Here are some random thoughts about the Cowboys and stuff that I've been meaning to write about but didn't. Until now, that is.
Who says Romo doesn't go deep? Per PFF, Romo had 32 pass completions last year on throws targeted 20+ yards downfield. That's the 4th most in the NFL behind Eli Manning (43), Drew Brees (37) and Cam Newton (33).
All eyes on Witten: One guy I'll be watching closely in the season opener against the Giants is Jason Witten. Witten needs 91 more receiving yards to reach 8,000 career receiving yards. If he reaches that mark against the Giants, he'll have done it in his 144th game, faster than Tony Gonzales (149) or Shannon Sharpe (164).
I think we need to be careful not to put too much weight on this RKG stuff. Not that I dislike it or anything. But in early 2009, new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli announced his philosophy of "The Right 53" and in the same year in St. Louis, Steve Spagnuolo built his team on the "Four Pillars" of faith, character, core values and team first. Both concepts don't sound too dissimilar from Garrett's mantra. After three years of their stuff, the Rams and Chiefs both had losing records last year and fired their coaches.
What exactly is a Four-Corner-Defense? Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes that the Cowboys could look to have four corners on the field on passing downs. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson argues that in today's passing league, "the more cover guys you have, the better off you'll be on defense". In theory, this defense would leave you a little more vulnerable against the run. In reality, you wouldn't have to have linebackers dropping into coverage so much, so you would actually have more muscle up front. The Cowboys only lined up with 4+ wide receivers on 23% of their pass attempts last year, so you might think 4+ sets are not that common. However, the league average was 39% last year, as more and more teams move to a spread-type offense. The thing is, we actually ran a four-corner-defense quite a lot in 2010. The fourth corner was Alan Ball, except people kept calling him a safety.
Thou dost protest too much, methinks. In May last year, reports surfaced that Orlando Scandrick had bulked up in his offseason workouts, prompting us at BTB to wonder whether Scandrick is an option at free safety. Scandrick himself immediately shot that thought down via Twitter: "I'm not a safety." This year, the possibility of Scandrick playing a corner/safety hybrid was brought up again, and Scandrick was once again quick to reply: "Not happening." Hmmm.
Josh Brent: I expect good things from Josh Brent this year. Here's a quote from the end of his rookie season that pops to mind every time I think of what Brent could mean to the Cowboys:
Ramp up the rosters. There are many rules in the NFL that I don't understand. One of the most baffling ones is the gameday active rule. You have 53 guys on your roster. You're cutting every one of them a check after the game. Yet you're only allowed to play 46 of those guys. How does that make any kind of sense? The league just bumped up the offseason roster from 80 to 90 players, they should get rid of the gameday inactives altogether.
"He's ready to take the next step." I think I'll have to put up a virtual douchebag jar for instant payment every time I hear one of the many phrases that are liberally thrown around during offseason and usually don't hold up during the regular season: He's in the best shape of his life / He has mastered the playbook / He has worked harder than ever before / This is the year we turn the corner / Trust the process / Ugh.
New Rule #4: Figure out a way to beat the Eagles.
"He's had a great year," Ratliff said. "When we first got here, we all thought he'd be a little rusty. When we got in our 9-on-7 drills, there was no doubt he was going to make this team. He's a strong, physical guy."
"He is so strong. Every time he comes in the game and he comes back out, I always ask the center, "What did you think of the pup?" And they say something like "Oh man, he’s a load.
Brent said he noticed right away his strength would be an advantage, even on this level.
"It was surprising at first. I almost didn’t believe it," Brent said. "At first, I just thought I was catching everyone off guard. I didn’t want to believe it. But the more and more I got into camp, I saw it happening on a consistent basis. Once we got in the preseason games, I just realized that I can execute and help the team in certain areas." Link
New Rule #5: Make all rookies watch films starring John Wayne to make sure they have an appropriate background in toughness.
New Rule #6: Don't have cheerleaders over the age of 25. Don't even let them try out. It's my fantasy. Don't mess with it.
1,000 and counting: This is my 1,000th front-page post on Blogging The Boys since being called up in February 2010. What a ride it's been so far. At the time, I made a list of about sixty topics that I'd like to write about and was pretty sure that I wouldn't have anything more to say after that. One thousand posts later and I still haven't covered all of my original sixty story ideas. When I was called up, I wrote that I'd try to make the stuff I post here "entertaining or enlightening - and ideally a combination of both." I hope you've enjoyed at least some of the stuff I've put up over time - I know I have enjoyed writing most of it.
Fear The Star.
Previous New Rules:
#1: When a team offers you their entire draft to move up a few spots, you do it.
#2: The Cowboys will henceforth quit playing down to the level of their competition.
#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.