Here we are in late February, and the restless throngs at BTB couldn't be happier. There are many reasons for such jubilation: we are in the offseason, when all teams entertain legitimate Super Bowl dreams; the NFL Combine starts this week, marking the official beginning of Draft Season; another FanPost Wednesday is upon us, and several fine members are about to be recognized for their stellar recent contributions. Huzzah!
Before moving on, I have to give a shout-out to 2011's FanPoster of the Year, ChiaCrack (now reborn as Archie Barberio). I remember when Chia received his first FPOTW honorable mention, after several months of honing his FanPosts; he gleefully stormed the comments section, as if his pants were on fire. Soon thereafter, he earned his first "Rabbie," and then proceeded to fill his trophy case with them. Now, his fine work will be found on the front page. ArChia's story is that of the American Dream: start at the bottom, work hard, hone your game, and find success. Congrats to the illustrious Mr. Crack (er, Barberio)--and let his story be an inspiration to the rest of you. Crank out some good material, because the front page awaits!
On to this week's awards. The dominant theme in the past fourteen days, much as it was the previous fortnight, has been the "offseason plan." The FanPost pages have been filled to the brim with interesting proposals and strategic takes. Some of the best of these were penned by VAFan, who wrote lucidly on Dallas' offseason priorities; Hank Hill, who offered us two terrific FPs, a slightly tongue-in-cheek piece on draft surprises and a more sober take on the Spencer and Routt situations; Michael Icebone Sisemore's post on draft and free agency is a must-read, as is BlueNSilverBlood's latest "Forward Thinking" installment. Lastly, how could I not mention dacolan's cleverly titled "Its Rabble's Fault"; if I can inspire such intelligent posts, I'll gladly take the blame each and every time!
More FanPost goodness after the jump...
I singled out these particular FanPosters because I felt that each did a masterful job in looking at the Cowboys roster globally and assessing their needs accordingly. The bald fact is that there are a lot of holes in this roster; looking at them, we begin to shift our thinking. As dacolan writes, "After daydreaming of a free agency haul of Nicks, Finnegan and Super Mario, reality smacked me upside the head." All of these writers developed plans based upon that head-smacking reality--they not only took into account the team's wide array of needs, but also the limited amount of resources they'll have to apply to those needs. Indeed, the Cowboys are going to have to be as creative this offseason as the readers I've recognized herein.
Because of this unenviable combination of roster holes and limited resources, the Dallas front office will have to be very flexible in their thinking, and develop a series of contingency plans that allow them to take an alternative avenue should the first close down. This week's honorable mention, authored by Becho, does exactly this: presents us with several roster options. The beating heart of the post is a handy chart that shows which players might be acquired, both in free agency and via the draft, depending on what the Cowboys' brass decides to focus on: a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, a "BPA" strategy or what he calls the "ziggy," which may be the "Jerry Jones gets his GM panties in a wad" scenario. For each of these, Becho presents a coherent, reasoned (and seemingly affordable) set of choices, none of which features Anthony Spencer on the 2012 roster. Nice work, Becho; keep on posting!
This week's winner takes the best aspects of all the aforementioned posts and rolls them up into one brilliant ball. BTB member Luke offers a post with a simple title ("Dallas Cowboys Offseason 2012") that belies the excellence of the contents that follow. To sum up the offseason situation, Luke carefully tabulates the salary cap situation; makes decisions on Dallas' unrestricted free agents; makes salient free agent recommendations and ends with a promise for a follow-up post on the upcoming draft.
Throughout, Luke thinks globally, a strategy that results in shrewd takes on difficult decisions (re-sign Montrae Holland) and reasonable free agent targets (Jason Jones, Joe Mays). Consequently, Luke's proposal is much more likely to be in accord with what we'll actually see from the Cowboys in March and April. And: many of you will be pleased to know that he doesn't for a moment consider bringing back Anthony Spencer. How can it get any better than that?
Everyone please join me in thanking all our members for contributing to the best sports blog on the planet--and give it up big time for Luke, this week's winner. Luke, keep on posting; we want to read more of your fine thinking!