NBC football analyst Cris Collinsworth took a little time off during Super Bowl week to sit down and talk a little about the Dallas Cowboys with one of the local radio stations near where I live.
I thought this was an interesting interview to share with you, but first I need to explain a little something. We have a lot of new readers here all the time, and others may not have followed some of the BTB inside stuff, so for those who know this, bear with me while I bring everyone else up to speed.
As I mentioned, the radio station, KTBB, is out of Tyler, Texas, which is just about 40 miles from my house, and both the AM and ESPN FM side are on my car presets. Bill Coates, the head sports guy, is pretty good, and I listen to him, although his show comes on while I work, so I don't get to hear him regularly. But I didn't know about this video. I was tipped to it by OCC. Our resident German, who this week was on a "business trip" to France. (Of course, there is absolutely no reason to see any sinister implications in a German going to France.)
Now, those of us who have been paying attention have long suspected that OCC is no mere mortal. Given his prodigious talents in all things involved with posting stories, including the sheer volume of his work, and his near omniscient ability to find the most obscure facts and data in almost real time, as well as the fact that sometimes he seems to be on line around the clock, we have generally come to believe he is actually a cyborg with a supercomputer augmented intelligence, and some of us anticipate the day he comes to rule over the rest of us inferior beings, and we try to stay on his good side in order to secure a sinecure under his dominion (I am bucking for Official Inspector of Hot Photos of Scantily Clad Women).
So it really was no surprise when he noticed something originating in my own back yard from the other side of the globe. That's just how it works around here. But I wanted let you know.
On to the video after the jump.
NBC color analyst on Radio Row. (via ktbbam600)
Collinsworth had a good look at the Cowboys, as is pointed out, since he saw them play four times, including one game against the Eagles and both the losses to the Giants. Now, this may be the kind of thing that would give an analyst a decidedly negative view, since all four games were losses and the Eagles game on NBC was unquestionably the worst one of the year.
But that is a 25% sample of the Dallas games. He certainly had something to go on in forming his opinions.
What I found interesting was some of the nonverbal things going on in the interview. At the beginning, after a little obligatory schmoozing and then setting up the fact the Cowboys were on NBC a lot, and sucked for the most part, Coates asks him, in light of the close losses to the Giants (which was true in the first meeting, but shows a little homerism concerning that last game of the season), about whether the Cowboys are close, or if they are fooling themselves to think so.
Collinsworth kind of ducks the question. He talks about where they should be looking to improve, using the term "tinker". Now I don't see "tinker" as what you do to fix serious problems. He does mention needing to upgrade the secondary and the pass rush, which are two of the main issues the team had last year. And he mentioned the expected swap of Tyron Smith and Doug Free at the tackles, but sees that as a potential issue when he brings up the learning curve.
He finally sidles up to the issue, talking about what he seems to see as the difference maker.
"At the end of the day, in that division, you know, the team that at the end of the year was able to get the most pressure on the quarterback, and it was the New York Giants, is the one that goes on."
Coates then asks more direct questions that many of us want to know the answers to.
"Have the Cowboys overestimated their talent? Do you consider them to have elite talent?"
Collinsworth squirms a bit at this. He throws a little love at the offensive skill positions, and says that other teams don't have better talent. But I got the distinct feeling that he was well aware he was talking to a station from the Dallas market and was softening his answer. The very last thing, when he says that you have to beat the teams in your division, and the Cowboys could not defeat either the Eagles or the Giants, is as close as he comes to saying what I think he really meant, and that was that the Cowboys just weren't good enough to run with the rest of their division (outside of the Redskins) last year.
Is he right in his take on Dallas? I can't quibble with his evaluation of why the Giants won out in the division, or that we did not match up with Philadelphia when we actually played them. But I am very troubled by what he sees as the approach the team may take in fixing its issues. "Tinker" does not seem like a serious approach to major problems. I certainly hope that is not an accurate read by him of what the management and coaching staff are thinking at Valley Ranch. But there is certainly some precedent for that, and Jerry Jones has made some statements in the past few weeks that do have a bit of that flavor.
I hope that does not reflect the real thinking of the team. This team is not in a position to think it needs to just make a few adjustments to be a contender again. I generally find Chris Collinsworth one of the better analysts out there (he can't help it if he was evaluating a bunch of hot garbage from the Cowboys this year), but I certainly want him to be off on this.