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Cowboys vs. Jaguars Post-Film Study Review: Looking to the Future | The DC Times

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Cowboys vs. Jaguars Post-Film Study Review: Looking to the Future

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Jonathan Bales

I didn’t post initial reactions after the Cowboys’ Week 8 loss to Jacksonville because there simply wasn’t much to be said.  I did spend all morning and early afternoon breaking down the film, though, and here are my findings. . .

  • Jon Kitna played well in the first half.  I know it’s difficult to support a quarterback who threw four interceptions, but the first two were not on Kitna.  I’ve heard others argue that the third one wasn’t Kitna’s fault either since Roy Williams got a hand on it, but that ball was thrown way too far behind Williams.  There aren’t many receivers in the league who will make that grab.
  • The play-calling was incredibly basic.  I heard the Monday night crew last week claim that Jason Garrett uses his history as a backup quarterback to aid him in calling plays for Kitna.  He said that he focuses more on Kitna’s strengths than trying to execute the same type of game plan the team would use if Tony Romo was healthy.
  • Part of that basic play-calling has involved the return of “Double Tight Strong.”  You’ll remember the Cowboys ran this formation 116 times last season, calling the same strong side dive play 83 of those plays.  Unfortunately, Garrett thought the two plays on the Jaguars’ one-yard line just before halftime were a good place and time to run the strong side dive from “Double Tight Strong.”  He was wrong, and the Cowboys got stopped twice in a row.
  • The Cowboys ran eight red zone plays against Jacksonville: three runs for one yard and a touchdown, and five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.  Here is a breakdown of the Cowboys’ red zone play-calling thus far in 2010:

You can see the Cowboys have found a lot more success through the air in the red zone than on the ground.  Of their five passes inside the five-yard line, four have gone for touchdowns.  They’re also averaging nearly six-yards-per-pass and have scored three touchdowns when passing between the opponent’s 10 and 20-yard line.  Those numbers aren’t extraordinary, but remember the upside of all plays is severely limited in the red zone.

Courtesy of AdvancedNFLStats.com

Meanwhile, Dallas is averaging just over two yards-per-carry on red zone runs.  They’ve punched it into the end zone just twice on runs, both from the one-yard line.

I’ve actually liked Garrett’s red zone play-calling in 2010 (for the most part).  He’s obviously (probably unknowingly) trying to complete a lot of the goals I laid out for the offense in my preseason analysis of red zone success.  One of those goals was to run more inside the 10-yard line and pass more outside of it (particularly on 1st down), and that’s just what Garrett is doing.  You can see the Cowboys’ run/pass ratio inside the opponent’s 10-yard line is 8:5, but just around 2:3 between the 10 and 20-yard lines.

I think this is evidence that Garrett is using statistical analysis much more in 2010 than any previous season as an offensive coordinator.

  • The Cowboys lined up in the same personnel package (one tight end, three receivers, and a running back) on the last 29 plays (minus the final kneel down).
  • Despite evidence that Jon Kitna is more productive under center than in Shotgun, the Cowboys lined up in Shotgun on 51 of their 72 offensive plays.  A lot of that had to do with game situation, of course.
  • 11 of the Cowboys’ first 22 plays used motion, but only two of the final 50 did the same.  The Cowboys gained 56 yards on their 13 total plays which used pre-snap motion.
  • The Cowboys ran six draws for 20 yards and a touchdown, and just one counter for nine yards.  I realize the chances of a negative play increase on counters, but Dallas is running them at a lower rate than in 2009–a year when Felix Jones gained 220 yards on 22 counters.
  • Dallas ran a playaction pass only three times all game, and they went for a total of 27 yards.  One was picked off.
  • I counted seven passes as being ‘off-target’ for Kitna.  Considering he threw 49 times, that really isn’t too bad.  The problem was his poor throws were really poor.  He’ll make better decision going forward as he becomes more comfortable in the offense.
  • I credited Phil Costa and Leonard Davis as yielding the two sacks.  Costa had an average day at best, which is to be expected from the undrafted rookie.  He got fooled with rare Jacksonville twists, which was what the Jags ran on the play Costa gave up a sack.  Still, he played no worse than Davis, who has really gone downhill in the last 14 months.
  • The Jaguars blitzed an incredibly low three times all game.  They obviously thought Kitna couldn’t continually beat them underneath, or else they wanted to force the Cowboys to prove they can run the ball (or both).  Kitna also beat the Jags on two blitzes early in the game (for 45 total yards), which may have cause Jacksonville to simply sit back in safe coverages.  Overall, it was almost like watching a preseason game for the last three quarters.
  • The players have a sense of entitlement and find it to be enough to “do their jobs” instead of going beyond the call of duty.  When I watch the film, there aren’t usually a ton of plays on which you can point out a guy and say, “Yeah, that one was his fault.”  The Cowboys are simply playing horribly as a team, and someone needs to step up and make a play.
  • That sense of entitlement stems from the head coach.  The fact that Marion Barber is still starting shows that the coaching staff isn’t concerned about putting the best players on the football field.  The justification that Barber “provides something special” as a starter is ludicrous.  His presence at the start of football games means nothing to the Cowboys, aside from the fact that the worst tailback on their roster is in the game.  How can the players reasonably be expected to buy into the coaches’ schemes when they see the coaches giving starting spots to players simply because they’ve started in the past?  Where is the motivation to progress both as individual players and as a team?
  • Alan Ball led the Cowboys in tackles with seven.  When your free safety leads the team in tackles, particularly in the sort of defense Dallas runs, it is a big problem.
  • Below, I have created a list of players the Cowboys need to at least take a look at replacing in the offseason.  Now obviously not all of these players will be gone, but all of them have significantly underperformed.  The number behind their name is a rating of the urgency with which a change must be made (out of 10).  I also disregarded the obvious choices, such as Alex Barron.

Players who could (perhaps should) be out in 2011

FS Alan Ball (7): Zero play-making ability or instincts.  I know he’s limited in this scheme, but he’s been sub-par.

RB Marion Barber (10): He will probably get cut, which is the right move.

DE Stephen Bowen (5): Bowen is going to be a free agent, and it will be interesting to see how Dallas proceeds.

LB Keith Brooking (10): His leadership and on-field play last year were a big boost to the ‘Boys, but now it’s clear he regressed way too much to justify keeping him on the roster.

K David Buehler (7): Who knows how he will progress in the offseason, but the most important aspect of his game is kickoffs.

RT Marc Colombo (9): I have an eery feeling that Colombo will begin 2011 as a starter for the Cowboys, but he’s one of the worst starters in the league at this point.

RG Leonard Davis (8): Colombo has been worse in my opinion, but Davis’ big salary and poor play could have him on the outs.

C Andre Gurode (6): I think he still has one more year left in him as a decent center, but the Cowboys have to look for his replacement ASAP.

DE Jason Hatcher (5): I thought he’d have a breakout season, but there just hasn’t been any progress.

DE Igor Olshansky (9): He’s been awful in 2010, and after last week’s celebration fiasco, I don’t think he deserves to be a Cowboy.

CB Orlando Scandrick (4): I only give Scandrick a ‘4’ because I think he still deserves a roster spot, but the Cowboys should look at making him the dime cornerback.

S Gerald Sensabaugh (7): Will Sensabaugh be in Dallas next season?  I don’t think so, but who will replace him?  The Cowboys need to see what they have in Danny McCray and Barry Church.

WR Roy Williams (8): I know he’s been solid this season, but he’s really just a progress-stopper with Dez Bryant behind him.

TE Jason Witten (1): Let me be clear. . .in NO way do I think the Cowboys should get rid of Witten.  But I do think he’s on the field a little too much (particularly in obvious passing situations–unless he’s used in pass protection).  Martellus Bennett needs a few more opportunities.

Players who need more playing time in 2010

TE Martellus Bennett
DT Josh Brent
WR Dez Bryant
OLB Victor Butler
RB Tashard Choice
S Barry Church
C/G Phil Costa
LB Sean Lee
S Danny McCray
FS Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
LB Jason Williams
RT Sam Young

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22 Responses to Cowboys vs. Jaguars Post-Film Study Review: Looking to the Future

  1. Omar says:

    Dez needs more PT, but I want to keep Roy this year unless they can find a trading partner for him. I agree with you on those should be gone. Scorched earth on the aging veterans. Fire Wade and see what you have in JG. There’s going to be quite a few big name coaches who have great resumes available, along with a few up and coming prospects. They should use the remainder of 2010 to see what they have in Garrett with this class of head coaches available.

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Now this is the ARTICLE I’ve been waiting for.

    I read your previous one about the 5 good things about being 1-6 and would agree w/ each of them except for you didn’t address who will (or better yet, will not) be coaching the Boys next year.

    Honestly, after looking at the myriad of issues the Boys have shown this year (actually, past few years) you can narrow the issues down to a few root problems. Lack of discipline is a coaching thing. Simply put, it’s coaching. When you allow your players and/or coaches to do certain things and don’t make them repeat an error until corrected is the coaches fault. The Cowboys have lost games on lack of discipline.

    Scheme is an issue as well. Do anyone remember Flozell Adams? He was cut after seemingly underachieving. How’s Flozell doing now (in Pittsburgh)? He’s a RT that is grading out w/ the best in the leauge. There are several others who were cut (Hamlin, Amendola, Saivii, etc.) that went to other teams and have thrived. I think there have been more than a few players who have ability that appear not to because they’re asked to do too much within the scheme or are relied upon to do something they just cant (but can do other things well). Keith Brooking is struggling this year, no doubt, but part of it is due to scheme.

    Those are the main issues – the play of the Boys are just results or symptoms of the real problems.

    So, you gotta make a move in the leadership. The laid back approach of Wade Phillips works with teams that are well established, are self-discipline and dont’ require much by way of encouragement/motivation. The Boys used to be motivated but aren’t any longer. And, we’ve already highlighted the lack of discipline.

    So, Wade and probably Jason G has to go.

    Where’s that article?

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Also, Scandrick should be lower (like 6 or 7) on the list. Everytime he’s in the game, he’s targeted and is usually unsuccesful in covering. I’d be interested in the # of times the opposing team has a 3 WR set on 3rd down and complete it using the receiver being covered by Scandrick.

    Overall, I think more consideration should be given to just outright CUTTING some players and signing more from various practice squads around the league. Cutting MBIII will allow him to travel through waivers – I doubt he’d get past Buffalo but certainly would be of interest to the Colts, Saints, Seawhawks, Cardinals and Broncos. Cutting him is actually doing him a favor as he’ll be guaranteed his salary but might have a chance to play for a team that has a hope for the playoffs. Same thing w/ Leonard Davis and Keith Brooking. They are old and aren’t part of the plans for the future.

  4. Omar–I don’t think JG is ready. I see your logic and perhaps it couldn’t hurt to fire Wade now, but then you’re left with no D-Coordinator and if you know Garrett isn’t the guy, why even try?

  5. Tyrone..you’ll get the article on my thoughts about the coaching situation by the end of the week. And I don’t think now is the time to cut Davis or Brooking. Sit them perhaps, but I think Davis could still be in Dallas in 2011. Plus, who are you really going to play ahead of him? Costa is already in, and I think the Cowboys pretty much know what Holland gives them.

  6. JJ says:


    Still the one place I can do without reading ridiculous comments such as “Nolan Ryan should buy the team.”

    Nevertheless, I agree almost entirely with your list. My assessment is that the OLine needs a complete overhaul. Keeping Kosier and Gurode for next year may be fine but within 2 years even they are probably washed up. I wrote that they should play Sam Young instead of Colombo and I don’t understand why they have not yet. I think EVERYONE sees the OLine issues and that we really don’t have a solid RB but would like to see what Choice can do. I don’t think Felix is Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson but he has a chance to be a decent change of pace back. He’s not an every down guy. They reached for him not because they missed but they over rated Barber thinking he was more than he is.

    My issue is the defense. We are very weak at ILB. Have no safeties. Our DEs get no pressure on and Newman is aging quickly. Add in the fact that Ratliff, Ware, Spencer and Jenkins are playing average at best…it’s just a bad defense.
    I don’t know that the Cowboys have any well rounded starting quality DEs on their roster. Igor and Spears are great 1st down run stoppers but then what? At ILB, James and Brooking are awful in space and cannot seem to ever work a blitz. I agree that Scandrick is a 4th corner but I’m not sour on our kicker. He was the biggest issue everyone had going into the season and he’s our best special teams tackler.

    Ultimately, I don’t know that an interim coach would work but I’m all for getting rid of Wade. I’m tired of his act. Let Jason coach. What’s the worst that can happen? Really. If he has any head coaching ability, let’s see it. As for the defense, let coach Paul run the D. He, at least by all accounts, is a stickler for detail. When/If Jerry cleans house at season’s end and even tries to keep certain coaches on the staff, it will be a disaster. That being said, let Coach P and Red audition for their next jobs. How could it be worse than we have now? At least we may not hear, “they never quit and never stopped working.”

    I did not realize how much the poor 09 draft has affected this team but if Hodge, Williams, Williams, Butler, any of the DBs drafted, Brewster, etc. risen to be a player, perhaps, things would not be so bad. The Cowboys have been the best with a real presence at the helm (Landry, Johnson and even Parcells helped rebuild the talent here)…it’s time to create that legacy again.

  7. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    From what I understand of how each team’s practice squad works, it’s the 8 players that fill out the roster to 53. Every team has one – most have skill position players (WRs, HBs, DBs, QBs, etc.) but there are some w/ OLs. We should be evaluating their capability to play in the NFL. We can sign players from any team’s practice squad – players have been signed off or the Cowboys’ many times.

    Let’s look to the future everywhere.

  8. JJ–Your Nolan Ryan comment made me laugh. I haven’t heard that one but I wish I did now. I agree with your assessment. One point you bring up that I initially overlooked is the lack of pressure from our DEs. I understand DE in a 3-4 is a glorified defensive tackle, but their inability to get any pressure is killing this defense. Offenses can focus on stopping Ware and Spencer, forcing Phillips to send the ILB after the QB wayyy too much this season, and we’ve seen how that has worked out. Even Bowen and Hatcher, the “pass-rush” guys, have done next to nothing. It sure would be nice to have a DE who isn’t so specialized and can create havoc like Ratliff inside.

  9. Tyrone..you’re right, but remember these squads aren’t loaded with talent. I’m sure there are a few gems out there, but each team’s practice squad consists of players the other 31 teams haven’t wanted to sign (and give up a roster spot). While I do think everyone (including myself) may have overestimated the talent on the roster, it isn’t like the team is below average in talent (or even average). This season has simply been a perfect storm of problems (led by the coaching IMO), and so everything looks much worse than what it really is.

  10. Omar says:

    Jonathan, well the season’s a lost cause…you may as well see what you got in JG. I mean, is there really any point in rallying to .500? What so they don’t get Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara in the draft? I’d just see what JG’s got in him, and what the team has in the young guys. You’ve got a season that’s a lost cause within the first seven games, they have nine regular season games left and they can use that to see who can make the cut next season, both on the field and on the sidelines.

  11. moses says:

    This team needs focus.
    The owner has put up with an average GM (at best) for too long.
    Look at the successful teams in the league, the Patriots, Ravens, Indy, …
    They all seem to have a strong GM that have a vision for the team. The GM brings in his coach and his philosophy. He runs the show. There is consistency and continuity for the team.
    The Patriots are always replenishing their roster so that when a starter leaves in free agency they have an adequate backup.
    I think we all overlook the importance of a competent GM. It is a lot more than simply finding the best players. It is finding the players that can contribute in your system. They don’t have to be the best players in the league, but a player that can function in the system.

  12. craig kocay says:

    It seems to me this discussion has turned to “what are some drastic measures we can make because obviously everything is awful?”
    I dont think everything is awful. Not at all. I think that we have gotten unlucky a few times. The fact that we have only lost by a possession or less in every loss but the last one (which just looked like giving up), tells us that we are not truly as bad as other teams who have owned our record. One play here or a play there in four of the games and we could be 5-2 talking about how we should resign guy x before the year runs out.

    I am not say changes should not be made (I have many I would love to see). What I am saying is that just because a piece is broken (I too believe to be coaching and a aging non cohesive offensive line, and possibly a non cohesive secondary* ill get back to this point) does not mean we should scrap the entire machine. While it is obvious some players will be gone we should not look to wildly change the makup of the team.

    We have talent. The fact that other teams grab players off our practice squad and plugs them into starting roles is proof of this (logic being: if they were more talented than our backups presumably they would be on the roster not the practice squad). We dont need to raid other practice squads if our backups are more talented than them. I am sure the organization did not just overlook the thought of “hey should we consider finding players passed on by other teams?”

    The fact that other organizations have gotten more out of our practice players than some of our starters looks to me like our coaching/management staff is not getting the most out of our players (whether it be poor training or lack of motivation.)

    In short we have talent. Dont scrap everyone. I honestly think with a new coach and swapping out of 4 players and this team could win the SB next year.

    *on a side note, could it be fathomable that the secondary’s weak play lately has been due to lack of trust and communication (something Hamlin excelled in)?

  13. Omar–I see your thought, but I’d probably like to see a OG or OT before a CB.

    Moses–I don’t actually think JJ is that bad of a GM, although I do think your idea that he lacks focus is somewhat true. I actually think he has a good eye for talent. He compiled a large majority of this current roster which, contrary to popular belief right now, is very talented. Your point that you don’t need all that talent, just players that function well together, is well-received here.

    Craig–If you read my post a few weeks ago on while the Cowboys would still make the playoffs (woops!), you’ll see I agree with you on the talent. What do you think of Moses’ point that the players simply don’t fit well together or aren’t designed for a specific system? And I think a big reason for the secondary’s poor play has been a lack of pressure…it’s difficult to cover someone for five seconds. I wouldn’t rule out the Hamlin idea, but I haven’t seen too many players out of position (with the exception of a play or two). Perhaps a scheme change is what this defense needs (not a TOTAL scheme change, but rather more of a shift in philosophy).

  14. john coleman says:

    Good article and good comments as well. At this point almost anything any of us say is valid. First off it is time for a change for sure. We need to see who is going to be an asset for next year. In Wade’s case, I see no scenario where he could help next year. Barring 9-0 the rest of the way and a deep playoff run he is toast. I’m for him being toast now. Move JG to the head and let Sherman help with the offense. Let Pasquolani be the D coordinator. Let me also say that I think Wade Phillips probably is a high quality human being. However, his coaching track record is almost a mirror image at all his stops. I made a list last night of who I would cut/keep and it was in the 13 to 14 player range. Curiously enough you came up with the same number. I was keeping Spears and one other (not Olshansky) of the DEs. I’m for keeping Ratliff and Brent. I would keep all of the current OLBs and ILBs except Brooking and L.Williams. The DBs are in trouble. I would keep Newman and Jenkins and the rest of the starters are toast. That means I’m saying Scandrick, Ball, and Sensabaugh are gone. So that’s 7 so far. I will stand pat for now with the kicker, punter and LS. Now comes the good part! On the oline I would clean house except for Free. So that’s Kosier, Gurode, Davis, and Columbo gone. Barron is history as well. Finally, at the skill positions I would cut Barber and Roy W. I think that gets me to 14. I think we have 7 picks as of now for next year, with a possible conditional 8th, which is doubtful as of now. So we will need to find 7 players from free agency, the practice squad, and UDFAs. Costa would be my starting center as of now. Young would be my RT or swing backup. Holland would be a starter or swing backup at guard. We have Bright and Brewster on the practice squad who are or should be guards. I don’t think Bright sticks next year, but I think Brewster can be a good guard if he starts to work there now. I’m not saying he needs to be a starter now. Just working solely as a guard. I’m also hoping that Teddy Williams and McCann can step in next year. We might have to pick up a safety in free agency. Although the hope would be that Ansah, McCray, and Church would fit the bill. I know by now you think I’m crazy, but hang on. We stand to draft much higher than anticipated at the start of the season. So here goes the plan. I’m liking Derek Sherrod, OT, Miss. St, early to mid 1st round. I like DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas later in the round to early 2nd. Sherrod is more of a LT and Love could play RT or guard. If it is Sherrod I would move Free back to RT. The 2nd rd we could pick up anybody at any position of need. 3rd rd – 4th rd you have Danny Watkins(Baylor), Marcus Gilbert(Florida), Chris Hairston(Clemson), Joseph Barksdale(LSU), who are all college tackles but are looking like pro guards. All of these guys I am naming are low 5.2 to 5.0 40 times. IMO we need guys who can move. In addition ther are guys like Lee Ziemba(Auburn), Derek Newton(Arkanasas St.), and J’Michael Deane(Michigan St.) who have good size/speed combos available in the 5th – early UDFA. As far as the college guard pool, to me it seems a little thin. Guys like Stephen Schilling(Michigan) and Clint Boling(Georgia) are projecting 3rd and 4th rd. Then you have Zach Hurd(Connecticut) and Jarriel King(South Carolina) who are 7th rounders. Again all of these guys are low 5.2 40 times or better. Some of the other highly rated olinemen prospects are high risk or lack athleticism. Other avenues would have me considering Kenrick Ellis(Hampton) or Phil Taylor(Baylor) as wide body NTs in the 2nd – 5th. That would allow Brent and/or Ratliff to play some end. Also I’m assuming that a new coach stays with the 3-4 scheme. As far as DBs go, IMO, ther are only a few guys with the right size/speed combination. I’m not in favor of smallish DBs. McCann already fits that bill but has tremendous speed. Teddy Williams is more the size at 6-2 or 6-3. So for me guys like Jimmy Smith(Colorado), Ras-I Dowling(UVA), and Deunta Williams, FS (UNC) are the right profile. They are also late 1st to 2nd rd picks. So immenent need must be established. Winding down, and JB you probably won’t agree. I would consider moving Spencer to ILB because of his run stopping ability. Of course, he would have to be able to cover a little, so there is a question mark. There are a couple of DE prospects like Adrian Clayborn(IOWA) and Allen Bailey(MIAMI) who could be good prospects as edge rushers. They are high to mid 1st rounders though. Now if Andrew Luck declares, all bets are off. I think he is the best QB prospect in quite a while. Here it comes! I might even consider trading Romo to move up and get him. How would that be? Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh, 2 for 1!

  15. Omar says:

    JB, I agree that OG and OT are the most pressing needs, but a few things:

    1.) You draft from the talent pool you’re given, not the talent pool you want. This draft features Prince Akumaura and Patrick Peterson, two of the best corner prospects in recent memory. With Newman getting old and Jenkins going backwards cornerback is a big need too.

    2.) An OG with a top ten pick is a huge reach, They’ll likely have a high second round pick, and maybe they can get a few picks for Roy, Barber, and a few other players…so there’s plenty of room for OL improvement later in the draft.

    3.) OL can be acquired through free agency too, shutdown cornerbacks usually get locked up and stay.

  16. craig kocay says:

    John cole- I think you are hopefull that we could be able to grab some of those players where you project like Barkdale in the 3rd-4th. And when we just cut these guys we dont get automatic first/second round replacements. I doubt we could replace roy E williams’ productivity with a 7th round guy. I dooo love the Jim Harbaugh as coach idea. Of all the coaches in and around this talk, he stands out to me. I would prefer him to cower (who many claim frontrunner). I think that Luck is a bit of a reach, but not impossible. I could see some top four team trading away thier pic if they dont need a corner or qb (what seems projected that high). I find it hard to believe the bills pass on him. But before even thinking about this what has luck really shown us compared to tony romo? Vs Pac 10 defences (nowhere near as good as NFL) he put up 2600 yards as junior with 13 tds to 4 pics, this year with numbers in the 30-9(projected finish). Romo has been a pro bowl QB every year in the NFL putting up great stats every year. Last year by just looking at stats its hard to tell him apart from the elites. The knock on Romo is he cant win big games. He finally won a playoff game and we still sell him off. Luck on the other hand has shown his big game potential as he both lost his bowl game last year to a weaker OU and who lost to oregan recently in stanfords biggest game this season. I think that putting in an unproven qb in the hopes he might be the next peyton (a really small chance), instead of sticking with our man who is proven (paid for too i might add) would be the better long term choice. We know both have talent. But we know Tony Can play at this level.

    JB and moses- the players not meshing together is positivly something I believe may be the case, but that again falls on the coaching/managing. This is not the first year in this system, yet we see first year problems.

    These comments have been fun to read.

  17. john coleman says:

    Craig Ko-I want to be clear that I am in know way a Romo hater and in fact would be the opposite. What I am suggesting is that IMO Luck is one of the few guys who come along with all of the tools and no issues of question. The Romo comment is merely a what it would take to get there situation. I don’t see Luck necessarily coming out this year. I, like you, would rather it not be Cowher. Regarding the replacement of oline personnel, I would hardly grade our current players as 1st rd talent. Look at Costa as an example. He has played as well as the incumbents and he was undrafted. Yes, he has made mistakes, but that is what a rookie does in most cases. We might have to hang on to one of the interior guys, just because of numbers. Replacing four guys would require a great draft and freeagency period. So to your point I give you that. Also most of the players I have suggested seem to be OT/OG guys for a reason. The typical size/weight players we have targeted as tackles a re not necessarily suited for interior play. We have usually went for the 6-7 to 6-8, 315-320 lb guy at tackle. Again IMO, a player of that height often loses leverage because of pad level on the interior. As far as replacing Roy, we have already accomplished that with Dez. We have several others one hand who can be a #3. I will say Roy has been better this year. Also I don’t see being able to trade these guys for picks. I think all of my cuts would bring a late rd pick at best. Also we need to be careful with coverage players as a lot of the higher rated ones are currently trending downward. Lastly and I forgot this comment on my 1st post here, I would stay away from Ohio St and Penn St players as a general rule. Let’s go ahead and add USC to that list for now as well. Craig just wanted to clarify, not trying to attack.

  18. john coleman says:

    Omar- I would have to agree with you on Peterson. He fits the size speed combo as well. It’s also unlikely that we will draft an olineman with our 1st pick.

  19. A few thoughts. . .

    JC–We don’t have many disagreements over which players need to be replaced, but I don’t think the Cowboys can/should cut all of them. Guys like Scandrick, Gurode, etc. may not deserve to be starting, but I think they’re still good enough to be on the roster. I don’t think they’d be progress-stoppers in that scenario…more like insurance policies. The problem with releasing 14 starters/near-starters is that it would be impossible to effectively replace each one. Sometimes you have to keep a “5” in order to create a sort of buffer before the incumbent can take over. That’s more true at positions such as QB or WR than CB or RB. I think both CBs and RBs can some in and be very effective immediately. In dropping 14 guys, however, it would be statistically impossible to replace them all with better players. Of course thats what you wish for, but some replacements would be downgrades. That might be okay on a rebuilding team, but I don’t think Dallas is in total rebuilding mode. This is sort of a “reload,” and I think they are still a few smart personnel moves and coaching change away from again being a really good team. Easier said than done, of course.

    Omar–I definitely don’t think the Cowboys should take a guard in the top of the first–unless he is a “can’t-miss” prospect. Of course, you draft based on the thoughts of others, meaning even if you think a position is continually undervalued (which I do of guard), there’s no reason to reach on something that will drop. I don’t think CB is a terrible option since they can develop quickly, but I’d love to see a top-tier ILB in the 1st round. The Cowboys DESPERATELY need a playmaker in the middle of their defense–someone with talent, heart, and leadership. Also, still don’t see them getting anything for Barber/Roy.

    Craig and John–I don’t think Luck is an option. While I do think the team needs to start the QB search early to make sure they’re prepared for Romo’s departure, I still think they are a few years away from that. Gambling on someone later in the draft is a better option right now IMO. Craig, you’re also right that the inability of the players to mesh also falls on the shoulders of the coaches in addition to JJ.

    John (again)–Couldn’t agree more on assessment of the Cowboys’ O-Line needs–if the Cowboys bring in the sort of coach I want, they’ll need quick, agile linemen. It will take a change in philosophy to move on from the monster tackles and guards, but it is a much-needed change.

  20. moses says:

    Thanks Jonathan
    I guess I look at the teams that have a coherent philosophy. I don’t like the Patriots but I have to admire the job that Scott Pioli did in New England and now with the Chiefs. They always found decent players to plug in their system and they were smart enough to adapt to the talent around them. Look at 2001-2009.
    Pioli and Belichick had a run of 9 really good years in NE. Pioli had a knack for talent evaluation and finding players to fit the needs of the coaches system. He did a great job turning the NY Jets around in 1996-1998.

    Granted JJones is OK at GM, but he makes too many mistakes.
    Remember that he gave up 2 #1s for Joey Galloway, a 1st a 3rd for Roy Williams.
    Remember the 2009 draft? J Jones thought that this was a special teams draft because he thought the team was pretty much set. Didn’t he know that he had absolutely nothing behind the OL starters? Adams was gone. Columbo was coming back from serious injury. Davis getting older and Kosier was in and out of injury?
    How’d the 2009 draft choices turnout? There were lots of misses. Brewster could not stick even with an OL that is so thin. It doesn’t look like we have a good draft philosophy. We seem to miss on a lot of talent evaluation.

    Are there better options out there for J Jones the owner to replace J Jones the GM? Is Jones better than Pioli? Isn’t Ozzie Newsome better than J Jones?
    Even Parcells did a better job than J Jones.

    Without an honest survey of the NFL landscape, and the selection of a strong talented GM, the Cowboys will flounder. We need a strong GM to choose a good Head Coach. Forget about the Cowhers and the Grudens. We someone that will recognize the next good coach. Someone that will recognize that you need a lot of interconnecting parts that can get the job done. Someone that looks further ahead than the next game or even the next season. Someone that recognizes that rebuilding is done every year and not just when you go 1-15.

  21. Omar says:

    JB, I agree completely that this team needs a presence at ILB and more playmakers on defense along with a much better offensive line. However, looking at the top five players int he draft I see pass rushers, cornerbacks, and quarterbacks. Of those I think they should draft the cornerback.

  22. If those indeed end up being the top guys in April (although OTs always rise up there by draft day), I too would take a CB.

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