FanPost

The Dark side of Talent


Most people here know me as a very optimistic Fan of the 'Boys. And I admit it. I firmly believe that this team could do wonderful things this year. However, I want to deviate from my normal "Sunshine and Rainbows" posting to look at something that I think has been over looked by most people here. What I call "The Dark Side of Talent". Now most are probably wondering "Talent is a good thing, how can there be a bad side to it?" Well that is what I want to look at in this post. Now I will be focusing exclusively on the Defensive side of the ball for this post.

So first off I want to compare Dallas' Defense this year to the Browns Defense from Last year roster wise. The reason for this is to Highlight the Main "talent areas" that Dallas Has as opposed to the Browns. I also will not be looking at the Secondary, as the heart of the post(and Rob's defense) is the "Front 7". Plus, IMO, the secondaries of the teams are pretty much a wash...Follow me past the jump to check out the rosters.

Still with me? Good. Here is the Browns Defensive Starters from last year:(via Pro Football Reference)

POS Player Age Years GS Player stats Drafted (team/round/year)
LDE Kenyon Coleman 31 8 14 2.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 3 fumbles recovered Oakland Raiders / 5th / 147th pick / 2002
LDE Robaire Smith 33 10 5 Tennessee Titans / 6th / 197th pick / 2000
NT Ahtyba Rubin 24 2 16 2.0 sacks, 1 interception, 0 fumbles recovered Cleveland Browns / 6th / 190th pick / >2008
RDE Brian Schaefering 27 1 9
LOLB Matt Roth 28 5 16 3.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles recovered Miami Dolphins / 2nd / 46th pick / >2005
LILB Eric Barton 33 11 12 0.0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 1 fumble recovered Oakland Raiders / 5th / 146th pick / >1999
RILB Chris Gocong 27 3 16 2.0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 2 fumbles recovered Philadelphia Eagles / 3rd / 71st pick / >2006
ROLB Scott Fujita 31 8 9 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 0 fumbles recovered Kansas City Chiefs / 5th / 143rd pick / >2002
ROLB Jason Trusnik 26 3 5 1.0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles recovered
By the way I recommend that you check out the player links....it will help you to see where I am going with this....

Done it? Now did you happen to notice anything? Yep that is right, Basically a collection of Marcus Spears and Anthony Spencer type players...Decent, but nothing that would truly put fear in to the minds of OC's in the league. Yet as it has been pointed out Rob took this front 7 and made them into a group that could confuse even the best QB's in the league.

Now lets look at the Dallas roster that I think that Ryan will put on the field this year.

POS Player Age Years GS Player stats Drafted (team/round/year)
RDE Kenyon Coleman 31 8 14 2.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 3 fumbles recovered Oakland Raiders / 5th / 147th pick / 2002
LDE Marcus R. Spears 27 5 7 Dallas Cowboys / 1st / 20th pick / 2005
NT Jay Ratliff* 29 5 16 3.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 2 fumbles recovered Dallas Cowboys / 7th / 224th pick / 2005
LOLB Anthony Spencer 26 3 16 5.0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 1 fumble recovered Dallas Cowboys / 1st / 26th pick / 2007
LILB Bradie James 29 7 16 0.0 sacks, 1 interception, 2 fumbles recovered Dallas Cowboys / 4th / 103rd pick / 2003
RILB Sean Lee 24 1 0 0.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 0 fumbles recovered Dallas Cowboys / 2nd / 55th pick / 2010
ROLB DeMarcus Ware* 28 5 16 15.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 2 fumbles recovered Dallas Cowboys / 1st / 11th pick / 2005
Again I used Pro football reference to link to the Player profile....Again please look at the links.

Now Dallas obviously has several players in it front 7 that are much better than what Cleveland had there. So if more talent = better group then we should be at least be better than Cleveland right? Well.....

You see in Cleveland Rob was able to confuse people because there wasn't any outstanding people. From a QB perspective it would be like look at a group of people in which everyone was of average height. How do you distinguish a person(or 4) from a crowd where everyone looks the same? Unless you know the person very well then it isn't easy...so a person on the outside of the crowd would think that you were confused...

Now add two or three people that are significantly taller....really easy to find them right? Dallas has two or three player that are great, then several player that are basically average(or worse). So to go with the Crowd analogy, Dallas as a bunch of average height, along with two or three really tall people. So if you are looking for those "tall people" It is very easy to find them...they stand out.

That is the Dark side of Talent. The problem is not so much that Rob lacks talent, but the issue is that his scheme is based on deception. It is hard to deceive a person when you have players that stand out....I guarantee that team will know where Ratliff and Ware line up EVERY PLAY. They are too good for teams not to do that. The issue is what will Rob Ryan do with them... Now obviously they are great pass rushers. It wouldn't be a bad thing to just send them on every play...But remember Dallas doesn't have 11 D-Wares and Jay Ratliffs, they have their own share of Spencers and Spears, and Bradie James...good players but just above average talent wise....So what happens when team realize that Ware and Ratliff will be coming every time? See last year.....

So how can Rob Counter this....well he has to make a decision. Does he let Ware and Ratliff "Drop out" more often, thus downgrading the talent rushing, or does he simply let Ware and Ratliff rush every down and risk the defense becoming predictable? Just something to think about as we go into the season.

As always I welcome any comments and criticisms ....so feel free to sound off in the Comments....

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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