My Shot at Mr. Fix-it

All right, it's that most wonderful time of the year where every body's got an opinion, and each one is just as meaningless as the next.  Here's my outline of what I'd do if I were sitting in Jerry's seat this offseason.

1.  Keep Wade Phillips.  Like him or not, this is the only good remaining option at Head Coach, for one reason:  He's the only (available) guy who can fix the defense.  If Wade wants a consultant (Reeves) to help with discipline or whatever, get him.  If Wade wants to be his own DC, fine; if not, get him someone without the ego or desire to make this anything other than Wade's D.  (From the distance at which I sit, it looks like Stew didn't want to ask Wade for help and was more interested in defending himself than in fixing the D.)  I think that Campo is well-suited for that job, but there may be others.  I'd prefer that Wade do it himself.

2a.  Cut T.O.  I've never been a fan of T.O.'s act, and this year it stopped producing.  I'll buy arguments against this move that say T.O. forces teams to pay attention to him and thus loosens coverages against others.  Sure, but I'll argue that benefit is off-set by his need to be involved--what good is it to have single coverage on Roy E. when you're still forced to throw it to T.O.?  And how much time and energy was wasted (not to mention downs) on those stupid reverses and screens to keep T.O. feeling like he was involved?  Locker-room stuff aside, I'll take an on-field team that distributes the ball to the open guy over forcing T.O.'s touches and targets.

2.b.  Cut Greg Ellis.  The problem with Greg is that he's old, he's out of position, and he's not used properly.  I don't care what he says to the media, mainly because he's right.  Why the heck is he on the field if you're not going to rush him on passing downs?  Try as he might, he's not covering anyone, and since everyone knows that D-Ware is going after the QB, you're not fooling anyone either.  Cutting him rids you of an unhappy guy and gets him out of Spencer's way.  If you keep him, make it clear he's the back-up and pass-rush specialist, and don't play him on 3rd down unless you're lined up in the 4-3.

3.  Fix the O-Line.  I'll be danged if I know how to do that, but it has to happen.  Other teams get solid production out of no-name guys at guard all the time, so why Houck and co. couldn't recover from Kosier's loss is beyond me.  I don't care how you do it, just fix it.

4.  Change the Offensive Philosophy.  Step one was getting rid of T.O. - no more wasted plays designed to placate one guy.  Whew.  Now, set up the offense for rhythm, not the big strike.  Most of the time, that means keeping the ball moving forward through consistent running and 8-12 yard passes.  Without T.O.'s speed, you're not going to be able to stretch the field vertically (keep dreaming, Miles Austin), but you've got two guys (Witten and Roy E.) that don't need a lot of space to make catches, a blossoming backside threat (Marty B.), and a stable of runners that excell on screens (man, I can't wait to have Felix back).  Tony's a rhythm QB, so keep him marching forward and away from 3rd-and-12s.  With Felix back, plus Tony's extending-the-play expertise, big plays will still happen, but there's no need to depend on them.

5.  Assorted Laundry:  a) Get Rey.  No, that's not a spelling mistake--Rey Malauga (now that probably is a spelling mistake) is the next Ray Lewis.  It's clearly a pipe dream, but I'd love to see enough draft picks cobbled together to bring him to Dallas.  b)  Let Canty walk.  What has he shown that Hatcher or Stephen Bowen haven't?  Did you ever hear yourself saying, "man, let's get Canty back into the game?"  Me neither.  Next?  c)  Move Anthony Henry to FS.  He's not the answer, but it can't hurt, can it?  d) Trade up in the draft.  None of that "best-player-available" stuff this year.  There is no need for anything other than O-Line, S, or DT in the first three rounds (with possible exceptions for exceptional athletes at ILB, WR or maaaaybe back-up QB).  With 11 draft picks, Jerry and staff need to figure out the best options at those positions, figure out where they're going to be drafted, and move up to get them.  Easier said than done, but no more drafting backups (Carpenter, Spencer, Bennett) with first-day picks.

So that's how I'd do it.  Is it going to happen?  Doubt it.  I'm guessing I'll be right on 50% of that (Wade, T.O. Canty, and moving up in the draft).  But I'm also guessing Jerry will do something "spectacular" in FA--Ray Lewis, Houshmanzadeh or Plax, a replacement for Kosier--something to make headlines.  Will it work?  Yeah, we'll make the playoffs, probably win the East, but not make the big game.  And next offseason will find a new head coach, probably Garrett but maybe Cowher or Holgrem.  I'll keep watching, though--I always do...

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