Contributed by Vince Grey
Top 15 NFL Offensive Tackles
I took a look at Jonathan’s NFL offensive tackle rankings, and I can’t disagree with the left tackle spots not being the “end all be all” of O-line positions. I’m not concerned about the Cowboys’ lack of Pro Bowl talent there at this time. When it comes to the offensive line, the whole is often greater (or less) than the some of the individual parts.
In other words, it’s not an absolute necessity to have several Pro Bowlers in order to have an efficient and effective line.
Personally, I’ll take five solid starters who work well together over a line with a couple of All-Pros but three weak links at the other slots. For Dallas, I see no weak links individually (assuming Doug Free turns out to be decent player), but I do feel they can play better as a unit–particularly by decreasing penalties.
Andre Gurode Shotgun Snapper
I was one of those who considered Gurode overrated.
However, my issues with Andre were never with his blocking, but rather with his Shotgun snaps.
Until last season, virtually every spread snap with AG was an adventure. Back then, I posted in other venues how Tony Romo didn’t get nearly enough credit for being a top athlete because on Shotgun snaps he would not only have to read the defense and prepare to throw, but he would also have to be ready for snaps to his left, far left, right, far right, in the ground, and of course, my personal favorite, over his head.
I don’t drink, but I even invented a drinking game called the “Andre Gurode Shotgun Snapper” where you take a shot every time an AG snap went off-target enough that Tony had to jump up, or sideways, or dive, to get it.
In `07 and `08, you’d be a lock to be hammered by halftime.
Sadly (for the side games, not for Tony and the `Boys), in `09 Andre seemed to have corrected the problem, at least to the point where it’s no longer perilous every other snap.
Dallas Cowboys Times Player Rankings–A Rebuttal
After reviewing Jonathan’s 2009 Dallas Cowboys Player Rankings, the listing of two players stands out as just wrong.
Jay Ratliff all the way down at #13?
I would move Ratliff up several notches, minimum, and personally I rate him at #3.
Even putting aside his talent and ability, the lack of quality depth behind Jay means he plays an inordinate number of snaps, and yet he was still extremely productive. I’d rate his importance to the team as high as anyone not named Romo or Ware.
The other is the complete absence of Mat McBriar. I can virtually guarantee you the coaches value his great punting skills more than replaceable backups like John Phillips, Victor Butler, and a few others Jonathan has on his list.
**Editor’s Note: McBriar is very valuable but was left off the list because we did not grade his 2009 play (I’m not even sure how to grade each punt, to be honest). The point about Ratliff’s snaps, however, is a good one. Perhaps I overlooked that aspect of his game, although I still would not move him up 10 spots.