At the risk of stirring up ire, I've decided to make another post pitting the optimists against the pessi-realists. But this time I'd like to make the post predictive. I've already made a bet with someone about our season being at least 9-7, versus no better than 7-9, with 8-8 a wash. But now that we've had a draft and brought in a whole passel of UFDAs, I thought I'd set up a few more bets on things we've been debating about until we're blue in the face.
1. Pass rush.
a) Kool-Aid: Spencer ain't bad, we've added some intriguing fresh blood, and pet cats on the line keep developing. Plus fixing the secondary translates into a better rush. The team becomes top-5 in sacks and/ or pressures.
b) Sour lemonade: Almost Anthony for another year? Ware and Ratliff get older and less fresh! Picks below the second round don't contribute worth speaking of! Corners don't help the pass rush! We have fewer sacks and/ or pressures than last year.
a) Kool-Aid: the best backfield (corners and ILBs) in the league just got established, right here, right now. We make a leap, compared to last year, in opponents' passing efficiency stats.
b) Sour lemonade: Our real problem was meh safeties, who are still around. Carter's unproven and Lee will settle down to just being decent. Teams still find a way to shred us despite the best efforts of Carr and Clayborne.
3. Offensive line.
a) Kool-aid: Swapping Free and Smith solves the tackle problems. Another year, an offseason, a conditioning program, an elite O-line coach--and a couple of intriguing free agents and UFDAs thrown into the mix--can only make us better. No, we're not the best in the league, but we crack the top quarter in PFF grades.
b) Sour lemonade: Are you kidding? How many low-drafted scrubs does it take to make an awful interior O-line? Orton better stay warmed up, and we'll watch our Red-zone woes continue because we should of taken DeCastro plus a real Center.
4. Passing game.
a) Kool-aid: Now we have more than one TE who can catch. Miles and Dez are the best tandem in the league, and Romo will make one of our other guys look like the next Laurent Robinson. 'Nuff said.
b) Sour lemonade: Losing Bennett's blocking and LR's catching are the only significant changes in our offensive roster since last season, and neither helps us. Why should we expect a bunch of low-drafted scrubs to help us out?
5. Running Game.
a) Kool-aid: Murray will break records and Free will actually improve as he takes his rightful place as a change-of-pace back. Vickers makes a difference.
b) Sour lemonade: Vickers schmickers. They'll all be tackled in the backfield because we didn't draft DeCastro.
6. Player development.
a) In addition to THE BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER of the draft, we added quite the stable of RKGs. Some of these will heat up the competition in camp, and even the UFDAs will have a part to contribute.
b) Corners are overrated. And don't kid yourself about the guys who get picked up in later rounds of the draft. In a few months we'll have forgotten all of these shiny new toys and be wishing Jerry Jones could have just drafted 2-3 actual starters.
Well, here goes. Who's guzzling the kool-aid, and who's sipping the sour stuff?