America's Team? Sunday's Cowboys @ Giants game had the best overnight rating of any Sunday prime-time N.F.L. broadcast in the last 13 years. In fact, of the seven most watched Sunday Night football games only one, yep, only one, did not feature the Cowboys. Further evidence that the Cowboys are not America's team, of course.
I'm usually a pretty big homer. I believe with an almost religious zeal that every single Cowboys draft pick could be a future Pro Bowler, much like half of the nation thinks Tim Tebow could be a future NFL quarterback. But my faith has been severely tested recently, a feeling I share with many Tebow fans. This year I watched 2010 fifth-round pick John Skelton lead Arizona to a 5-2 record, I watched 2011 fifth-rounder T.J. Yates compile a 2-3 record for Houston, and on Sunday, I witnessed 2008 seventh-round pick Matt Flynn throw for a franchise record 518 yards and 6 TDs for the Packers. So how much longer are we going to wait for our own fourth-rounder from 2009, Stephen McGee, to show us he can get it done in the NFL?
Go figure: Seems like these days, there's a lot of chest-beating folks popping up and proudly declaring that they never saw the Cowboys as more than an 8-8 team this year, 9-7 at best. These are often the same people that are complaining the loudest that Rob Ryan 'only' improved last year's 31st ranked scoring defense to 16th this year.
A math challenge: Every time we talk about Dez Bryant and his production, somebody will bring up the argument that he is "constantly double- or sometimes even triple-teamed." Every time we talk about DeMarcus Ware's pass rushing, somebody will explain that Ware is "constantly double teamed." Every time we talk about Jay Ratliff and the absence of pressure up the middle, somebody will point out that Ratliff is "constantly double teamed". Notice a trend? Elementary school math tells me that if six defenders are covering three Cowboys, there should be a couple of Cowboys running around the field completely uncovered on every play. Can somebody please inform Jason Garrett about this?
Grammar Police: Watched a replay of the 44-yard reception on 3rd-and-7 in the 4th quarter by Victor Cruz against Orlando Scandrick on Sportscenter. Tim Hasselbeck says: "What a job by Cruz, catching the ball at its highest point." I hear this phrase all the time from sportscasters. My conclusion: they are either ignorant of basic physics or have not fully grasped the concept of a pronoun. At its highest point, a typical NFL downfield pass is easily 20 feet or more up in the air. Not even Olympic pole vaulters jump that high, at least not since Sergey Bubka last crossed 20 feet in 1994. On to the pronoun: Cruz caught the ball at his highest point. This is what it's come to, a German lecturing a broadcaster on English grammar.
Huh? I was watching a rerun of the Fiesta Bowl yesterday, when Oklahoma State had a touchdown reversed on replay in OT. After reviewing the score, the referee announced that the "runner was down at the half-yard line". I spent the rest of the broadcast looking at the playing field, but I simply could not find the half-yard line marked in chalk anywhere on the field.
Trade down and then trade up again. I'm not generally a proponent of trading down - unless you're trading down not because it gives you an extra pick per se, but because you could use that pick to trade back up again. There are many scenarios that could work, but here's one: The Cowboys trade their 14th (1,100 draft value points) for the 22nd and 54th (1,140). The Cowboys could then package their own 45th and the acquired 54th (810) to move into the 21st spot (800). The Cowboys could potentially hold the 21st and 22nd pick and - depending on which juniors declare over the next two weeks - could end up with two blue-chip prospects.
Draft Value Chart: With the new CBA and the rookie wage scale, is the old draft value chart still valid? Four months left to discuss this and many other draft-related issues in minute detail, interrupted only by the Combine and Free Agency.
New Rule #1: When a team offers you their entire draft to move up a few spots, you do it.
New Rule #2: The Cowboys will henceforth quit playing down to the level of their competition.
New Rule #3: Coaches that punt inside the opponent's territory with five yards or less to go on fourth down must wear a chicken suit for the rest of the week.
Finnegan: Just watched an NFL Films segment on Titans CB Cortland Finnegan. I used to think the guy was a scumbag, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy off the field. So I've changed my mind, that's the type of guy I want on my team. And he's a free agent. Jerry, do your thing.
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