My Jamaican Physio Therapist turned girlfriend (who recently helped me recover from a broken leg) put me on to the term "20 toes weather". It simply means bad weather, since it's a good time to be in bed with someone else hence 2 ppl = 20 toes in bed.
Where do I start....hhhhmmmmm? There has been so much going on with the NFL and, more specifically, the Dallas Cowboys since I last posted (around draft time). I've been terribly busy this summer in Bermuda (mostly swimming with the kids days and hanging with friends and family at night). Fortunately we are having a pretty good thunderstorm tonight (20 toes weather), so I am stuck inside with nothing but my laptop, a bottle of Brugal (Dominican rum) and my many thoughts on the Cowboys not so busy offseason.....
I'll start by sending out a message of appreciation to all the many posters/commenters from the front page to the fanposts and even the fanshots; busy or not I make time (almost) everyday to at least check in and see what's going on and I'm never disappointed with the wealth of information provided and the various opinions offered, so...thanks to you all and keep up the good work.
Moving on. I'm not one of the many Cowboy's fans disappointed in the apparent lack of action during the offseason activities. I thought the team did an excellent job retaining some of our own key Free (pun intended) agents. Resigning Doug Free was nothing short of HUGE; I danced as though I'd won the lottery. I was so nervous about losing Free that I checked online daily with one hand covering my eyes, just peeking through the cracks of my fingers, too scared of what I might find. Rumors that the Eagles were not only interested, but strong players in not only attaining his services, but sticking it to the Cowboys in the process, made me ill and surely would've resulted in some serious wreckage of household appliances throughout Cowboys nation (I'd probably be out looking for a new laptop right now lol).
Being able to resign Free and team him up with rookie tackle Tyron Smith gives us an excellent pair of young athletic tackles to protect Romo, and lead block for Felix and DeMarco for a few years. Of course Smith will have his growing pains, but from all I've read he has "IT" and he doesn't seem to get down on himself or give up on plays when he's beaten, this would suggest he has the attitude to be a fast learner. Another signing that pleased me greatly on the offensive line was the re-signing of Kyle Kosier, there is enough change on the line with a rookie tackle and the release of Leonard Davis (which also excited me), so it was very important to maintain consistency to some degree along the line.
Sticking with the Free agency theme. I was pleased to see that we chose the more cap-friendly options (though I am in no way a cap genius, this is where the BTB community keeps me afloat lol) to solidify our D-line. I know many were enamoured with a few D-linemen around the league, most notably Cullen Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers. I wouldn't have been upset had we signed Jenkins, but I wouldn't have been overcome with joy either, I maintain the same stand as I did (and many others did) around draft time, that DE's in the 3-4 aren't as high a value because they are more "space-eaters" than disruptive forces....before the obvious is pointed out to me I am also aware that the role of our DE's may very well change under Rob Ryans defense, but I believe the ends we currently have are just as capable in Ryan's scheme as Jenkins would have been. The loss of Bowen stings a bit because it seems he had untapped potential (thanks Wade) that Ryan could've really used well and him signing with the 'Skins makes me sick to my stomach. I wish him well just the same. Signing Kenyon Coleman from Cleveland was a solid move, he's proven to be a serviceable lineman and he has much welcomed experience in Rob Ryan's system.
Now about that secondary. I'll start with the signing that never happened, Nnamdi. I didnt want to sign him in the beginning, citing his price tag and age as primary concerns; looks too much like an opportunity to find ourselves strapped to an old expensive CB much like we are now. However, I admit that once I heard our interest had peaked and we were in the bidding, I found myself a bit excited, but I never believed we'd land him. Him signing with Philly ....ahhhh I'll get to Philly later.
Newman's injury is very concerning especially considering his recent injury history and his sub-par play through injury last year. Looks like Jenkins got his attitude right and his swag back and is working hard to be the 09 corner that we all loved. I'm very excited to see what Scandrick can do under Ryan's tutelage with his physicality and his ability to blitz, should be fun to watch his progression unfold. I'm really hoping McCann improves in coverage (and continues to make big plays) because it appears as though he will be seeing the field plenty this year, but Jerry said we're not done in FA so maybe not, this is clearly a position of need/worry.
I'm extremely pleased with the way we handled our safety position. I think Sensy is more than solid and far from a weak link and I believe he will have a great season in this system plus he's playing for a contract. While I have faith in AOA and Church, there is no doubt that they just aren't ready yet so the signing of Elam was HUGE. I mentioned in a comment recently that Football Outsiders did a study on the tackling ability of DB's and Elam's numbers are very impressive, he made 66 tackles allowing 3 broken tackles for a 4.3% broken tackle rate which was 9th best among DB's in the league, add to that the fact that he has experience in Ryan's scheme as a starter and a leader in the secondary and I fully anticipate the safety position (barring injury) will not be the Achilles heel of our defense this year. It's an added bonus that we waited for the market to settle as opposed to breaking the bank out of desperation.
No WR signings...so what? I think this is Garrett showing what Wade couldn't...faith in young guys. Now I don't mean changing a player from corner to safety and throwing him to the wolves type of faith (that was just ugly), but faith in seeing a players' hard work and potential at his NATURAL position and giving him a chance. All signs in training camp point towards Ogletree taking full advantage of his opportunities and I believe he will shine as our 3rd receiver. Love everything I'm hearing about Miles and Dez making plays in camp and it appears Harris is gonna be a player as well. The best news involving any of our WR's is the one no longer with us...happy trails Roy Williams. Before I got home tonight I had a pretty good laugh at a friend of mine who is a Bears fan, when are they gonna get Cutler real receivers???
Here is my bold prediction for the 2011 season. With D Ware being who he is, Sean Lee continuing to look like he has the stuff to be a star in this league, V. Butler getting snaps and looking good, Spencer stepping up (???), Brooking being rested due to the emergence of Lee, the ever solid play of James, the potential addition of Carter (although likely on minimal snaps for at least 8 weeks) and most importantly the way Ryan schemes the front 7... I believe our LB's will dominate this year. I fully anticipate this to be the strength of our defense and I'm excited to see them flying around the field making plays.
Quick note on the young uns. All indications are that we have 2 very capable young lineman in Nagy and Arkin, looking forward to their progression over the years. Gotta get Carter and Murray in the mix ASAP, but I have faith in our training staff and in the 2 of them to perform when given the chance.
Back to Philly. Dream Team??? I see all their signings and I say...SO WHAT!!! Yeah they did well, but their three cover corners can't tackle and Miles and Dez are both very adept at breaking tackles, they both run like RB's with the ball in their hands. Not downplaying the impressiveness of their corners though, it is a very talented trio, but I just don't feel the Cowboys have much to fear. Why is VY such a big deal? Sure he's an impressive backup and if pressed into action the offense wouldn't have to change because he and Vick play similar styles. Sure he'll be plugged into some packages here and there. But at the end of the day he's still the back-up...
Hate the Giants, but never root for injury, hope Prince recovers soon so Dez can eat his breakfast after feasting on the Philly 3. Now back to that bottle of Brugal...