Happy Thursday, ladies and germs. I hope you have all recovered from your holiday gluttony, and are gearing up for more of the same. I'm Rabble, you're friendly FanPost tour guide, and I'll be leading you through some stunning terrain as we once again review the top FanPosts from the past week. On today's tour, we'll stop at some impressive draft discussion, enjoy some of the Dallas Cowboys' most surprising offseason finds, and, over lunch, take in the effects of 29 on 9. So, grab your bag lunch, climb aboard the bus, sit back and relax, and enjoy the scenery!
Our first stop today is the 2012 NFL Draft. I know, I know, it probably seems a bit too early for all that, especially since the Cowboys are playing well on what appears to be a legitimate playoff drive. On the other hand, its at this point in the season when we can finally get a clear handle on what a team is, what its strengths and weaknesses are, etc. In that light, a sudden influx of draft talk makes a lot of sense. I know the Dallas organization is certainly asking what it needs to do to improve; as passionate fans, we should be, too.
Make the jump...
In fact three of our most passionate members have been doing precisely this. The first of these is CoachGary, who continues his recent run of superb posts with several excellent new efforts. One of the most impressive sheds light on the draft process. Gary presents good info on who runs the Cowboys drafts (hint: nobody, and everybody), and takes on the "best player available vs. position of need" debate. Speaking of positions of need, one of my favorite voices in the comments sections, Omar Little ("indeed"), looks at exactly that, in a terrific, detailed examination of which positions the Cowboys should be eyeing in the upcoming pick bonanza. No real surprises, but smart analysis, which seems to be Omar's stock in trade.
Mr. Little was inspired to write his post after reading what I hope will prove to be the first of many draft posts by one of our resident draftmeisters, ChiaCrack. This time around, Crack takes a long hard look at the cornerback position. As if he were an NFL GM, Crack first looks at the incumbents on the Cowboys roster, then assesses the degree of need at the position, and then slots the draftable candidates by round. Finally, he concludes by noting that this is a talented CB class this year--which means that there will be serviceable corners available in later rounds. Nice stuff, Chia; I look forward to further installments of the series.
Okay, everyone, the tour's moving again. After a pretty stretch of highway, we'll pull over so that you can stretch your legs for a bit. While you do, make sure you pause to enjoy the natural beauty that is 5Blings most recent FanPost. Blings offers a paean to "unheralded newcomers," in which he outlines the surprising contributions of players, from Nick Folk to Victor Butler to Doug Free, who have exceeded the expectations we had for them at the beginning of the season. He then turns to this year's particularly special crop of unexpected contributors. You all know who these guys are; while he doesn't offer up any surprises, Blings manages to find fresh takes (and includes cool images!). My favorite part was his conclusion, which I'll cite in its entirety:
Regardless of how the season goes, from here on out, one thing is sure; Dallas has done a terrific job (if not the best in years) in identifying players who not only have played major roles but also look like long-term fixtures for the team to build around. It's important to note that the players all revolve around the offense and special teams but if the Cowboys' talent evaluators can learn from their successes and create a similar impact on the defense going forward, you have to like the prospects of building a roster with the talent needed to reach their goals.
Back on the bus, all; we have one more stop on our tour: Ohio, where ScarletO reigns supreme (and, I'd guess, celebrates the hiring of a new head football coach for his beloved Buckeyes). We'll lay out blankets and enjoy the crisp Autumn air as we eat lunch while enjoying O's excellent FPOTW. In it, he wonders whether the recent uptick in Tony Romo's game can be attributed to the arrival of one De Marco Murray. ScarletO engages in a Romo-nalysis, in terms of both passer rating and win ratio, of games when one of the Cowboys running backs rushes for more than 100 yards. SO resists drawing any concrete conclusions--he leaves that up to us--but he does present some interesting numbers:
- Before Murray’s record breaking performance against St. Louis, Romo had a 100-yard rusher in only 15.8% of the games in which Tony played significant minutes. Only Aaron Rodgers has had a lower percentage of games with a 100-yard rusher (14.8%).
- Eli Manning has had a running back gain at least 100 yards in 33.3% of the games in which he has led in passing. Ben Roethlisberger has enjoyed having a 100-yard rusher in 36.9% of the games he has played.
- In games where DeMarco Murray has rushed for at least 100 yards, Tony Romo has a passer rating of 125.3. At no time during his career has Romo had a three game series with a 100-yard rusher that has resulted in a higher passer rating.
- DeMarco’s emergence as a running back has resulted in a swing of 45.9 rating points for Tony Romo. That is a remarkable 57.8% positive change in Romo’s passer rating, and a significant difference.
I think the sample size is too small to arrive at any certain statistical correlations--and I think this is why ScarletO leaves that up to us--but these numbers are fascinating, and the Romo-Murray duo, as well as the relationship between their respective numbers, especially once the league figures out who and what they are together, will bear further watching. And rest assured that ol' Rabble will be there in the front row, notebook in hand.
Congrats to all this week's winners, especially ScarletO. And: Go Cowboys!