First, a hat tip to everyone @ BTB. I'll be doing these posts after events and games, they are possible due to your collective knowledge. Thanks!
To look to the future, we must know where we have been and currently are, so here's a summary of my fan posts:
Before the 2010 season I said our team lacked heart and needed to focus on football. Was optimistic due to continuity and camp competition. Said ultimately the fish rots from the head (Jerry). After week 8, I called for roster churn, chumming trade bait and resting Rat. Playing time for McGee, Bennett, Lee, Choice. Bring back Cletis Gordon to see if is still a ball-hawk in real-time. Psychologically, changes needed to be made before mathematically eliminated or HC got fired.
Next I wrote a piece that I never published because I thought it got deleted. I wrote why Garrett should NOT be our head coach:
As our talent deteriorated, it was left to Garrett to be innovative and utilize our strengths. Mostly, a lot of suspect crap ensued. I remember a lot of people calling for Garrett's head over the years, but we were winning for the most part, plus he's Jerruh's pet. So, we stop winning. Wade gets the axe and we release a few underachievers. Voila! Our team occasionally plays like they care. Is that a surprise? It shouldn't be. Anyone who understands an ounce of psychology knew that would happen. I saw our offense reek for the first half of the Lions game. I saw the Giants start their annual late season slide, conveniently against us. We all saw it, a rookie pulled our bacon out of the fire. Which brings us to this week...SO WHAT if the 'Boys did not roll over after being down 17-0. These are professionals, damn it! Millionaires! How about coming out ready to play and not having to fight back... Garrett's play calling is suspect, he has cost us a couple of games this year, and a whole lot more opportunities. A sweep with our slowest running back on fourth down? A punt from the N.O. 35 after Buehler had drilled one earlier?!? I love me some Dez, but three screens to an ultra-pumped rookie doesn't make sense. Crimeny we had TWO timeouts. Can we at least run a draw and get the ball in the middle of the field, shoooooooot, maybe even pick up a few yards...
Then after the season I wrote about the Cowboys' future. Truly, that was FT vol 1. I liked the Cowboys moving forward, just not SB contention yet. And of course a draft day poem where Jerry got kicked in the head, to the end of a change in culture.
There was a constant string of thought about Garrett being predictable and his decisions costing us games, and Jerry's mentality trickling down to the demise of championship aspirations. I am skeptical of Ryan, who is unproven IMO, but love Woicik and Robinson (who also is an assistant head coach, apparently).
Next, I paid attention leading up to the draft. Watching the draft closely for the last couple of years has been remarkably gratifying. As I read that Garrett clapped at the Gmen taking Amukamara, I realized that I may actually like this guy, for I had been clapping myself (and typing the Giants were idiots...) The difference in our draft room this year to last year was night and day... Jerry almost cried this year.
I love this year's draft. 4 of Goose's top 100. I went "A Beautiful Mind" on the debate sparked by O.C.C.'s sparkling piece on positional value, after combining several combinations of knowledge nuggets, the facts support the eyeball tests. We got aggressive football players, lot of all conference & academic recognition. I believe in our training/S&C staff, Carter will play this year sic ILB starters, o-line help, RB, CB all with a nasty streak.
Here's a link to a significant story of JT Thomas' childhood: http://www.buffalonews.com/incoming/article409187.ece
All player overviews can be found here: http://www.dallascowboys.com/team/team_biosPlayers.cfm?playerID=A76F3D0E-B94C-6C73-934F9B8B30593C08
I actually like the fact that we are getting to practice and go though drills without coaches. If our rookies are reporting (which hopefully we hear about today or tomorrow) then that means the group hierarchy is going to work itself out naturally, without coaches' preconceptions. I think that our draftees are going to walk in there with swag and force people to teach and step up their games. Romo is getting to publicly display his leadership, plus install Garrett's PB from his own perspective (too bad RR's is prob too complex for Brooking, Rat, James and Ware to install intricately, fine for face time well worth it). This will serve as a reset button for our team, last year will matter less IMO. Plus not all teams (Eagles, apparently) are doing it.
Dallas may have the complete tool set for RR to use, that should help over stays in Oakland and Cleveland. If we pick up worthwhile S(X2?) ILB, CB and DE help via FA, look out. Can't wait to see AOA and JT play. There was talk of Carter's possibilities of rushing the passer, but I saw little in films... Also, I hear say that he lays wood, but I only saw one good square-up-and-hit in all of his films - said I wish he tackles like JT... Will someone who saw him play a lot clarify these thoughts for me, please?
Our offense should be four or five dimensional next year. On top of a stellar core of skill position, we added a true passing threat out of the backfield, and a FB who can catch. We shored up our o-line, though depth is needed IMO. Also, we have a virtual laundry list of potential returners. We received 18 more kickoffs, while averaging 3 YPR less than our opponents last year... We picked up good ST guys, but need a FG specialist or a coach with enough brass to allow Beuhler to kick himself into a rhythm? Never mind, just give me a FG specialist.
I think our schedule, http://www.nfl.com/schedules/interactive#/team=DAL , is winnable. We have the ability to kick the door in week one with the world watching. I like our intangibles this year, because we had no luck last year...
I'm looking forward to a year where Romo's entire team plays as well as he does. Even when we played "good" football over the last several years, we played a lot of field-position ball, not a ton of domination. If we get even a few FA pickups, we will have no glaring holes, and a load of upside on this team. Maybe we won’t go for it on fourth 22 times this year...
So, I would say at this moment I am being won over. I picked us to sweep the East last year, so my only history is, well, suicidally sad. That being said, I like what I saw in the draft and our players' initiative. Focus on football will cure a lot of ills for this squad. FA is the next step, see when it becomes reality and how we play it, or don't...
***Poll Edit: Hey, y'all. After looking at the conversation and thinking things through, I've decided to change the poll to include C (in place of OG,), K and QB. Thinking being, of course, we need a FG kicker, We drafted potential OG, but need a line quarterback, also upgraded play in the middle a +. Picking up a QB in FA is only about one man for me; Peyton Manning. If I understand correctly, depending on new CBA (ahem,) Manning could be FA. We could easily get value for Romo right now, Peyton may require a 4+ year contract though, what do you think?
Results to original poll: OG 1, SS 23, FS 77, DE 20, ILB 1, CB 13...