Lately on BTB, there has been an over reliance on statistics. Statistics are beneficial and worthwhile to a certain degree, for they help predict and draw conclusions. However, stats are not the end all in predicting football. Sometimes we just have to rely on our eyes.
According to PFF, Stephen Bowen is rated as a top five 3-4 defensive end. That should make the Cowboys football world jump with joy! We have our next Ware or Ratliff in house. If Bowen is a top five end, then Ball is a top five safety. The reality is that Bowen is an average player at best. He was consistently a non-factor this season. He couldn’t even take advantage of the double teams on Ware and Ratliff. He got pushed back most of the times he was in there. In this case the stats lie; video tells the truth. He does not pass the "eye ball test."
One could make the case the whole defense was culpable of futility. Even the stars on this team, Ware, Ratliff, and Newman underperformed; they failed the "eye ball test" too. Ratliff and Ware were not great this year, but they do have the potential. We have all seen it before, and we can expect greatness from them again. The other defenders’ potential is not worthy of our trust. Bowen, Hatcher, Olshansky, and Spencer have all had their chances for breakout years. They are not exactly rookies or second year guys, yet they still have not turned a corner.
Which brings us to the draft. It is mandatory that the Cowboys brass drafts a playmaking defensive player, someone like Cameron Jordan, Robert Quinn, or Adrian Clayborn. Jordan, in particular, is already better than Olshansky, Hatcher, or Bowen. Rob Ryan says he is intrigued with Bowen. Well, draft Jordan and let them battle it out for the starting job. It would make the defense deeper, more competitive, and versatile.
Many argue that the Boys need to draft a tackle with the ninth pick…Rubbish. Do Solder, Castonzo, or Carimi strike you as a top ten pick ala Joe Thomas or Russell Okung? Drafting Hairston, Derek Hall, or Brewer in the later rounds (3rd or 4th) makes more sense. Any would be an upgrade over Columbo and his knees. For guard, Robert Brewster or Travis Bright has a better chance to start than a rookie. Keeping them on the practice squad is a sign that the coaches believe in them. Brewster, in particular, has a fighting chance to start at guard; he has the body type and strength for it. We could also draft a guard in rounds 3 or 4.
Another fact to consider is that the offensive line played much better with Garret running the show. Stats won’t show you that. As a matter of fact, Kitna, a less mobile quarterback than Romo, played well behind this line. The line can improve from within; just draft a guard in the later rounds for insurance. Truth be told, the defense played horribly whether Phillips or Garrett held the reigns. This defense needs a serious infusion of playmakers and talent, more so than the offensive line.
Don’t let the stats deceive you; rewind your DVR or tape (so to speak) and see for yourself. It is not the statistics that lie; it is the lie in the statistics.