says 10-6 for Dallas

I didn't read his whole picks explanation, number one, because it took me so long to copy it into a text editor because of each division being on a separate page. That, making single items into multi-pages so we can presumably see more ads, may be the beginning of the end of this internet craze.

2. COWBOYS (10-6 (and wildcard))
In 2004 Vinny Testaverde was sacked 34 times. That's a good statistic, because the number is right around the league average and Vinny, as we know, was a lot slower than the average quarterback. Can the line set up a wall for Drew Bledsoe, who likes to hold the ball? I think so, and that, of course, is the issue, because the Cowboys' defense will be active and opportunistic and will force turnovers.

We know that Vin was a lot slower than average? I bet he wasn't, by any measure you can take.

He thinks the line can set up a wall for Bledsoe? Based on what? I guess with 32 teams to write about, this kind of superficial analysis should be expected. I'm not going to say he's wrong, but he doesn't... know. He can't know. They have possibly three new starters, and the only clear presumed upgrade (Marco Riviera at RG) had back surgery in the offseason and didn't look real good to me in the one game he played, and hasn't played the last two preseason games because of a hammy.

But finally, this is a straight up crock: "The defense will be active" -- I'd take him to task just for saying that. I mean, if I said that, what would he say? "I doubt the whole defense would be inactive on game day, so you're probably right." But the "and force turnovers"? He must have seen DeMarcus Ware's good game against Seattle, because Dallas hasn't forced turnovers since the mid-90's. They're switching from 4-3 to 3-4, and will have some new starters, but I think they're going to have to prove they'll force turnovers before being expected to.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Interest in Peer Price

Dallas is looking into signing Peerless Price, according to their website.

Jerry Jones says they're looking into it, Parcells says he thinks Price is a pretty good player, but no visit is planned, and they would have to visit in order to sign him according to Jones.

Translation: Price thinks he can still get a lot of money, more than Dallas is willing to pay. If Price can't find the dough in the next couple days, Jones wants Price to call him.

At the right price, Price could be a nice pickup. He might be a malcontent, he might think he's better than he really is, I don't know. I know Mike Vick hasn't been a consistent passer, so Price could have a big year with the right team. A team willing to make him part of the offense, and throw him the ball down the field. I think Dallas would do that, but I think somebody will pay Price more than Dallas is willing to.

The myth of the change of pace back

Hot position battle #2 is the backup RB. Julius Jones looks like a star. Regardless of any promise the backup candidates have shown, it probably doesn’t matter. Any of them might be serviceable. But I’m afraid if Julius goes down, Parcells will play his “I can’t trust these guys” card and have Bledsoe throw too much. Like last year.

Parcells has stated a desire for a “change of pace back.” Probably because “change of pace back” has become a cliché, and the media loves the idea. Let’s see, Julius Jones is fast and powerful. What exactly is the change of pace from that? Do we really need a slow runner that can’t break tackles?

A less obvious variation that means the same thing is “complimentary.” We need a back to complement the starting tailback. Unless this means a back that tells the starter he’s a handsome man every day, I don’t get the need, if you have a back that pretty much does it all.

Emmitt was fast, powerful, and could catch. What’s his ideal backup? I’m asking, for real. There is a right answer.

The right answer to complement Emmitt was… another fast, powerful back that could catch. They never really had one of any lasting quality. Chris Warren was probably the best of the backups during Emmitt’s time. Otherwise it was the plodding Lincoln Kennedy or quick, small, drugged out Sherman Williams.

Thankfully, Parcells has also said that when it comes to Julius’s backup, he has to look at “what if Julius goes down?” If you’ve got a change of pace guy, who probably is one-dimensional, that becomes the pace, and you’re back to looking for someone who can do it all, or at least do most things well.

Finally, Parcells wants backups that contribute on special teams. So, he wants a change of pace back that can fill in for Julius for an extended period if needed and plays special teams.

The Canidates:

Tony Thomas looks kind of plodding. Not Ed George plodding, but, umm, Ed George plodding when Ed was good. He wasn’t paid a fortune to come to Dallas, so I don’t think he’ll stick just because he was a free agent signee. Like in Chicago, he seems to have gotten the “can’t catch” label. But as far as I know, he hasn’t been a fumbler.

Marion Barber III fumbled in a game, and drew Parcells’ wrath for fumbling twice during camp. He missed the Houston game with a foot infection. He hasn’t looked special, but hasn’t looked bad at all. He was a 4th round pick, though that may have been too high, and I think if he were cut, he’d have good chance to clear waivers and be signed to the practice squad, but I kind of doubt they’ll do that.

Tyson Thompson was undrafted, but has been the most impressive of the three. He’s shown blazing speed and against Houston he was a willing inside runner.

I think they keep all three, and FB Lousaka Polite. I think the noise about keeping four TE’s is just that, noise. None but Witten have caught a pass, and either Sean Ryan or Brett Pierce would likely clear and make the practice squad. I’d rather risk losing one of them than one of the RB’s.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Who’s the backup? Who cares. It’s the starter, stupid

Yawn. Dallas beat Houston 21-9 a few days ago. The offense looked inconsistent, the defense didn’t look as good as Houston’s offense looked bad. Tell me again why Dave Carr is the Next Big Thing? He had a couple passes dropped, but he wasn’t sharp, especially on anything over five yards. It was only half a game, but it was a pretty lousy half.

But in Dallas, the rage in the press, fueled I suppose by the Cowboys website, are these HOT position battles. The most important thing in the world is apparently who will back up Drew Bledsoe.

Actually, it’s not even that. It’s that Tony Romo is the backup, but Parcells refuses to say it. It’s as if when, or if ever, Bill Parcells says, “Tony Romo is the #2,” church bells will ring and regular programming will be interrupted to report the non-news.

Cowboys Roundup has this covered, and so did I a while back. Bledsoe will play until he has a debilitating injury or the end of the season. So how’s he looking?

Not real good. Better with each week though, and I can only hope the passing game has been conservative by design. I think it has, based mostly on the lack of balls thrown Keyshawn’s way. I really don’t think they’ve worked the middle of the field or the bread and butter intermediate routes.

Instead we’ve been treated to a steady diet of the impossible screen pass, and short stuff to Witten. All the QB’s have found Patrick Crayton down the field.

Point is I have no idea how Bledsoe’s doing. The OL was pitiful against Arizona and he had no chance. He was pedestrian against Seattle. And his final numbers against Houston were solid, though a lot of it came on one 80-yard drive. If the offense has been limited, I’d grade him a B. If they’ve really been trying, a C.