Talkin' Bobby Carpenter, WR's and offseason trades

 

JJT is back with a new column in the DMN today. After dispatching the question of Hard Knocks being a distraction with a resounding "no", he does some Q&A. One question was about Bobby Carpenter. Can you actually grade Carpenter as a player even though he’s been shuttled between various positions and has seen very little playing time on defense? It’s a tricky question because you can look at it two ways. One is that Carpenter hasn’t been allowed to show his true talents because he’s never been left at a position long enough to get comfortable and learn the nuances. The constant shuffling and lack of playing time might also have gotten into his head and manifested in a lack of confidence. The other side of the debate says that if Carpenter had the skills needed he would have grabbed hold of a position and forced his way into playing time. The Cowboys coaches would be playing him if they thought he had done enough to earn it. You have to remember that they see him everyday in practice where we don’t, so they have a lot more information to go on. My gripe with Carpenter going all the way back to his rookie season is his inability to shed blockers and make the play. That was based on a couple of training camps witnessed in person and watching him in games, including some preseason games. When he is in the open field he can get something done but when tied up in traffic he doesn’t do a good job of freeing himself. Something I also think is a problem with Marcus Spears. Moving him to the "Mo" linebacker is a nod to that line of thinking because in theory he will be able to run to the ball with less traffic or having the guards release to the second-level to pick him up. We’ll see what happens but I’m of the belief that if he had shown the skills to be effective in TC, preseason and in practices, the Cowboys coaches would have no problem getting him on the field.

A couple of other Q&A’s of note involving the WR position:

Q: Are the Cowboys interested in Chris Henry?

TAYLOR: I haven't heard anything from the Cowboys that suggests they have any interest in Henry. He's a good player, but he's not special. The Cowboys have enough volatile personalities in their locker room. They don't need to add another.

I can’t imagine anybody truly being interested in the kid until Roger Goodell settles his playing status. Pacman is one thing because he could easily be reinstated soon, but Henry has just added more trouble to his long list and that doesn’t bode well for his future. Also, I agree with JJT that Henry is a good player but hasn’t shown enough for anyone to go out on a limb to acquire him. In contrast, I fully believe that Pacman is one of the better CB’s in this league and his special teams prowess makes him even more valuable. I’m not sure if he’ll be on the top of his game early in the season, assuming reinstatement, but by the end of the year he could very well be battling Terence Newman for preeminent CB on the team.

Q: I've been reading how much Danny Amendola looks like Wes Walker. If he makes the team, which wide receivers could get cut?

TAYLOR: First, I think Amendola's chances to make the team are slim, in part, because he doesn't play special teams. He seems like a much better bet to make the practice squad. If Amendola did make it, I think Isaiah Stanback may be the one who doesn't make it because he has yet to prove he can do anything in the NFL, while Sam Hurd and Miles Austin have proven they can contribute.

Uh, I have to go the other way on this question. Unless Stanback is a total bust in training camp, which I don't expect to happen, there isn’t a chance the Cowboys would cut him. They drafted him knowing he was a project, they knew that the foot injury would slow him down enough to make last year a wash. The idea was to use last year to teach him the WR position at the pro-level and that this year would be his first chance to show what kind of future he has at the position. It would take him being a monumental disappointment to be let go this year. Everybody knows that it usually takes even the most talented and polished receivers coming out of college a few years to get everything going in the NFL. On the other hand, Hurd and Austin have been here for a couple of years and this year will be a big marker for them. Hurd has already shown he has the consistency to be a good backup WR in this league but Austin is still on the bubble for me. He has the physical tools without a doubt, but he needs to show he can be productive on the field. I think if anyone is in danger from Amendola’s presence it would be Austin. But, I have no idea if Amendola is good enough to take a spot away from a vet; we need to see him in pads at training camp before we can even begin to assess his future prospects.

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Mike Florio of PFT.com also writes for the Sporting News. He has a list of the 10-worst offseason moves and we make it. 

The Cowboys sent linebacker Akin Ayodele and tight end Anthony Fasano to the Dolphins for a fourth-round draft pick. Total. Seriously.

Ayodele signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2006, and Fasano was a second-round pick that same year. Although Ayodele would have been bumped to the bench by free-agent pickup Zach Thomas, it's highly risky, at best, for Dallas to count on the veteran linebacker with the history of head trauma to stay on the field. Meanwhile, after dealing away Fasano, the Cowboys had to burn a second-round pick on a new tight end (Texas A&M's Martellus Bennett) to work behind Jason Witten.

I don’t think it was one of the 10-worst moves of the offseason although I freely admit I’ve never really thought about making a list like that. But I do admit to thinking that we didn’t get enough out of that trade. Sure we were going to have to do something with Ayodele and at least we got some value instead of just cutting him. As for Fasano, I thought his play here was a little disappointing so I wasn’t exactly mad that we let him go. But only getting a fourth for both of them just seemed a little low. And as you guys know, I haven’t bought into the Martellus Bennett hype yet. I view Dallas’ offense as a vertical passing game offense and he doesn’t excite me in terms of that. While we do use a 2-TE set on occasion, we don’t do it often enough to be a staple of the offense and I don’t think Bennett will change that. I also know that Witten is going to get the bulk of the passes thrown to the TE so I can’t see him making a large impact in that area. I do concede with his height and athletic ability that Bennett could be a factor in the redzone, but just having the physical gifts isn’t enough. He has to prove that he can get open in those situations and show the steady hands needed to be trusted in those critical situations. I’m not saying he can’t, but he still has to prove it to me.

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This story might be of interest because of DeMarcus Ware’s contract situation. The Baltimore Ravens, Terrell Suggs and the league have come up with a new "franchise tag" position for hybrid OLB/DE’s in 3-4 defenses.

The settlement, which is being finalized by lawyers for the NFLPA and the Management Council, creates a new position in franchise designations -- a defensive end-linebacker. Once the paperwork is completed later this week, Suggs, designated as a franchise linebacker, will be re-designated as a defensive end-linebacker, and his one-year franchise tender will increase from $8.065 million to around $8.5 million.

If the Cowboys ever end up franchise tagging Ware, he would fit into this new category.

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