Another day. Of "talks continuing". Of guarded optimism. Wondering what it will be like when we finally get a new agreement.
Now, you may be familiar with an old saying about idle hands and the Devil's workshop. I don't know if you will find my musings evil, but if you are like me and just wanting something to pass the time while we hope for the end of this strange pause in the NFL, maybe this will do that for you.
If you know what the names Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Raynor have in common, then the rest of this will make perfect sense. For the rest of you, I'll try to 'splain myself.
Have you ever wished you could just hit a huge, cosmic reset button and do something all over again? Like, say, the entire 2010 Cowboys season? You know, maybe go back and put Garrett in charge about eight months earlier than actually happened? Sign a couple of better OL types? Do something different in the defensive backfield?
Sadly, a reset never really happens. Well, not in the real world. There is one world where it does happen. Repeatedly. It's the world of comic books.
Think about it. Superman and Batman have been around since the late 30s. Captain America goes back to WWII. Some of the character have been through different incarnations, like the Flash, the Manhunter (now Martian Manhunter), and the Green Lantern. Others, like most of the Marvel greats, go back to the 60s. But if you look at the characters now, and the way they started, or some of the intermediate stages, you almost don't recognize them. Powers change, looks change, origins shift. Hell, even Superman is finally getting a new costume. And no matter what happens, be it defeat, exile, serious injury, violent death, or even marriage, somehow, you know, all the characters will rise again, be reinvented anew. Reset.
That's how I feel about the Cowboys. I'll be honest, there came a time in midseason last year, I was so frustrated, so disgusted, I couldn't even comment on BTB, because my language would have gotten me banned. I could barely read the articles. How could a season with so much (apparent) hope, such a shining goal, go so very, very wrong?
And then Jerry Jones hit the big NFL reset button: Fire the head coach. The fact he did it mid season is all the evidence you need of just how drastic and massive this was. Other franchises had dumped a coach in midseason, but never the Cowboys. It was epic, shattering, almost enough to make you think that the whole NFL universe was going to come to a halt . . .
Oh. Damn! Is that what went wrong?
OK. Even the most diehard Cowboys fans know that the football continuum does not really orbit around the Cowboys. (It's just an optical illusion, like the sun rising in the east.) But, man, what a time to have the lockout come along. It was a twist of fate worthy of, well, a comic book, where the hero gets frozen or suspended, only to emerge later and soar to greater triumph.Only, the resets don't always work out. Back about twenty years ago, they famously killed Superman, then resurrected him. But they tried to bring him back as a new superhero, with very different powers. Seems they had a problem with Superman becoming too powerful, just had issues with finding challenges for a totally invulnerable, all powerful being. But the first try was pretty much a flop. Sort of like if an owner in the NFL decided he could have a successful team by hiring head coaches who were just yes men and field managers, rather than leaders in their own right. In the end they had to go back to the original in the comic books, just like Jerry finally had to do. That is kinda what Garrett is talking about, going back to the old, powerful Cowboys.
We hope. The scary thing is that we know our heroes have some serious flaws. Sorry to repeat myself, but I think Dallas has one of the NFL's biggest challenges ahead when this season finally gets started. (I refuse to even think about the possibility of that which I will no longer mention.) I have been toying with making a prediction for the season, looking at it in parts or even game by game. I may still take a shot at it, but I will say now that I think there are going to be some rough bits.
Here is what I think will shake out. Not very radical, actually, just wanting to look at some general trends.
I believe the coaching is going to be strong. It's a leap of faith, I know, but what else can I do? If the coaching is not up to snuff, I may as well become a fan of curling, 'cause it will be ugly. But I like Garrett, I really like Robowski, and will keep that attitude until it should be disproved.
Offensive skill postitions will be all right from the get go. Tony deserves serious kudos for organizing player practices, and I think it will be of the most benefit for these guys. Barring injury, I think passing and rushing will be all right, with whatever personnel package the RHG finally takes into the season.
The offensive line . . . my bowels turn to water, my vision dims, I fall upon my knees and cry out for succor. If this unit comes out just competent at the start of the season, Garrett is a shoo in for Coach of the Year. I figure the first third to half of the season is going to be dicey. I expect some breakdowns, some adjustment, and likely some juggling of personnel until this jells, and it may be seven or eight games into the season. This will, of course, affect the whole offensive strategy, since the team will have to protect Tony. I would not be surprised to see Kitna or McGee coming in if a game gets out of hand just to protect the starter. I fully expect to see a lot of quick hitting run plays and three and five step drops, probably a lot of shotgun, too. The playbook is likely to be limited until the line is developed.
On defense, I see a mirror image. I think the front seven will come together, with Ryan really getting the max out of these guys. That backfield, though, is another story. I also think it will take a good chunk of the season to get that sorted out. I would expect that the defense will look amazing at moments, and then at other times will give up ridicuously easy scores. There will be lots of screaming and shouting from the defensive coordinator. And we may go through the entire season without ever having quite the personnel needed. Actually, that is very likely, both in the secondary, and on the O-line.
On special teams . . . look, I assume they will figure out something on the place kicker situation. I am sure we will have multiple posts on that before the season is over.
Overall - well, to be quite honest I think a .500 season would actually be something of an accomplishment. I would truly love to see the team get in the mix for a playoff spot, but I will have to see that to believe it at this point.
I think that the Cowboys will be a potent force under Garrett and company. One day. For now, we must wait. Wait for the ice to melt, for the spell to be lifted, for the darkness to clear. Have I mentioned how much I hate the lockout?
And in the meantime, bored fans like me will keep writing, hoping to share our angst while maybe bringing a smile to those who read our ramblings. And hoping this reset works.