NFL Lockout: Advantage Cowboys
If you all are anything like me then the labor issues with the NFL are driving you crazy. The rumor mill is in full effect and there has been a lot talk recently about the top free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. Of course, as of now all we can do is speculate as to where he will go and hope Jerry is inviting him on his yacht and out for a round of golf. But lately, I have been ruminating over the positive aspects of this lockout. The negative aspects are evident, a shorter training camp or potentially no camps at all, no trades and no contact with free agents. But what can we obtain from this lockout that would benefit us?
One thing Dallas is not short on is pure talent and strictly speaking pure talent isn’t enough to win Super Bowls. Or at least it isn’t enough to win Super Bowls in a typical NFL season. I believe that is the beauty of this year in dealing with the NFL lockout. Teams will not have as much time to prepare in the off-season and talent will prevail.
Sure, Dallas has a new defensive coordinator notorious for his complex defensive system. Let’s be honest though, can we really expect our entire defense to grasp the system in one season anyway? I believe it’s fair to assume that lockout or not, Rob Ryan would have to water his system down and progressively work more and more schemes into the defense before he has the squad running on all cylinders. Other coordinators are going to introduce new players to complex systems they already have in place with very little time to prepare. Dallas will essentially be in the same place they would be if the lockout didn’t exist. They will be learning a simplified version of a complex defensive scheme from a new defensive coordinator.
It seems to me the lockout couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s not forget all of the other teams working through similar transitions. There are seven new head coaches in the NFL this year, including Garrett. We already have an advantage with Garrett coming in midway through last season and installing some of the new vicissitudes. The seven new head coaching changes do not even take into account all of the coordinator changes that have taken place. My point is, with minimal off-season preparation in accordance with the other teams coaching changes, pure talent will be imperative to a teams success in the upcoming season.
Another hidden gem of the labor dispute has to do with the GM’s of the league, or in our case Jerry Jones. Masters of player personnel such as Thomas Dimitroff of Atlanta, who coincidentally is targeting many of the same free agents as Dallas, aren’t out wheeling and dealing and lobbying to land big-time free agents. Trading will be difficult because of the shorter off-season but the players in free agency want to play and will work fast to sign with a team. If there is one thing Jerry is capable of it is fishing star players out of free agency.
Dallas doesn’t have an issue with talent, quite the contrary. We simply have a few holes that need to be filled. Last year we had a blitz happy coach that put too much pressure on the secondary which comprised a below average corner playing safety. Our offensive line was old and slow. JG has already taken steps to improve the offensive line and it looks like there are some very promising prospects in FA that could beef up the secondary.
Coaching changes - While many teams will be introducing new players to complex systems, Rob Ryan will apply a simpler version of his defense until the squad can grasp his overall concept. Presumably, the offseason will be shorter making it difficult for other teams new players to learn the complex systems already in place. Dallas will likely learn a simpler, modified version of Rob Ryan’s defense with or without the lockout.
Personnel - With the lockout in place, GM’s are unable to contact other teams for trades and recruit free agents. The shorter time period for players to sign with teams will force the players to work quickly and play right into Jerry’s strength (signing big-time free agents). Getting a player like Asomugha or even a Ray Edwards would be phenomenal acquisitions.
The NFL lockout is a mess but in my opinion it will benefit the Dallas Cowboys.