Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Panicking? Trust me, you're not alone
By Ben Rogers
The Cowboys did very little to instill confidence during the preseason. If you’re a Cowboys fan and you’ve got a fresh pot of panic brewing, you’re not alone. Pour a cup and find out what is pushing my panic button.
It’s all on the line
Last season ended with Tony Romo running for his life in Minnesota. This season has all of the warning signs to suggest that it might start the exact same way.
Kyle Kosier is the best offensive lineman on the roster, and it looks as if he’ll be watching from the sideline as the season opens. That’s a bigger issue than many realize.
Even if this vastly underperforming unit wasn’t dealing with injuries to Kosier and Marc Colombo, it would still be on triple-secret probation. But when your ability to be effective offensively lies in the hands of guys like Montrae Holland and Alex Barron, you better keep your punter loose.
The Cowboys appear to be fairly loaded at the skill positions. But without solid offensive line play, that’s a bit like having a Ferrari without an engine in it. Ultimately, if this team fails, it will be because the offensive line couldn’t consistently create running lanes or give Romo enough time in the pocket.
Is Jerry’s wallet running on fumes?
Trading Patrick Crayton was a massive mistake in my book. Don’t even try to make a case that it was a football decision. It was purely financial.
Will Kevin Ogletree be able to replace some of the production lost when Patrick Crayton was traded?
Miles Austin, as good as he is, had a lackluster camp and has just one good season under his belt. Roy Williams and his quarterback somehow remain on different pages. Dez Bryant missed every preseason game on the heels of missing most of his final season at Oklahoma State, and he’s coming back from a high ankle sprain. I hear whispers that Kevin Ogletree, although promising, has his hands full with the playbook and may already be battling a mild case of entitlement. Sam Hurd is on this roster because he covers kicks.
Crayton wasn’t going to blow your mind this season as a Cowboy. But in a group full of question marks, you knew exactly what you were going to get with Crayton. There was considerable value in that.
I find it hard to believe that the experts at Valley Ranch saw things any differently. Which ultimately means that even though the Crayton trade could hurt the Cowboys on the field, it will help Jerry in the wallet, which tells you all you need to know about Jerry’s funds.
You can file the release of Flozell Adams in a similar coupon clippings envelope. Initially I was in denial about this one. But in hindsight, this was one of the first financially motivated maneuvers up Jerry’s sleeve. Maybe Doug Free would have beaten him out anyway, but in an uncapped year, why not let it play out?
Free agents had no reason to visit Valley Ranch. Jerry wasn’t buying.
The Cowboys played an extra preseason game, which brought in more cash but gassed the football team. They bounced between two training camp locations, which brought in more cash but hurt the football team in terms of mental fatigue.
Maybe it’s because of the giant expense of the greatest stadium on Earth or perhaps fear of a football-less 2011, but either way to see Jerry pinching pennies is something I never anticipated seeing.
I’d try to reach Jerry for comment but I fear that he’d spend the whole time trying to sell me a Manny Pacquiao poster. I just can’t risk it.
A preseason of discontent
It’s hard to find many bright spots from what we just watched unfold over the past several weeks. Outside of fantastic showings from Mat McBriar and David Buehler, what is this team hanging its preseason hat on?
John Phillips was looking great. Bam. Out for the season. See ya later, intriguing three-tight end set.
Bryant was looking unstoppable. Bam. Out for the preseason. Hopes of Bryant hitting the season opener in full stride were lost.
I don’t care about the win-loss record in preseason. But I do place importance on an offense finding some semblance of a rhythm. Obviously that never happened. In addition, I watched a Cowboys defense that I expect to be very good get carved up like a Christmas ham a few times.
So what do we make of this mess? Was it just an attack of vanilla game preparation as Wade & Co. would lead you to believe? Or was it all the result of a tired, jet-lagged team weary from Jerry’s marathon training camp promotional tour? Or maybe this just isn’t as good of a football team as most of us have been giving it credit for being.
Very soon the answers to these questions will become blatantly obvious. Perhaps the preseason does indeed mean nothing and the Cowboys will go on to have a wonderful season. It’s also possible that we’ll soon be able to look back on this dreadful preseason as being an undeniable sample of what was about to take place during the regular season.
Until these answers start rolling in, please feel free to panic at your own discretion.