Sometimes, you just want to feel good about things. Cheerleaders always help.
I try very hard to remain objective when I write my articles for BTB. During the season, I worked at only making statements that I thought could be backed up by statistics and on field performance. It was hard. I am here, first and foremost, as a Dallas Cowboys fan. I tempered my enthusiasm, and given the harsh reality we experienced, it was only appropriate.
I have been good, I think. I did what I was supposed to, I built some credibility (I think), and I hope to be here for the foreseeable future, which means that I will continue to write a lot of sober, carefully considered articles that balance the positives with the negatives. But there are times that the longing, the need, starts to build. When my resolve weakens, my hands start to shake, and all I can think about is doing it again. I can control it, but I am tired of denying it.
I WANT MY KOOL AID!!!!!!!!
So forget all the objectivity. This is not about analysis. This is not balanced. This is to a large degree my wish list, my glass-is-half-full side running wild, my love for the men who wear the Star on their helmets overwhelming my rational self, the right side of my brain telling the left side to sit down and shut the hell up. This is my crazy optimism speaking about all the things I am loving right now about what is going on with the Cowboys.
It's just for the pure fun of it. A little weekend relaxation. So don't worry, be happy with me. Let's pretend that all these things mean what I would like them to mean, and for a while, just be Cowboys homers.
The good stuff after the jump.
First, something that is near and dear to me. The lockout is ancient history. No suckitude, no idleness. A chance for a new head coach and defensive coordinator to get things ready and have a productive off season training schedule. I don't care about the arguments to the contrary, I just think that the specifics of the situation made it hard for the staff of the Cowboys to get everything done that needed to be done, given what the team had been through in 2010. I am still very much a believer in Jason Garrett, and I think JG5000's strongest attributes are organization, planning, and training, which were the elements most shortchanged by the lockout. This perspective of mine has always been a very subjective thing, based on trying to read what I see in the people involved and on parsing the things they say.
The Cowboy Way is still alive, and I think it is only going to get better. And that excites me.
And have I mentioned that I am reallllly liking the new coaching hires? Bill Callahan has an outstanding resume as an offensive line coach. The players who he left behind on the New York Jets loved him, and the team did not want him to leave. It was ironic that he left largely because the Jets would not let him interview for another job last year. But when a coach is considered a big asset by both the players and the management, then I think he is someone I am glad to see on the Cowboys staff.
I also think the Offensive Coordinator thing is all good. Callahan seems to be another coach who is good, even great, as a coordinator, but not so much as the head man. I think he will help with game planning and handling the line during the game. So what if Jason Garrett is still calling the plays? Maybe some better play from the Yuglies will mean HIS PLAYS WORK BETTER! I have no hate for Hudson Houck, but I do think he was falling behind the modern game just a tad, so I wish him nothing but good in retirement, and look forward eagerly to what Bill is going to do with the line and the offense in general.
Going back a bit to the Yuglies, I even feel good about them. Tyron Smith was a definite hit, Doug Free will likely be much more effective once they flip the two of them, Bill Nagy should come back from his broken ankle, and I think David Arkin, Phil Costa, Kevin Kowalski and Jermey Parnell will all improve under Callahan.
Jerome Henderson also gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. He had some good things going on while coaching a group in Cleveland that didn't have a bunch of stars on it. Dallas would have liked to have him all along, but he could not come with Rob Ryan due to his contract in Cleveland. Now he has managed to come on board. I am really thinking that he may be able to correct some of the issues that existed under Dave Campo. Plus he is likely to get some pretty good talent to work with.
Stephen Jones said so. I saw a comment by him that the top priorities for this year's draft are the secondary and the offensive line. Put some good talent with a good coach in the back of the defense, and I strongly believe that good things will happen.
Speaking of the draft, two very positive things happened concerning how that is likely to go. Stephen has been talking out a bit more of late, which makes me think his star is rising, so to speak, so that is a good thing. And Tom Ciskowski looks to be staying with Dallas to continue the scouting of college talent, which will be good. (Although I am sure Chia would be glad to go and help out with things if they'd just give him a call.) I am looking for a good draft this year, which would be the third one in a row if Bruce Carter pans out. I think that will happen.
And now it looks like the team may be able to keep free agent find Laurent Robinson, who has clearly stated that he wants to remain a Cowboy, and that money is not necessarily the biggest consideration. That is something else that excites me, but maybe not for the reasons you would think. I am excited because I think he came to the Cowboys and found a team and an organization that he wants to be a part of. I am very encouraged by an outsider coming in and reacting that way, Oh, sure, the fact that Tony Romo seemed to lock in on him like a heat seeking missile almost from the very start doesn't hurt, but part of my whole thing is reading between the lines and trying to peer into the hearts and minds of the people involved with the Cowboys. And I just like what I see with Mr. Robinson.
To be honest, I haven't seen a thing that has gone poorly for the Cowboys yet this offseason (knocks wildly on the nearest piece of wood). The coaching changes have been all for the better. Our resident salary cap guru, Stephen Jones, is saying that the team can do whatever it needs to. And Jason Garrett is still running the show.
So for now, I am spurning pessimism, looking only for the positive indicators, and feeling good. I've missed the Kool Aid, and for a brief while I am going to imbibe with abandon.
Want a glass?