As you may recall, a rule I instituted last year was that, once the Cowboys' season is over, the weekly FanPost honors immediately moves to an every-other-week format. In looking over the last two weeks worth of superb FanPosts in the past couple of days, I have been made aware that this was a huge mistake: both the quantity and quality of FPs has risen dramatically--to a mind-numbing and impressive level--since Dallas' 2011 coffin was unceremoniously sealed on New Year's Day.
At first glance, this was strange; the reason I initially instituted the offseason FPOTW format was because the amount (but never the quality!) of FanPosts dwindled once the season was over. Upon reflection, however, this made perfect sense. We have known for some time (the Arizona loss was when I had the sudden, terrible moment of clarity) what the 2011 iteration of the Cowboys was, and have had little new to say since the realization hit. I mean, how many times can you say "this is an average team with middling talent?"
Now that we find ourselves in the offseason, however, there is much more to discuss; delicious speculation and anticipation once again reign in Cowboyland. As a result, the FanPost pages are stuffed fuller than a Christmas goose. While this is good news for all of us, it does present Ol' Rabble with a serious predicament--nay, a nearly impossible task. How to make distinctions between so many excellent and worthy FanPosts? Is he up to the challenge? You be the judge, as we survey the last two weeks' top efforts.
Check 'em out after the break...
To begin, I'd like to look at a couple of key conversational threads, pointing out notable contributions. The first of these argued which would be more efficacious offseason priority: polishing the offense or fixing the defense? The conversation was initiated by ScarletO, in an excellent post arguing that it is better to fortify a strength than to improve a weakness. This received affirmative responses from the likes of TCB Orange Dino (here) and then, a couple of days later, from bevomav (here). Bevo's post drew Nassau Cowboy's ire, inciting a smart, considered post in which he (Nassau) argues that adding more offensive talent will provide diminishing returns--and that defensive upgrades will do more to help the overall team. From my perspective, both sides are right: both sides of the ball must be a priority! Great reads, gents; keep 'em coming!
ScarletO was kind enough to start the second conversational thread as well (perhaps we should re-name him "the catalyst?"). In a post titled "Going After Difference-Makers," S.O. proposes that the Cowboys trade up into the end of the first round and, with two first-rounders (how do David DeCastro AND Peter Konz in the first round sound to you?) solidify a position for the next decade. Taking up the difference-maker meme, thesharpestnick authored a terrific piece in which he compares the Cowboys to the top NFC teams. Specifically, he notes which units on each squad serve as difference-makers (ex: the 49ers front seven) and concludes that the Cowboys don't have such a unit (I suppose their receiving corps could have become one, had they all been healthy).
As if on cue, ProBowlFactory followed this up with a superb effort. Wondering how the Cowboys might best be improved, PBF looks at the top defenses and notes one thing all of them have in common: each has a difference maker (or makers) at each level. By contrast, the Cowboys have one or two at each of the first two levels (Ratliff on the first level, Ware--and Lee--on the second), and maybe one on the third (Factory maintains that Mike Jenkins can be a difference maker on level three). I don't disagree, but for me the jury remains out on whether #21 has earned "difference-maker" status. PBF's conclusions? Dallas needs players on at least two, if not all three levels. That I can agree with. Nice work all around, guys!
On to this week's honorable mention. I'm thrilled to announce a new arrival to the FPOTW honor rolls. Please welcome CowboyinExile, who loses his FanPost cherry with a superbly detailed review of the past season. In his post, Exile develops several categories: the Cowboys' closing window of opportunity, the roster, the 2011 draft, what they need in the upcoming draft, and a prediction for 2012. For each of these categories, he looks at his preseason prediction, offers some compelling commentary and provides cool images! Awesome post, Exile; welcome to the FanPost club's VIP room.
And now this week's winner, who long ago earned free drinks in the VIP. He's 5Blings, last year's FanPost of the Year runner-up. In the past fortnight, Blings has gifted us with a fantastic 3-part season wrap-up series (part II is here, the third installment is here). He debunks some of the popular myth-making surrounding the 2011 season (collecting a staggering 29 recs!), takes a page from Clint Eastwood, reviewing the good, bad, and ugly from the most recent campaign and, in part III, lists six critical changes that "stand between Dallas and the ultimate glory of a sixth bling." Each of these is FPOTW-worthy, the third installment particularly so. Taken together, Blings walks away with the hardware.
Its not a Lombardi, Blings, but hopefully it will do for now (and, as soon as the Cowboys implement your six-part plan, more bling is sure to follow). Congrats and great work!
Many thanks to all of you for your contributions. A cornucopia of fine reads. Keep it up, or write your first post, and collect some bling of your own.