So now we know our roster, though we still have time to see some churning. While Garrett's thinking about his players, I'll be thinking about beer after the jump.
1. Welcome to the Cowboys, Tony Fiammetta. So, Mr. Little Flame, can you provide a semblance of the Moose? In the hopes that you can, here's a Fallen Angel (Battle, UK) Fire In The Hole Chili Beer.
2. Welcome to the Cowboys, Derrick Holla..., er... Montrae Docke..., Derrick Dockery, yeah, that's it. Meet the New Holland, just the same as the Old Holland, well, except that he's in shape. So here's a New Holland (Holland, MI) Blue Sunday Sour for you. Now, "Old Holland," please don't be blue or sour on Sunday while Dockery's on the sidelines.
3. OK, I get it. I'm not great paying my tickets either. I forget stuff, too. But I don't live my life in the spotlight, nor do I have a support network like what I suspect you have to help you take care of stuff. Plus, your timing just was stupid. So, Kevin Ogletree, you have well and truly earned your Prison Brews (Jefferson City, MO) Go To Jail Ale. Please don't make a habit of jail time, else I'll have to give you one of their I Ain't Your Honey Pale Wheat Ale.
4. I'm really pleased to see Martin Rucker on the team, as I was teaching at Mizzou while he was there. Here's a Flat Branch (Columbia, MO) Ginseng Lager in the hopes that this energizes your career. However, I suspect that your roster spot lasts until Bennett gets healthy, so I'm making sure you're getting a beer while you can.
5. I'm also pleased for Clifton Geathers for a similarly obscure connection. His uncle, Jumpy Geathers, went to Wichita State University, as did I (as did Bill Parcells, actually), and I watched him play in college when I was growing up. Well, Clifton, here's a River City (Wichita, KS) Harvester Wheat (Shocker?) Pale Wheat Ale in honor of your uncle and all the sacks you hopefully will reap in your Cowboys career.
6. Speaking of people playing themselves onto this team, here's one for Alex Albright from Boston College. I really think you're going to be a special teams stud, and you know, you might get a sack or two this year. Here's a Wells (Bedford, UK) Eagle IPA. Might as well get used to tasting Eagles as opposing to being one right now.
7. Ah, now we get to some controversy. Dan Bailey, you've caused a lot of angst with your presence on this team. I think this angst is overblown, as I think you'll be on this team until Bruce Carter is ready to come off the PUP list which I suspect will coincide with David Buehler and Kai Forbath actually getting healthy at which point one or the other will be the lone kicker. Nevertheless, you're a Cowboy now, and have been a Cowboy for a while at OK State, so you deserve a Big Sky (Missoula, MT) Cowboy (Cup Of?) Coffee Porter.
8. Well Big Red, it's time for your first full season in charge. Here's a Southern Tier (Lakewood, NY) Big Red American Red Ale for Jason Garrett. My toast to you is: "May our impressions of your planning and coaching skills show up in your win-loss record. Not necessarily this year, though of course that would be nice, but for many years to come."
9. Now we get to a number of somber beer choices. First, we give Raymond Radway a Bell's (Kalamazoo, MI) Leg One American Strong Ale with the best wishes that his leg bones return to one strong piece. You worked so hard, and you earned a shot, and it would be such a shame if this derails what might have been a nice career.
10. Here's a shocking choice, a beer for Buddy Ryan. Well, actually, it's an Amsterdam (Toronto, ONT) Pink Ribbon Mild Ale for all those with cancer or have relatives with cancer.
11. I'm concluding this week, and the beers of the pre-season giving out a beer to one of my favorite players ever. I may be the only person in existence who loved the orange Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms and I especially loved watching Lee Roy Selmon play. He was one of those players I always had to have when I played APBA football leagues when I was a kid. Lee Roy, you were truly a football Dogfish (Milton, DE) Immort Ale.
So, onto my thoughts for this upcoming game. I think this game hinges on three specific things.
First, the Cowboys have to survive the first 10 minutes or so without getting too frazzled. The emotions of 9/11 will be overwhelming, and the Jets will be flying high. If the Cowboys can come out of the first quarter tied and without too much craziness, then this game will settle into an actual football game, and not an event. The Cowboys can't win an *event.* Advantage Jets, but the longer the Cowboys stay within a TD, the more this helps the Boys.
Second, the Cowboys OLine vs. the Jets punt return coverage. Wha...? Here's what I mean. We all know the transition occurring on our OLine. We know that the Jets will throw everything including the kitchen sink (I mean it, they just added a green Kohler double-bay sink to their 53-man roster). Our OLine will make some mistakes, and Tony will get sacked. If these are just sacks, then we're OK, but if they turn into turnovers or point-changers, then it's a problem. Likewise, the Jets have essentially a brand-new punt coverage team, and we saw last year how special teams can have transition issues. For the Jets, they need to prevent Dez from creating points either by scoring himself or setting up great field position. Whichever unit does the best job of preventing the other team from getting easy points will win. Advantage to the Jets because there are so few punts in a game compared to pass attempts.
Third, I see that the game will be close and fairly low-scoring. Both defenses allow for small plays in order to create big plays, but sometimes the big plays are for the offense. The big-time offensive players in this game can't focus on consistency, they need to look for a big-time scoring play. The Cowboys are much more explosive, and Miles, Dez, Felix, and DeMarco are more capable of quick strikes than Holmes and Burress. The winner of this game is the first to 21, I believe, and that means that all the Cowboys need to do is have 3-5 big plays. They can suck on every other drive, as long as these sucky drives end with a McBriar punt. If that happens, and if they get a few big plays, they can win. Advantage Cowboys mostly because of their skill position talent compared to the Jets.
I think the Jets will win, however. They're at home on 9/11/11. They're a good team. Our OLine will have a heck of a time with things. In the end, my prediction is Jets 20, Cowboys 17 if the score is low and close after the first quarter. The Jets could get to the upper 20s and win 27-10 or so if they nail the Boys coming out of the blocks. However, if there's an offense that can reach 30 in this game, it's the Cowboys, and if this turns into a shootout, the Cowboys win 38-27.
I am sooooo ready for this season to start, so I'm head to the fridge for a Cameron's (Oakville, ONT) Kick Start Dark Lager.
PS: Observant readers will note that I only gave out 11 beers this week. This is a special week and I won't specify a 12th beverage. Instead, I ask that every American go find their beverage of choice, be it beer, wine, Coca-Cola, gin, water, or whatever, and spend a moment toasting this country and the memory of 9/11. Please, just take a moment and thank people who are willing to make a sacrifice, big or small, for the benefit of others.