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The Twelve Labors of Hercules

The Cowboys challenges seem to be compounding with each passing season. We think we're plugging holes, only to find other areas of the dam rupturing, and suddenly we're taking on even more water. It's beginning to look like an overwhelming task to envision what can realistically be done.

I'm reminded of the life and challenges of Hercules. Ah, he was a resourceful, yet hexed fellow. Watching the upper echelon of the NFL perform recently, I'm tormented by the level of play that is considered the current best. Similar to the manner in which the goddess Hera so taunted Hercules, that in a fit of rage he killed his wife and children. While the hurdles facing the Cowboys do not encroach upon such life-altering tribulations, there are some parallels.

After his moment of temporary insanity, Hercules prayed to the god Apollo for redemption. Apollo's oracle told Hercules he would serve Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae, for 12 long years. The abyss the Cowboys have suffered since they were last a real player in the postseason actually extends even beyond Hercules sentence in sheer passage of time.

Hercules was forced into the servitude of the Twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible. His struggles made Hercules the perfect embodiment of what Jason Garrett currently faces. The virtuous struggles and suffering which can lead to fame and, in Hercules' case, immortality. A bit of an over-the top comparison, I know, but in football terms, meh, not so much.

We’re playing an extremely dangerous numbers game this offseason. The Twelve Labors of Hercules lie before us. We have holes at Center, (1) both Guard spots, (2 & 3) backup Quarterback (4), and backup TE (5) on offense, and Defensive End, (6) Nose Tackle, (7) Free Safety, (8) Cornerback, Nickel or #2 (9) and Outside Linebacker (10) on defense. That’s assuming, of course, that Bruce Carter can walk onto the field and become a starter at ILB in training camp (11). That’s 9 new starters needed, and 2 quintessentially important backups. Lest we forget, we need a 3rd WR (12).

But remember, new fissures are opening in the dam. Could we be facing as many as 12 new contributors (labors)? Riddle me this BTB oracle: How in the world do you fill, at least, 12 holes, considering that getting 3 starters from the draft is the best you can really expect?

Filling the many holes this team has seems far-fetched, even with FA and the draft. If we were to trade down 10 spots in the 1st, and pick up an extra 2nd, it would still be almost impossible to fill all the holes through FA and the draft. Simply put, we have to develop some of the young players already on the roster. We need to get four starters minimum from our current list of backups.

In free agency, Robinson is a priority. He's proven. He's capable. He's a heady player. I'd also like to see us sign a veteran at Center. Can we get Chris Myers? How about our issue with Free Safety? Tennessee has told Michael Griffin they are not bringing him back. He could be in our price range. For a pass rusher, Mario Williams will cost a lot. And will the Texans really let him walk? How about Calais Campbell? Probably neither one are likely.

Brockers entering the draft kind of changes the dynamic a bit. Now there are 2 true 5 tech DE's in the 10 to 20 range of the 1st round. At the nose, some sites have Ta'amu available in the 4th. Wow, I'd jump on him there. Chances are we'd have to grab him no later than the 3rd. But can Brent develop at the nose? That would help. Then we could move Rat to DE and use him on passing downs. That kills two birds with one stone. Unquestionably risky, I admit, but remember, we're playing a numbers game here.

If we can generate more pressure, can we promote Scandrick to #2 corner and get Jayron Hosley, or Brandon Boykin in the 3rd to play the nickel? We have Woicik and Jerome Henderson to work with the DBs now. That has got to help. Boykin also gives us another dynamic Kick Returner.

For Guard, we can't expect to get a starting Guard (or 2) after the 3rd round, but it is a deep Guard class, isn't it? I don't think you're going to get Zeitler in the 3rd. Let's be real. There's not going to be any options in the 3rd that would be an upgrade over the players we currently have. We have to develop some of the players on the roster. It would certainly help our cause immensely if we could get Arkin, Nagy, or Kowalski up to speed.

BTW, who in the heck is our backup QB? You want value in the 4th round? How about Brandon Weeden?

So we could draft as follows:

1st DeCastro

Young David is a Blue-chipper, and everybody knows about his skill, but this is what I like about him the best.

David DeCastro defending Andrew Luck (via ThaWidow)

2nd Bruce Irvin

Bruce Irvin Highlights (via SuperTmartin1)

3rd Brandon Boykin

Football Game Time Promo : Brandon Boykin #2 CB : 2010 (via UGABulldogAthletics)

4th Brandon Weeden

1 On 1: OSU Quarterback Brandon Weeden (via kocotv)

To summarize:

We sign Myers at Center (1), promote one of our young Guards (2), draft DeCastro (3), sign Griffin at Safety (4), draft Irvin for pass rushing OLB (5), promote Brent to starter (6), rotate Rat at DE (7), promote Scandrick to #2 (and have Henderson work on his skills) (8), draft Hosley or Boykin for the nickel (9), and draft Weeden to back up Romo (10). Bruce Carter must start (11) and resign Robinson at WR3 (12). I know, I'm loco. Jason Garrett must be asking Eurystheus (Jerry) to make sure there's plenty of Advil in the trainer's room. Bennett doesn't need to be counted if he's resigned as backup TE. (iffy)

Fortunately, Hercules had the help of Hermes (Stephen Jones), and Athena (Rob Ryan), sympathetic deities who showed up when he really needed help. By the end of these Labors, Hercules was, without a doubt, Greece's greatest hero. Bottom line; replacing 10 starters, and two can’t-miss backups is a job for Hercules. It will take all of our resources just to put together a plan on paper. Whether that translates into action on the field borders on Greek Mythology. I know Hercules rose to the challenge, however I can't help but wonder, did he have red hair?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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