CotySaxman did a second great post on wide receivers, including a very cool sortable grid that allows you to compare our receivers with league leaders on various dimensions. It made me wonder what we really need to do to take our offensive to an elite level.
Certainly, a big factor, which many in the B2B community and elsewhere have commented on is the interior of the offensive line. My favorite assessment was from the old Sturminator in this great post. We all hope that with the new free agents and a full off-season of work, the pocket won't collapse and force Tony Romo to throw the ball in 2-3 seconds. And I for one won't be crying if the Cowboys draft DeCastro with pick #14. Personally, I think I'll have a heart attack if I have to watch Phil Costa hike the ball over Romo's head one more time. Those plays, which happened more than once in the SAME GAME last year, not only almost always force us to punt but, worse, they put Romo's career at risk.
In addition to allowing Romo to step into his throws without smacking his throwing hand on the on-rushing helmet of a defensive player (Philly game, anyone?), a stout interior line makes the vertical game more possible. Even if you don't connect on the deep throw, throwing vertically multiple times each game keeps the defensive backs from crowding receivers or laying back for an interception.
And, of course, a better offensive line and a full season of Murray will give the Cowboys a ground game, which will open up the receivers and make the play action passes that much more effective. And Romo has one of the better fakes on play action passes, both when the Cowboys run the delayed draw and in regular play action passes.
But I'm not convinced that our offense would be elite if we only shored up the offensive line. Better, yes. But elite? I don't think so.
More after the jump.I don't think so because I read those columns about our passing game that CotySaxman wrote. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that a big problem with our offense is that we throw the ball too often to the wrong guys. When you see that Jason Witten and Dez Bryant combined for just 38 percent of the total catches in the Cowboys offense, you have to think something is wrong.
Bryant looks like a man among boys at times. I can't understand why they don't feed him the ball. He's great after the catch. He's got terrific hands. Ditto for Austin, when he's healthy.
Too often Garrett wants to get cute and take what the defense give him. Well, of course, theyre not going to game plan for Kevin Ogletree. Why should they? He's not even a number three on most teams. So why throw to him? What about dictating to the defense what you are going to take? Everyone knows Brady is going to throw to Wes Welker. So what? No one can stop it. The thing about dominating a defense, daring them to stop you, is that you demoralize them that way. If you beat them with schemes, you might demoralize the coach but you don't demoralize the players.
Plus, if you mostly go to guys like Bryant, guys like Ogletree will be WIDE open, making him much more effective in limited cameos.
My own theory is that Garrett is really smart and so he wants to out-smart other coaches. And he probably does. But he might be too clever by half with this approach. Also, I wonder if Garrett doesn't think about offense in terms of when he himself was a QB, back in the day. Garrett didn't have the talent to dictate anything. He had to be smart and work hard to have meager success. He didn't have Troy Aikman's God-given ability to demoralize the opposition.
But I think Romo does, especially if the line gets fixed. With a real running back in Murray, two very good receivers, and a Hall of Fame tight-end, the only thing standing between the Cowboys and offensive greatness in 2012 is a game plan that gets the ball the football players.